Girl, you need to love your mama

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It came in my email, and I stopped to read. I don’t always have time to do that, but today I did. What I read made me want to laugh and weep at once, a mingling of joy and crushing grief.

But mostly hope, and here’s why.

What I read about was a friend who is moving with her family back to her home town, and the delight of giving the news to her mother—on her birthday.

Tears pooled in my eyes thinking about the last birthday I spent with my mother, how there is little I wouldn’t give for just a few minutes sitting at her bedside again to tell her all the things I’ve needed to tell her over the past seven years.

Some girls think of their mothers and don’t have that longing. We humans are sadly broken deep down and the disease that pocked us since the Garden poisons our lives and robs us of what should have been. Sometimes that should-have-been is a relationship with Mama.

I’m simple, but not so simple-minded as to think it’s always as easy as just picking up the phone or showing up on a porch and choking that hard “I’m sorry” and hugging close with Hans Zimmer music swelling in the background. Sometimes the pain is deep and years-long and bridges take some time to build.

What I’m asking of you isn’t that you make jiffy-pop peace. What I’m asking is that you love her.

I am a girl standing on the other side of her mother’s life, and I can tell you that one way or another you are going to have regrets when she’s gone. You will, no matter how great your relationship. You can’t always make up for lost time. You can’t always fix what is busted.

But you can love. You can say those words and mean them, even if the reality is that a close relationship just can’t happen. It’s hard living in this skin, wrapped up in choices others have made and choices we have made and tragedies where life hit us broadside.

Ours is not to change everything. Ours is to love, and it has to be God’s love because our own isn’t deep enough, isn’t strong enough, isn’t resilient enough to shoulder all those hurts and abuses and sins and pieces of memory that haunt us in the night–and still hold up.

We were never meant to love without Him, and we don’t have to look far to see the pitiable result of trying to, the façade of human love that shatters like meringue without His heart holding it all together.

Tell her you love her, and mean it. If she’s already gone, then love her in your heart. You can do that, not because she deserves it or she was perfect or everything was grand but because she was your mother. You will walk forward with far less pain.

Love your mama, sweet girl, and heal.

8 thoughts on “Girl, you need to love your mama

  1. I’d love to call mine and tell her I love her but the last 10 times I called she refused to answer her phone. The last half a dozen emails have gone unanswered. I’m at a complete loss and trying any more feels like self harm. And truth be told I’m healthier now that she hasn’t been in my life for 7 months. I just cry a lot more.

    • That is a terrible spot to be in, Brandi. The only thing you can do is continue to love and pray for her and as much as it lies with you, be at peace with her within yourself. Leave the rest to God. He has work to do in her heart as well, and that is not in your control. Trust Him with it. His ways are higher than ours. Love you, my friend.

  2. I am also a girl standing on the other side of my mothers life and I can tell you you’re wrong about regrets. My mother died ten years ago and honestly these have been the best ten years of my life. I saw a Christian counselor before she died and with his counsel and God’s guidance I tried to love her, tried to make our relationship better and she just didn’t care about anyone but herself. My healing came through God, a Christian counselor, and her death. Not through loving her. My only regret is that I subjected myself to her abuse me as long as I did.

    • Lynn, I am truly sorry for the experience you had with your mom. I can’t say that I agree with the idea that showing love was/is a mistake or poor choice; I don’t believe love ever goes for naught when it is given with a heart attuned to God. Your relief at her passing is understandable given the abuse, but it is important to remember that your situation was a broken one. That is not the ideal, and striving to interject love into brokenness is not wrong. As I said in my post, it doesn’t always mean you can have a relationship.

      Love is a verb, is a conscious choice, and is not based on feelings. And true agape (Godly) love is offered without regard to whether or not one is deserving. Thankfully it is offered to all of us, and we are all undeserving. That is His amazing grace. God can always heal through our choice to love, so even though you say you were not healed through loving her, you can’t know what God did through your efforts to do so. Her brokenness was never the criteria for whether or not it was the right choice to love.

      • Lisa, if you’ll read my comment again you’ll see that I didn’t say I thought showing my mother love was a mistake, poor choice, or for naught. I know what agape love is and I did that for my whole life with her. You are right that I can’t know what God did in me or her through my efforts. But I think my healing came through biblically based counseling and her death.
        My point in commenting was to say I don’t agree with your statement, “one way or another you’re going to have regrets.” I don’t think that is true for everyone. It’s not for me. If you weren’t raised by a narcissistic, emotionally, verbally and physically abusive mother you can’t understand.
        I’m really not trying to be argumentative about this. I think you’d be surprised how many mothers there are out there like mine and Brandi’s. Yes, there are lots of tears, but we are healthier without them in our lives.

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