God’s love never ceases. Never… Our faith does not earn it anymore than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn’t love us less if we fail or more if we succeed. God’s love never ceases. – Max Lucado
I am grateful for my emotions, good and bad, because they are me and I gotta own them.
I am grateful for the lessons I am learning this week about the power of words.
I am grateful for my counselor.
I am grateful that my church provides daily devotions to go along with the message.
I am grateful for my pastor.
I am grateful for the way God orchestrates little lessons through a thought, a word someone says, a phrase on a daily calendar at my desk…it’s like He’s hammering it in this woman-hear-me-squeak brain.
And I am grateful for my Mom. This is why.
Sometimes, emotions take over. It’s funny how easy my emotions can swing from being fairly carefree and I find it so easy to be happy and show true joy, and then words are spoken to me that send me into a tailspin and I’m consumed with pain. Actually, it’s not funny at all. And the sad thing is, it doesn’t take much. Those words may not mean a thing. I may misinterpret them to be much more devastating than they were intended. I am woman, hear me…squeak.
My counselor always has great advice for me. She says, “I want you to feel what you feel. We just need to work through the emotions and not act out of them.”
I’ve been thinking about my Mom and being a mom and some conversations recently about her expectations and disappointments that have now come to fruition in my life, as well. It has given me many moments of reflection as the messages at church these last two weeks have been focused on the power of words and how they can build or destroy, spread grace, forgiveness, and love, or spread anger, bitterness, and a spirit of unforgiven condemnation and judgment.
This morning in my church devotions, Angela LaVallie wrote about the scripture for today and correlated it to the way she treats her mom:
It can be so easy for us to settle into old habits in close relationships. One relationship I have begun to see differently in the last year is the one I have with my mom. I love her more than almost anyone else. But I also say things – not good things – to her that I would never say to anyone else… On Labor Day weekend last year, my mom came to visit me. As I introduced her to friends and watched the ways they interacted with her, I had an epiphany-like moment. She is my mom, and I have always known her, but I didn’t really know her in any other capacity than as my mom. I have been more critical of her and judgmental toward her than I would ever even think about being with anyone else.
15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians, Chapter 3
There’s a song that has been recorded many times over the years, titled, “You Always Hurt the Ones You Love.” Why is that? Why did I sometimes treat the one who loved me the most on this earth with such disdain? Oh, if only I could take back some of the things I said to my Mom, some of my attitudes towards her.
NOW I get it. Now when it’s too late. I get that my Mom was human, too. I get that my Mom had feelings that she kept to herself. I get that my Mom made mistakes but was doing the best she could with the resources and knowledge she had and circumstances she found herself in. I get that my Mom felt unloved and unappreciated at times, many times. I get that I didn’t really know my Mom as a person with real feelings and didn’t really know her heart and her story, at least, not until the end. I was not the best daughter. And I have not been the best Mom. But now I get it.
Our pastor said this yesterday:
Last weekend I mentioned four things that must be regularly said or done to create healthy relationships in our families:
1. Express your love often, 2. Listen carefully, devoting your full attention. 3. Say “I am sorry” and “I forgive you” regularly, 4. Express gratitude frequently.
Have you expressed your love for your family members yet this week? Take a few moments before you head to bed tonight to drop them a note, a text, a Facebook message or wall post or give them a call saying, “I love you because…” Or maybe you simply need to thank them, or give them the gift of your full attention.
I hope that somewhere in Heaven, there is a computer station and Mom checks her “email” each day so that she will get this message loud and clear. I LOVE YOU, MOM. I am so sorry for the things I said, the way I treated you, the times when I didn’t call or answer the phone, the times when I should have sent a thank you note for your beautiful kindness and sacrifice. Thank you for the years of piano lessons even when I didn’t practice. Thank you for not letting me quit except for the time when Mrs. Good, who wasn’t very good to me, made me cry and you knew it might be best to take a break for awhile and look for a new teacher. Thank you for adoring me and being so proud of me. Thank you for all of the cards and letters you would send without receiving a response from me because I was selfish and didn’t consider your feelings. Thank you for showing me love even when I was pretty unlovable. Thank you for not kicking me out when other parents would have. Thank you for not turning your back on me during my darkest of days. Thank you for accepting me as I was, for forgiving me and loving me even more when I was so broken. Thank you for your sometimes good and sometimes not so good example that words matter. Thank you for your example as a human being with faults that God loves us no matter what.
I love you, I miss you, and I wish you were still here, but I am looking forward to the day when I see you again so that I can wrap my arms around you and not let go for a really, really long time. Just so you finally know how grateful I am.