It was last year when I heard the term “unmothered daughters” for the first time. It made me shiver and brought a flood of memories about my own mother and the volatile relationship we’d had.
Adopted as an infant, I never connected with my adoptive mother. I had a great childhood and most everything I needed growing up in small townEast Texas. An only child, I often wished for siblings. I remember asking my mother why they didn’t get me a brother or sister. She said they were so happy with me that they never really thought about it. My best friend was also an only child, and we grew up together like sisters.
My mother and I had a typical relationship until I became a teenager. As hormones kicked in and I started thinking about deeper things, I realized I really didn’t have much in common with her. We fought often, and I resented that she wasn’t my “real” mother. I know she loved me in her way, but her own life growing up in a family riddled with depression had not provided a good model for parenting. I remember times when she’d have an outburst in public, making me even angrier at her. I could hardly wait to leave home for college. I moved away as a 17-year-old freshman and never returned.
After I married Jim, we began attendingFirstBaptistChurchinHouston. For the first time I saw what relationships grounded in faith looked like. The Sunday School teacher in our Newlywed Class was deeply interested in our spiritual growth as couples. We were surrounded by Christian friends, many of whom we still see often. The pulpit teaching was powerful. A tidbit from one particular sermon would profoundly impact the mother I was to become.
I don’t remember what the sermon was about, but I do remember vividly the picture that Brother John painted while describing his wife’s close relationship with their daughter. They spent time together lying across the daughter’s bed in the evenings, talking for hours as the mother shared God’s love and wisdom. They shopped together and went on trips, just the two of them.
That morning I vowed to be that kind of mother, one who would have such a close relationship to God and her daughter that joy would be inevitable.
My own two daughters asked me once, “How did you turn out to be the mother you did with the mother you had?” I told them I knew what I didn’t want, and that I’d seen what I wanted to be reflected in the women who surrounded me as a young bride. Sometimes our childhood experiences shape us in unexpected ways, and we resolve to be better than what we’ve seen.
There are many “unmothered daughters” in the world. Some have been orphaned, some have had to grow up too early in single-parent homes, and some have been overlooked in families overflowing with children. Many of us have not had the nurturing love of a gentle, kind mother, but all of us have seen (or at least read about) a godly mother. The key word is “godly”—one who puts God first, then spends her life taking care of her children as they grow into young adults. Whether she stays at home or has a career, the mother of a “mothered daughter” passes on her rich legacy and is loved for what she has given of herself, not for her accomplishments.
I now anxiously await the arrival of my first grandchild in September, a little girl. I will take great joy in watching my own daughter become a mother to her precious baby. I will be by her side to guide her when needed, but I have full confidence that she will be a godly mother, nurturing her own daughter with the love and devotion that I gave her.
With God’s help, I will do everything I can to leave no “unmothered daughters” in my own legacy.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31: 10,28
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen.
Susan Tolles is an Expert in Midlife Reinventions who inspires and equips women around the world to flourish in midlife and beyond. As a Certified Dream Coach®, website creator and published author, Susan helps women celebrate and enrich their true inner and outer beauty as they live life to the fullest. Her website FlourishOver50.com gives them the resources and tools to radiate outer beauty with style, health and balance. Her Midlife Reinventions Road Trip in a Red Convertible™ and Powerful Me™ programs teach women how to live more purposeful, soul-driven lives as they flourish from the inside out. Susan would love for you to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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