The essence of Mother has been in the air this week, but I don’t think the memoir I’m about to begin is going to show me the sweet side of motherhood. Mama’s Girl (1996), a memoir by Veronica Chambers, has this quote on the back cover: “If we learned nothing from this book but the power of forgiveness, that is enough … and thank God for wondrous healing.”
Thank God. Yes. Life with my mother was dreadful after it got to a certain point, but God did heal my heart in a wondrous way.
I stumbled upon a Bible verse one day, shortly after I had given birth to my son, almost 30 years ago: Psalm 27:10 — “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” The words were a gift. I had never thought about asking God to take me in because I had never seen God as a person. Prior to reading that verse, God was a High Being who existed in a place called Heaven where, if I was good, I would live one day. Mom told me that this God created the world and sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. His Bible contained amazing stories about floods, lions, and what the Israelites did. That was about it. I had no connection with the fact that God cared personally about what I was going through, as I and my siblings dealt with things no children should have to endure.
With this verse, God offered to put an end to my orphanhood, my greatest desire, which would also turn out to be the end of my insecurities and constant bad choices.
God became my Mother — and my Father — that day, and I was finally a member of a healthy home.
Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Shame. Neglect. All of this I received from my mother or from someone she allowed to get close to me and the rest of her children. Yet these ugly memories of Mom — she died almost 20 years ago — no longer hold me back from being the whole person God created me to be. I gave up the memories when I gave up her position to God. And the amazing thing? I began to love Mom again, not with the warmth that a good relationship brings, but with a love provided by God that goes beyond feelings and expectations. Once I accepted the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), I could better understand her and bring myself to forgive her — a great exchange of a burden for an amazing grace.
Do you have unpleasant thoughts or memories of your mother? Does the Mother’s Day celebration cause you to cringe? Get to know this personal God and let him stand in her place.
(Image of Mama’s Girl from my Instagram feed)