Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This is a day that the Lord, has made...

I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Even though;

My father passed away late January, my brother late February, and my mother the first week of, April, and in that order. I should say here that while they passed away in that order, those were not all in the same year. In fact, they were each exactly ten years apart.

Today is not just any day in that nine week span between January, and, April. Today, is my mother’s birthday.

I have been reflecting on my relationship with my mother. Being out in the snow Sunday, night taking pictures, triggered quite a wave of thought and emotion for me. I began thinking about my relationship with her, some of the progress I made with it while she was living, and a couple of surprises I experienced when she passed away.

I really believe if there is breath in a person, there is every opportunity for good things to happen. Happen... hum. That word means to “come” into being by “chance”, to occur without apparent reason or design. That is where the word, “happenstance” (happen + circumstance), gets its meaning. I don’t mean happen. ummm...I think what I may mean to say here is that, if there is breath in a person, there is every opportunity to initiate, and perhaps achieve change. Somewhere along the line, I learned that there is a world of difference between desire and goal. Desire is something we can achieve on our own. A goal is something we must enlist the help of others with. Desire: lose weight. Goal: teach a class on weight loss (that requires students).

While I had accepted the fact that mom was never as nuts about me as I would have loved her to be, I knew I had to, and honestly wanted to treat her with respect, show kindness, and always honor her as my mother. I did honor her, and I still do which is why I simply used the phrase, “mom was never as nuts about me as I would have loved”, instead of laying out unnecessary details. There were times I was incredibly moved with compassion for her and wanted, and did do things for her beyond the norm, or expected. However, in the last several years of her life, I had accepted that I had a desire, a little girls desperate wish, to be close to, and accepted by her. I fought admitting that to even myself because the pain of it was too much to bare. When I finally admitted it, I spent months wrestling with the whole of it. Then, one day I remembered the difference between desire, and goal. What I had was desire. A little girls desperate desire for a mommy. But!, it was just that, desire. I had no control over her feelings, or actions, toward me. NONE! I had accepted that though it would have been so wonderful, so healing, to have that breakthrough in our relationship, it may never happen. So, I continued to do what I did out of honor, respect and love. It was beautiful in its own right. I had no strings attached to the relationship making it possible for me to love and give, freely. With that came the beauty of not being disappointed, hurt, or feeling rejected.

Then, one day I had a thought that consoled me, greatly. I have a good number of friends that have good relationships with their mother’s. You know, shop together, have lunch together, laugh together, give each other tips on clothing and personal matters... you get it. And, yes I am crying at this point. Let me just say, if you have that relationship with your mom, cherish every minute of it! Anyway, I had this really great thought... a piece of sage wisdom for myself. Hum... mom’s health is very compromised and one day I will have to say good-bye to her, this side of glory. BUT!!!, I think to myself, the pain will not be as bad for me as it will be my friends that will be losing such wonderful relationships, when they lose their moms. Like everything else in life, it’s a trade off. Yep! That’s it. My hardship is now. When it should be hard, it won’t be so much so. Okay, good news for me. Wow, Teresa... nice thinkin’! Whoo Hoo!!!

Okay, so how many of you reading this bought that? Well, I did. I was banking on it. I thought I was pretty insightful when I came up with that nugget of nonsense. The only good that came out of that thought was, at least for the next few months I was able to live in a delusion. I named the streets in the village of, Denial. I have learned that given the choice, unfortunately, I like that village. I am familiar with every square inch of it, and surprises have no passport to enter. Thus sayeth the queen of, Denial!

SURPRISE!!!! Nothing could have been more of a lie. How did I EVER come up with that? And, why would I buy that lie? I really believe, in so many ways, it is harder to let go of someone you have a rocky relationship with than it is to let go of a good one. Think about going off to college, or leaving home in anyway. If the relationships at home are healthy, you miss each other, but you can walk away whole, and blessed. When the relationships are not healthy, you walk away fragmented, and yearning. In other words, you are left broken and needy. So, if your mother dies and things are in that state, there is no hope to ever redefine the relationship. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” If you are a reader of this blog, or know me at all, you know I believe the Word of God is true, absolute truth. But just allow me to say here, truer words were never spoken. My hope for that relationship died when she did. Surprise number one: I thought I had already resolved all of that in my own mind, reconciled my soul with being accepting of what may never be. But, I really never let go of that desperate desire of a little girl, until she was gone. Then, I had no choice. Surprise two: I have buried others that I was close to, but the relationships were healthier. I did not feel the rejection I felt in my relationship with, Mom. It hurt to bury the others, but there was no comparison to the emptiness, disappointment, anguish and regret I felt with Mom’s passing. So much for the big trade off.

My regrets were not with things I had done, or not done. Though, there were a few things I would like to change, overall I handled my relationship with Mom, prudently and with wisdom. I heard Joyce Meyer, say one time that wisdom is basically doing today what you won’t regret later on. I was acting in more wisdom that I realized, and I am so grateful for that. In doing so, you drastically minimize regret. My regret was just never having that relationship I needed so much. The torment was in the wondering if there was anything else I could have done. Desire v. Goal. No, there really wasn’t. I did all I knew to do. But, the hope is gone, period. Therein, lies the regret and sorrow.

Now, I want to share just a few things with you. I will comment little on these verses. I feel they are clear.

2 Corinthians 6:18
"And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”

I am not an orphan. I am a daughter! Not just anyone’s daughter, I am the daughter of the King!

Isaiah 43: 1-3,4b
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are Mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
....are precious to Me.
You are honored, and I love you."

If only once in my life I had felt like I was precious to mom. Thank you, Father! I love You, and it is my hearts' most deep and earnest desire to serve you.

Psalm 37:23
"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."

God, Creator of the universe, delights in every detail of my life. He does not reject me! Oh yeah, that works! Thank you, Lord!

Jeremiah 31:3
...“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself."

God draws me to Himself, and loves me now and forever!

And!!!, He believes in me and has a plan for my life.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."

Ephesians 1:4-8
"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding."

I am a daughter that is loved and, God bought me back from the curse with the blood of His Son, Jesus. I am truly His, child. Blood bought and in the family!!!! These are some of the things I have been thinking about as I have been remembering my mother.

These are not whacky ideas that will let me down and leave me devastated. They are not little nuggets of temporary nonsense that do not really console. These are promises that I can count on, and they give me a peace that has produced joy in me. They are eternally mine. I receive them gratefully!

I want to add, my first granddaughter was born on the same day of January (several years later, not the same year), that my father passed away. My second granddaughter was born on my mother’s birthday. God is good.......... I was married on my father’s birthday (after he passed away). So, life goes on and we find, and receive new things to celebrate.

My mom did know Jesus, as her Savior. I celebrate that. That is the thing I am most thankful for where Mom, is concerned. When she passed away, the word that came up over and over, was faithful. Mom was a very diligent, and faithful person. That virtue was reflected in everything she did. And, she was very faithful to take my brother and I to church. I cut my teeth on Billy Graham, books and accepted Jesus, as my Savior, while in elementary school. I praise God, for that! And, I thank my Mom. Thank you, Mom, and...
Happy Birthday.

Enjoy this day!
Princess Teresa


Barbara said...

I can feel your pain when reading this post Teresa b ut I can see that you are not stuck in it.
When my parents died I was heartbrokem, even with my Father and it was because while they were aliv e there was always hope tht things could change, but once they were gone there was the grieving for what was not.

Kim said...

Teresa, I finally sat still and read this post. (((hug))) You are such a precious person. I have no idea why your mother never was really close to you. I would say that some people just aren't comfortable with having intimate relationships. Perhaps she was hurt at some point and guarded her feelings well so as not to be left vulnerable again. Perhaps she was no good at expressing her feelings. So many legitimate things could explain such a thing. And none of them would be because you did anything to deserve it. If she was a believer, your chances are not over. One day you will see her again, and everything will be restored. Who knows what regrets she has even now as she sees the hurt in your heart. God will make all things new. Till then, He'll fill in the empty places like He did with giving you grandchildren on those painful days of remembrance. Now you have other memories to lay over the hurtful ones. You have such a loving heart. May God give you lots of opportunities to pour that love out to those around you who need the comfort with which you've been comforted.

Sara said...

Teresa, this is my first visit to your blog and I wanted to say hello. I found you via Barbara, with whom I've been exchanging comments for quite a while now.

This post is so well written and covers a lot of territory...I can relate to it quite a bit for my mother was not the "best friend" kind either. I grew up in a family where everyone was disconnected emotionally. As time went on I came to realize just how much had missed out on, and there was real and deep grief when both of my parents died, for what was lost and will never be had in this world. But, also like you, I have found the same true, eternal family that you call your own. You express it so well in this post.

It also sounds as if you may have read some of the John Eldredge (and Staci Eldredge) books...Journey of Desire, The Sacred Romance, Wild at Heart and Captivating??

Well, I have enjoyed my visit, and will come back again. Thank you for your thoughtful words....


Sara said...

Hi again Teresa...thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment on my blog! I'm glad you found my book lists of interest too.

The main reason I thought you might have read the Eldredge books is the way you approached your relationship with you mom, loving her with Christ's love, in Whose love you felt secure yourself....and the verses you chose at the end of your post. Also, you signed off Princess Teresa...princess (daughter of the King) is a sort of theme in the book Captivating. And as you read it you will discover that Stasi felt unwanted by her mom...

You offered your mom the gift of your presence, your heart. You offered her the beauty of your heart in Christ. Here's a quote from the book:

"And unveiling beauty is our greatest expression of love, because it is what the world most needs from us. When we choose not to hide, when we choose to offer our hearts, we are choosing to love. Jesus offers; he invites; he is present. That is how he loves. That is how we love--sincerely, as the Scriptures says, "from the heart" (I Pet 1:22). Our focus shifts from self-protection to the heart of others. We offer Beauty so that their hearts might come alive, be healed, know God. That is love."

And this:

"For a woman to enjoy relationship, she must repent of her need to control and her insistence that people fill her. Fallen Eve demands that people "come through" for her. Redeemed Eve is being met in the depths of her soul by Christ and is free to offer to others, free to desire, and willing to be disappointed..."

Of course, it's a little dangerous choosing quotes because there is so much to this book....more than what I've selected here. I concur with your daughter's recommendation....I have read it once on my own, a second time doing the workbook study with two close friends, and I also was blessed to be able to attend the Captivating retreat in the Colorado Rockies this past October...it was a deep and renewing experience for me in my relationship with the Lord.

Regarding the Sharon Owens books, I've only read her first one....it was good, but it wasn't so great (to me) that I would look for other books by her, so I did not know she has written a couple more since then. Judging by your experience, I think I won't go looking for them either.