It’s Mother’s day weekend and though the sun has made the random appearance here and there today, it has otherwise been a cloudy, rainy day prompting me to spend more time than normal thumbing through Facebook posts and online news media. Everywhere I look there are pictures of friends and expressing their heartfelt love for mothers here or past. Looking at these pictures, I rejoice with my friends for their bond with their mothers and ache for them if their mother is no longer here but a part of me also feels a prick of pain for entirely different reasons.
My mother and I never had what one would consider a strong emotional bond. Though I have some positive memories of her and she certainly taught me some good lessons on how to behave and treat others, being with my mom was always fraught with uncertainty.
As an alcoholic, my mom was unpredictable and volatile. One moment, all seemed normal as we ate dinner or laughed at a show on television and the next moment, all hell would break loose. Her anger would erupt like a volcano as she spewed accusations, insults and threats to anyone near enough to hear. Physically violent or not, as these events occurred I would find myself withdrawing into my own little world to wait for it to end.
I would hide under the stairs in my moms house and daydream of having the type of relationship I imagined others had with their mothers. I would picture us baking cookies or shopping, confiding in one another and always knowing that regardless of what life threw at us, we would always be mother and daughter, connected by an invisible, unbreakable bond. But this was not to be – my reality was different.
Reality for me means that my birth mom didn’t want me. Understanding the whys and hows didn’t and don’t take that pain away, they just soften the edges a bit.
Reality for me means that my adoptive mother, though she longed for children, would forever rage inside herself because she was unable to bear children of her own and maybe it was this failure that caused her marriage to fail; maybe it was me, the adopted child – the constant reminder of her failure – that caused her marriage to fail.
Reality for me means that the person I was told was supposed to care for me and shield me against the troubles of this world was the very person putting my safety at risk.
Reality for me means that the word “mother” is so tainted with negativity that I never really wanted to have anyone in my life assume that role for fear that relationship would turn out to be just like the other one nor did I want my stepsons call me “mom” because I was afraid that if they did, I would begin to emulate the type of mother I was was exposed to growing up.
Reality for me meant I longed to be a “motherless child” because I were truly motherless, I could write my own definition of what a mother is supposed to be. That word would not be colored with my own experiences but would be fresh and new.
As I look now at my boys and how they have grown up I realize that through my faith in God, I have been able to rewrite what motherhood means. God has allowed me to overcome the fear that kept me from letting them get too close to me emotionally and instead has shown me how to open my heart to them without reservation.
God has allowed me to embrace my boys and provide them as much unconditional love and support as I can. I will not always agree with their choices or actions, but I will always love them and I am constantly striving to show this to them.
God has allowed me come to see that in being a “motherless child” my trust has to be on Him, the only One that can truly provide the unconditional love, support and guidance I was seeking from my earthly relationships.
Does this mean that not having children of my own doesn’t still ache? No.
Does this mean that the sense of loneliness from not having that mother figure in my life has been eliminated? Again, no.
What it does mean is that God has shown me there is a greater purpose at work here.
God in His infinite wisdom created in me a heart to turn to Him in my pain and loneliness and find there the tools to minister to others whose lives were similarly challenging.
God has given me the ability too look on my past with new eyes – eyes of love, mercy and grace. I cannot change what happened, but I can accept that the things that happened were done by hurting, broken people and that my mom, in her brokenness, was unable to save herself let alone me.
Finally, God has shown me that there is nobody who is truly motherless or fatherless. We were all created by Him at His perfect time, in His perfect will and allowing the difficulties of this world to take replace that knowledge is the only way I could ever be truly orphaned.