>> Sunday, August 20, 2017

Recently a very dear and trusted friend confronted me with their belief that I have never forgiven my mother for the way she raised me. I was shocked. I knew the time and place I forgave her. Thoughts tumbled in my head. Am I in denial? Blocking it? Covering it up? Because I know the ethics and morals of my friend, I understood it was said in sincerity and love.

Apparently I had a lot of work to do.

So over the past days I’ve spent a great deal of time in prayer, meditation and soul searching. I’ve tried to recall times I felt anger toward my mother. Can’t remember any. Any times I wished her ill.  Nope.  I do remember that over the years I have wondered what made her that way and felt sorry for her.

My mother was just not a nice person. That has been verified by several siblings. I even confronted two of them (separately) and asked if they thought mother loved me. After hemming and hawing, the answer was no.

I had accepted that and moved on.  Or so I thought. 

When my ex-husband left me I had worked on forgiving him. Even harder for me was forgiving his mother. She ruled the home. My ex father-in-law (our preacher) was such a nice man. Since I had no father, I accepted him as mine. But he was hen-pecked. I’ve been in their home when I heard her telling him what to preach the next Sunday. And he did. 

I moved from Nebraska to Idaho to start over as a single mom. I joined the singles group at our church. A national singles rally in Vail, CO was coming up. Several in our group wanted to attend. When I saw the title of one of the seminars, I was intrigued…Inner Healing. I had already been helping others who were going through divorce and thought I would like to see how the speaker approached the topic. And so I joined them.

Her name was Glaphre Gilliland. I can still see her in my mind. When she began her talk, she asked us to close our eyes. And then she walked us through being bound by ropes and chains. I thought it was a bunch of hogwash, but continued to go through the motions, thinking, “I will never use this”. After an hour of intense focus on the bruises and bleeding caused by our constraints, she said, “Okay, now turn around and see who it is that has you bound so tightly.”

I may have made an audible noise. It was my mother.

Immediately memories poured through my mind. Actions I had taken that were her actions. Words I had spoken that were her words. Beliefs I maintained because they were her beliefs. I was my mother.

It had never occurred to me to forgive her.

The next days and weeks were painful to me and confusing to my children. I would hear harsh words come out of my mouth and wonder what I really thought about that issue. I apologized and retracted on a daily basis. And as I faced each issue, I would give my attitude to God, praying for change in me and help to forgive my mother.

Forgiveness did not come easily. As I became aware of the damage she had done to me, I understood more fully exactly what I needed to forgive. She was in her 80’s and lived in Kansas. I pondered going to confront her. I felt that would do more harm than good. She did not comprehend how she had affected me. And so I wrote her a very lengthy letter. Then re-wrote it. And again. Each time I read it, I felt the need to add more.

Finally, I could read the epistle and feel satisfied. In my heart all was well between my mother and me. As I searched for something positive to think about her, I was aware of her strength and that she had passed that on to me. I could thank her for one thing.

I burned the letter. I had forgiven my mother.

But wait. There’s more. This is a two-part soul searching. Part two is grace. I believe this may be harder. Stay tuned.


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