Enjoy this guest post by Blythe Daniel and Dr. Helen McIntosh
Mother’s Day’s gifts and cards can be hard to deliver – it’s so difficult to wrap up your expression of love in a card or package. So, how do we express ourselves again this year?
God offers redemption to us, and we get to offer it to one another at special seasons. One such season for me was during a very painful time with my mother. How I (Helen) longed for her to own the years and years of verbal abuse and anger that she had poured out – and even ask forgiveness for it – but she never did. But God (those familiar words) stirred my heart to forgive her anyway. What freedom, what restoration, what deep peace!
For weeks we have seen the racks and racks of Mother’s Day cards – and for many of us – the flowery, glittery, happy looking cards don’t reflect what’s going on inside. Inside is where the mess is. The wounds, the hurtful memories, the losses. Can it ever get better? More healed? Less painful? What if there was a way to start such a process?
What if we wrote out a blessing for her?” Wrote out a prayer? What if we read the same book and then got together and processed it together? What if we planned a day that would start a tradition to repeat each year of activities we had in common?
In our book Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters, we have included some conversation starters and ideas of ways to begin again in the mother-daughter (or mother-in-law/daughter-in-law) relationship. What if your gift to your mother or daughter could be the gift of words like, “I choose to forgive you… I release my expectations…can we start over… what do you need to see or hear from me for us to have the relationship we both want..how can things be better between us?”
It’s humbling and risky to be the one initiating these words but it is a gift to the other person. You are acting out of humility and in a place to receive what the other has to say, showing your heart is open and this is the best starting place to build from the torn places in your relationship.
Isaiah 61:4 calls us to repair what’s between us. Rebuilding, raising up, repairing – this helps many generations. It says: “Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins. They will raise up the former devastations. And they will repair the ruined cities. The desolations of many generations.” You are so needed in this process of rebuilding.
This is a difficult week for many. There are so many of us whose mothers are deceased or are not in our lives. Many of us have much unfinished grief work yet ahead. And what a gift to our families when we can name what has hurt us and look at the strongholds (another word for worn places of defeat) that have come in due to our mother or daughter. Maybe it’s anger, a love of self over others, or anything that flavors our thoughts and conversations about her. It could be that you feel a lack of love from her so you protect your heart. It is good to be able to name the area that needs mended in our lives.
were many gifts when Jesus came to earth. Don’t you love the word restore? It
means that something was not working properly or was in disrepair or was broken
off. Several times in scripture we see that Jesus “restored” a person’s
eye-sight, hand, their very life. Don’t you think he longs to restore
relationships as well?
Before Jesus left the earth, he promised to return to us and is preparing a place for us. We see this promise in Acts that is good to remember:
Acts 3:19-21 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”
God to restore everything. I (Blythe) believe this includes our relationships but we don’t have to wait until then to see them restored. We can play a part in moving closer to the other person now by our words spoken to her, messages written to her, and efforts to guard our thoughts about her.
What if instead of spending time thinking about what has happened in the past, you use your time to think of how things can be different in the future? Spend some moments thinking about what you would like to see between you. Resolve to take care of only what you are responsible for, even if she does not take responsibility for her part.
Restoring Mother’s Day isn’t about trying to have better feelings or pull yourself up to do something that isn’t genuine. But it starts with our taking the first step of even saying, “I’m sorry…” or “Can we talk”? This year, even if you don’t get the response you want or are able to buy just the right card, your words, your blessing her through a conversation can be the most unexpected gift for both of you. Your heart can be restored to God in deeper, richer ways because of your dependence on him regardless of whether you are restored with her now. We want to encourage you to go for it and give the expectations to God rather than have expectations of each other. We think Mother’s Day is just the right opportunity to begin again.
Lord God, I come to you with my anxious heart about where things are with my mother/daughter. I need you to restore my heart towards her and my belief that things can be better between us. Will you show me what I am holding onto? And will you give me the words to write or share with her that will lead to the restoration you say in your Word you provide? I am trusting you to bring restoration in my heart and then direct me to offer to her. Thank you for loving and providing for me as you have called us to love each other, as you have loved us.
Blythe Daniel is a literary agent and marketer. She speaks at conferences and is interviewed for podcasts and radio. She has written for Christian Retailing, CCM Magazine, and Focus on the Family publications, and directed marketing for Thomas Nelson Publishers. Her passion is helping authors share their unique stories. The daughter of Dr. Helen McIntosh, she lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.
Dr. Helen McIntosh (EdD, Counseling Psychology) is a counselor, speaker, educator, and author of Messages to Myself and Eric, Jose & The Peace Rug®. Her work has appeared in Guideposts, ParentLife, and HomeLife magazines. She resides in Georgia with her husband Jim. They have two children and five grandchildren
Daniel and McIntosh are the authors of: Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters. They can be found at www.ourmendedhearts.com;; Facebook: blythe.daniel; Facebook: helen.b.mcintosh; Instagram: blythe.daniel; Instagram: nannie_7777;Twitter: @blythedaniel; Twitter: @helenbmcintosh