Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A testimony from someone who's been there, too

Just awhile ago, I found this wonderful, encouraging comment on this blog left by Kelly McCormick. Thank you so much, Kelly! Now I'd like to share your thoughts and insights more fully by re-posting it here. That's what I'd like this blog to be–a place of sharing and caring for one another. Like you, Kelly, I searched for someone, too, who truly understood my heartache.....

"My story gives hope to the hurting mothers out there who wonder when if it will ever be over. I was estranged from my son for 12 years. I'm here to tell you that reconciliation happens...regardless of how long the separation. 

Like so many others, I didn't see it coming. My son, daughter, and I were very close. I had been in a difficult marriage for many years, and I officially ended the marriage. The divorce was very reasonable; there was nothing much to divide so we did it all through a paralegal. I had custody of our two children and my ex had visitation. 

My 11-year-son started to be angry and rebellious towards me. Soon, he told me that he wanted to live with his father. I agreed because I thought it would be temporary and that he would "learn his lesson" and return home a more humble boy. I was wrong. The rift deepened, and I couldn't seem to regain footing. 

Over the years, I tried everything from counseling to begging my ex to persuade him, to confronting my son, meeting with his teachers, meeting with adolescent experts...everything. Like so many, I tried anything and everything, over and over again. I had turned from God during my divorce because the Bible said it was wrong to divorce and I decided to get one anyhow. The situation with my son felt like God's punishment. I was truly heartbroken and could hardly get out of bed some days. Although I didn't think of suicide, I knew that I wouldn't fight death if given the option. 

I searched for books or stories of other women in similar situations and couldn't find any (the Internet has come a long way). I couldn't comprehend how we had gone from a very close relationship to completely estranged. I was worried sick about my son's well-being. I believed that I must be a bad mother because I couldn't protect my child and I couldn't find anybody else who experienced this. I was deeply ashamed and became withdrawn. 

As the years went by, I continued to ask questions and do deep soul searching that led me to some wonderful places. What could I learn from this? How can I have peace? What do I need to see about me? How can I grow? How do I forgive myself? How do I forgive others who played a role? Who is God anyhow? 

The questions led me to beautiful places I couldn't have dreamed of. There was a lot in the middle, but the rift ended as suddenly as it started. It was not the result of a new trick, profound advice, or slick technique. Now that I have some perspective (we've been reconciled for about three years), I believe it changed when my heart was right; when I truly accepted and felt grateful for the whole ride. I did not do a thing. 

Out of the blue, my daughter told me that my son was moving to Houston from Los Angele, and it was happening next week. Through my daughter, he agreed to come to my husband's and my house for a family dinner. His only stipulation was that he did not want to talk about the past. We have been building our relationship since then and I have honored his request. 

There is so much more to tell and so much is difficult to put into words. My main message is that I am living proof that there's reason for hope. I also agree with the other posts that demanding answers sent me backwards rather than forwards. Now, I am in the joyful place of asking what I can do to help other mothers (and fathers) who are in similar situations. I hope that commenting on this post is encouraging to somebody out there."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To my hurting friends

Just now, I got up from the floor, where I'd been reading through your prayer requests in my Prayer Book (there are 20), and went straight to my computer to write this. I wanted you each to know that I lifted you in prayer and asked God to be with you and heal your broken bonds and hearts. You are in my thoughts every day.

Please let me know how you're each doing. 

With love and hope,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day....

 I feel as if a part of me is missing.

A hurting mother wrote me that this week. She wanted to know how I got through Mother's Day. And I've been thinking about that these past few days. How did I? I just got through it. But not without a lot of hurt, anger, frustration, resentment...all those emotions and more. I just felt so cheated!

I know so many mothers who are separated and/or estranged from their children. Some of those mothers are very close to me. One left town so she could get away from memories and breathe. Another mother I know is strong, too, and bears her pain without saying much. And then I think of all the mothers who've lost children through miscarriages and death. Mothers who gave up their children at birth. Mothers who don't even know where their children are. They'll all be hurting tomorrow, too.

You know, a long time ago, someone created Mother's Day with good intentions. But for a lot of us, the day only brings heartache. My heart goes out to you all, and I'll be lifting you in prayer all weekend.

So, yes, it's true what that dear hurting mother wrote me. There IS a part of you–a huge part–that's missing when your children aren't in your life. We are MOTHERS, so strongly tied to the children that we nurtured and raised. We love them. No matter what.

This past week, I don't know why but that Bible promise–"Her children will rise up and call her blessed" (Proverbs 31:28)–has been in my head. Maybe it's because of Mother's Day getting close. Or maybe it's because God is bolstering me as I deal with issues in my own life right now. But I do believe that when we as Christian women and mothers continue to cling to God and live according to His ways, even when we ache and want to give up, He will bless us. What's more, He will keep that promise in Proverbs, and it will happen. Maybe not tomorrow or next year or even 10 years from now. But someday our children will understand and accept the truth and see the true Godly women that we were and continue to be. Even when there are huge parts of us missing.

God bless you all. Please be easy on yourself this Mother's Day. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to yell, yell. If you need to talk, talk. It's okay to feel anything and everything your heart is feeling. Just get through the day, and remember this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And God will work everything together for His good.

In the meantime, here's a thought: if you can, reach out to another hurting mother on Mother's Day. Call her, pay her a visit or surprise her with a gift. When we minister to others, the ache in our own hearts lightens.

With lots and lots of love and prayers,