When Mother's Day Hurts
... God heals
May 7, 2009 - I never celebrated Mother’s Day until the year my mom died. Shocked? Let me explain.
by Janet Chismar
I had the great privilege of leading my mother to Christ the night before she passed away, so when Mother’s Day hit eight months later, I was happy for the first time. I realized that, someday, we’ll be able to start over again.
For most of my life, we never enjoyed a close mother/daughter bond. It’s not that my mother was overtly abusive or intentionally mean. She had major health problems – and some emotional ones – that forced a role reversal; I was the adult and caretaker in the relationship.
I usually felt sad on Mother’s Day, or sometimes envious of other girls who could go to their moms for advice on boys or clothes. One of my friends could watch movies and giggle with her mom. I couldn’t.
But at least I had a mom. Now I realize that even an imperfect relationship is better than the void left by death. I am thankful that, after I found the Lord as an adult, I was able to forgive my mom for her failings – before she died. I never heard my mom say “I love you,” but discovered evidence of her love after the funeral. Even more significant is the joy I have in being the one who introduced her to Jesus.
How about you? Are you sad this Mother’s Day? Angry? Bitter? Yes, mothers fail. Mothers drink. Mothers leave. Mothers hit. They may ignore us or ridicule us. Mothers are human ... and affected by sin.
There are so many reasons that Mother’s Day can hurt. But, as clichéd as it sounds, God does care and He does heal. Billy Graham points out, “I can't think of a better time to start over with your mother than on Mother's Day, can you?”
Mother's Day can be a time for reconciliation—a time to overcome the hurts and sorrows of the past, and to try to start over again. “No, it may not be easy, and some of those scars may take a long time to heal,” says Mr. Graham. “But don't let that keep you from trying! It's far better to try to reach out and heal the break between you than to let it keep getting worse.”
The Bible says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).
Don't let pride, or fear or anything else keep you from doing what is right. “Instead,” says Mr. Graham, “pray for your mother, and ask God to help you reach out to her. Even if you make only a small gesture this Mother's Day, it could be the beginning of a new relationship. You'll never regret trying.”
If You Did the Hurting
Perhaps Mother's Day is painful not because of your mom's failings, but because of your own. Maybe you were a rebel who hurt your mother deeply.
One of life's hardest lessons is that we can't go back and change the past. As Billy Graham wisely says, "Much as we'd like to, we can't undo the wrong things we did, or (as in your case) do the things we failed to do."
He continues: "All we can do about our failures is seek God's forgiveness—which I hope you will do. Let me be clear: What you did was wrong in God's eyes (no matter what the circumstances were). Your mother needed your help, and your relationship might even have been healed if you had been willing to give it.
"But God still loves you, and Christ shed His blood on the cross for you so you could be forgiven. Receive His forgiveness today by turning to Christ and asking Him to cleanse you and come into your life."
We can't change the past—but with God's help we can change the future. The Bible says, "I know the plans I have for you ... plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
If you are a mom, Billy Graham has some great advice for you:
- Ask God right now to help you be the mother to your children that He wants you to be.
- Let them know you love them, and do all you can to encourage and help them.
- Learn from your past, and make sure you don't repeat the mistakes you and your mother made.
- Most of all, pray for your children, and ask God to help you point them to Christ. Someday they too may have children, and your example can help them be the parents God wants them to be.
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