Whether your mother is loving or distant, caring or critical, this is a place to stop and reflect about the challenge of that maternal bond.
All daughters and mothers are welcome!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ode to My Daughter

In 1983, GOD blessed me with my first child ~
a daughter!
Of course her birth changed my life forever, in ways I could never have imagined. We named her Katherine Grace and she has indeed graced our lives.
Through the years, my heart has been
                                fiercely protective,
                                 overflowing with pride and
                                         needy for her love
                                                all at the same time!

The following is a free form poem I wrote to her
during her first year at college as she struggled with discerning God's will for her life...

There was a little girl with auburn tresses,
who blessed my life one September morn.
To say that I would never be the same is true...
because her arrival changed everything!

Her eyes were deep pools of the richest brown,
so I called her "chocolate pudding eyes."
And there swirled about her an aura
of independence and adventure,
for she was never clingy nor complacent.

Determination and loyalty
became her trademarks;
Analysis and interpretation her hobbies.
Though her beauty was natural and striking,
she was blind to it...
Until she let the Lord show her
how she pleased Him.

Devoted to the Word of God,
and intent on pursuing Christ ~
She felt keenly the evil of a culture
sold out to death.
Hopeful to make a difference,
she saw the challenges and wondered...

How would God use her in the future?
What path should she take?
Why couldn't she see the next step
and proceed with confidence?

When answers were only whispers
signaling her to wait,
She was tempted to despair, but...
"Trust and Obey, for there's no other way,
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

The process of trusting and walking by faith
was daunting;
Certainly she should take some action!
But gently, Jesus reassured her that all things
were under His control.

He was unfolding His plan at the appropriate time and my mother’s heart counseled:
“Hold tight, little one.
Don’t you fret.
For our loving Lord has heard your cries
and He will lead you ever so tenderly
in the way you should go.”

Only He knew that a young man of faith
was to burst into her life and that her future
would be quickly intertwined with his.

So, my prayer for her continues…
"Sweet Katie,
Let God’s Joy be your banner,
His peace be your rest ~
May His Light shine through you brightly,
And loving others, remain your quest."
If you are the mother of daughters or daughters-in-law, please share with us your insights and joys.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Some people are REALLY difficult to love!  No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to reach them.
Because of past hurts or deep neediness, they seem incapable of receiving the love and affirmation we try desperately to give them.  It's like trying to cross a mountain divide on your hands and knees...

I know this because I have lived it.

My mom survived a challenging childhood, where as the oldest of four daughters, she had too much responsibility and not enough care.  Since I was a child, I've known that both of my parents lacked unconditional love and both needed parental attention.  And though my childhood was not as difficult as theirs (they tried to parent differently), they passed on a lot of the hurts and insecurities that shaped them.

It wasn't until I met the LORD Jesus Christ at the age of 23, that I began to understand what unconditional love is.  Until then I never felt good enough, thin enough, loved enough or even understood! 
You see, how can you pass on deep and lasting affirmation if you've never experienced it?  How can you give good water from a dry or poisoned well? 
Apart from a relationship with Christ, I believe it is almost impossible to "give" to another person the positive emotions you don't possess yourself. 

I wrote the following poem in response to my mother's reactions, after years of trying to please her and show her my love...

Never Enough

You’re a hard one to please,
With your penchant for rejection.
You’re so difficult to approach
With your fighter’s stance.
It’s you against the world,
And there’s no second chance.
My daughter’s heart, though bruised,
Always yearns for connection, yet -
Only God can show you
How much you’ve been loved.
Only He can take away the veil.
Only God can touch the nerve of denial,
That keeps your heart from appreciating…
   The many kind deeds,
    The many sweet thoughts,
     The many sincere prayers –  
        I’ve offered through the years.
No, I never gave this to her.  Just writing it was cathartic and enabled me to start afresh. 
The exciting thing is that Mom eventually gave her heart to Christ and her ability to accept love and return it grew.  How wonderful it was to watch...how wonderful it is to see the transforming LOVE of JESUS
in other's lives! 
                Continue to change me too, oh GOD!
                 For, indeed ~ YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weighty WORDS

"I hate you!  I wish I had never been born!"
                  "You just don't UNDERSTAND!"
                  "You're going out dressed like THAT!"

Why do negative words hurt so much?
Insensitive criticisms stab and rip at our hearts leaving us bleeding and wounded for years.

In the mother/daughter relationship, the responsibility rests with the mother to model considerate and honoring speech.  Oh, sometimes I wish I could abdicate my role as "role model" and just speak my heart about my feelings...unfortunately there have been times when I've acted more like a child than the mother.
That's when I'm reminded of the power of forgiveness (when I need it so much!).

We all mess up by saying things we wish we hadn't!  And the challenge to control our tongues is so important because once words leave our mouths, they have a life of their own.  Try as we might, we can NOT retrieve them!

So with good will towards our mothers and children, we must weigh our words, because they have lifelong consequences.  This takes great intentionality...thinking before we speak!
Check out what the scriptures say in the Book of James, chapter 3.

Will my words build her up?
Will my words gently correct and guide, or tear her down and wound her spirit?

"LORD, please fill my mind and heart with YOUR words!   YOU convict but never condemn.  YOU are always kind and caring, help me to be too."

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."
                                                                                                Proverbs 25:11

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Taking My Cue...

At the moment I was born, I was dependent on my mother for survival.  As I grew past the immediate needs for food, sleep and cleanliness, I developed a keen awareness of her and her temperament.  I became adept at "taking my cue" from her emotional state.

The dictionary says that a "cue" is a perceived signal for action...one producing "an operant response."
Doesn't that sum up the essence of relationship?
We interrelate with others depending on our needs (or theirs) often taking our "cues" based on past experience. The Dance we do with our mothers is formatted by the cues we give each other.
                                                               ~ ~ ~
Today at a luncheon, a friend shared with me a little about her relationship with her Mom.
She described her life with her mother as one of extreme HIGHs and lows, saying that her mom is most likely manic depressive though never diagnosed as such. 
My friend said that if her mother was singing or playing music in the morning before school, then she and her sister knew they would find a lovely breakfast awaiting them.  However, if the house was silent in the early morning, or they heard the vacuum cleaner running, their cue was to leave by the back door!

How multifaceted our relationships our! 
And the "dance" we do with our mothers can get very complicated.

I was thinking about this tin sign I picked up for my Mom just a couple of years before she died.

She liked to be "in control" and had a very set way of doing things.  If we didn't listen to her suggestions we often regretted it, because she had gained much wisdom and was usually RIGHT!

Of course, I gave this little gift in good fun, and she was gracious enough at that point to receive it as such!

But, oh my, here's a magnet that MY daughter gave to me!

It certainly reminds me to laugh at myself and try to hold my tongue!

What kind of "cues" did you look for
from your Mother?

What kind of "cues" do you
give to others?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Greatest of These is...


No matter how you slice it...it always comes down to a decision.
We have to decide to Love for the long haul.
~ ~ ~
Oh sure, there is the sizzle of romantic love,
the heart-filling comfort of sisterly love,
and the reassuring security of maternal love,
but even these come down to a

Because people change
and make selfish mistakes. 
Loved ones get hurt and then are hurtful.
People are people and we are prone to
blame, shun and  justify.
"LORD, help us!"

And Life circumstances affect the
maternal bond as well.
~ ~ ~
We have to continually decide to forgive
and extend grace. 
~ ~ ~
To love even when we don't feel like it,
because it pleases our Father in Heaven,
and brings a harvest of Grace.
~ ~ ~
One afternoon, when my mother was dying,
 I sat by her side as she lay in bed,
stroking her arm
and telling her I loved her.
After a few moments, she surprised me with these words:
"Why do you love an old woman
who has caused you so much pain?"

Oh my, I was not prepared for that question
and have often wondered what I would have
answered if given some warning
and time to prepare.

But without skipping a beat, I heard myself say...
"Because you are my Mom
and I LOVE my Mom."

She was silent and calm, receiving my words
and my heart was so glad that
I had made the decision to depend on God
for the Love I wanted to show my mother.
A decision I was to affirm time and again.

How precious and difficult those last days were.
How utterly faithful was GOD
to wrap us both in His Grace.

The Bible tells us the following:
"And now these three remain:
Faith, Hope and Love.
 But the greatest of these is Love."

Check out Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians, known as the "Love Chapter."
If we take Paul's words seriously, we'll be better at making the decision to


Friday, August 6, 2010

Starting Out...

We start our dance with Mom by crying. Our lungs are assaulted by air, our eyes are blinded by light, the warmth of our mother's womb has been stripped away and we are exposed, naked, cold and held by unfamiliar hands.
The birth process is traumatic...for everyone ... baby, mom and dad.
Inside the womb, we hear our parents voices and experience light and shadow.
Outside of the womb, we continue our journey in relationships by learning how to bond.

It is crucial to learn the dance steps of our particular family.
Does Mom waltz or polka?  Does she square dance or tango?

Will she graciously correct me or fume with anger when I mess up?

I read a book a few years ago that I highly recommend.  It is entitled "A Daughter's Journey Home" by Dr. Linda Mintle. Her tagline reads: Finding a Way to Love, Honor and Connect with Your Mother.

Loving, honoring and connecting are blessings from GOD that are realized in our lives as we consciously choose forgiveness and humility.  I know, because I've been there.  I've felt the sting of unforgiveness and the incredible freedom forgiveness brings.

How about you?

Is there someone who needs your forgiveness today?  Maybe your mother?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sorting it ALL out...

If you're like me, you have a complicated relationship with your mother!
Whether sweet or sour, comforting or distancing, she's made a HUGE impact on your life.
This blog is my effort to sort out some of my feelings about "daughterhood."
I hope to share some encouragement for those of you who are still tangoing with your Mom. You see, my earthly dance with my mother ended on April 1st, 2008 and I miss her.
Oh, we had a complicated relationship indeed! But she is a classy, caring woman and I am proud that she is my MOM.

I hope you will join me in this journey and share with us your unique experience of "daughterhood." As we practice the steps in our individual dances, may our footwork be led by love and filled with joy.

A cautionary note as the music starts, let's avoid "mother-bashing" and extended pity parties. I know that many, many women have been hurt by their mothers and professional counselors can help with that kind of pain. Please seek help if the mothering you received was toxic or debilitating. Always remember, we all process emotional pain differently...and the great news is that there is One who loves us more than the "bestest" mother...His name is Jesus.