Cleaning my desk, I ran across a letter I wrote my adult daughter in 2008 after the birth of her first daughter. I publish it here, dedicated to every mother and grandmother who loves at a distance or has ever felt the sting of failure. If your mother is in heaven, this would be her message to you today, beloved.
A mother’s heart is a vast and glorious thing.
Enlarged by suffering while clinging to Jesus, enduring feeling misunderstood, dismissed or judged by those she loves most.
It costs us to ♥love.
But it is worth it — there is no other way.
I lament that I live so far away and cannot see you as often as I’d like. I cannot comfort you, babysit for you or hold you when life becomes too much. It’s true that ‘no one loves you like your mother.’ You are blessed with two moms so you have the double portion blessing spoken of in Isaiah. Although my absence during your childhood years affected you, I know it is not too late for our relationship to thrive.
You can still receive all the love and affection my heart has for you now. It is richer because the passage of time has allowed me to see the grand design that your daughter, Lydia will be fulfilling as she grows in your home. She is the vessel that God plans to use to complete the healing of your heart.
I knew it the moment she was born. I saw it. No one can heal you like your daughter. She is the fulfillment of that for which you have longed. Desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).
Not that your three sons do not fulfill you. They are the family that your heart desired for so long. But Lydia as a female has access to folds of your heart and soul reserved for women. Only a woman can understand another woman on an intuitive level. You and she have the hope of this type of adult spiritual connection. It is a grand thing to behold.
I am thrilled beyond measure to see the physical resemblance she bears to you already at just 18 months. I see you all over her sweet cherub face. You are so blessed, Laura as is our family.
We are all daughters of Eve, sons of Adam, image bearers of a life-giving God who calls us to bring forth life. In our relationships, in our homes, in the Kingdom of God. Yes, it will cost us dearly to love and requires risk. Just as it cost God dearly to love us.
But He will tell you it is worth it.
Abba is a God of compassion and mercy. When we nurture and love our children (regardless of their age), we express His kindness, compassion, mercy, grace, comfort, favor and forgiveness to them. Mercy implies compassion that forebears punishing, even when justice demands it. “Mercy tempered with justice” is a favorite quote of Judges at the courthouse where I formerly worked.
Mothers are meant to show us the merciful face of God.
Mercy is what we need most from our mothers and what our children need most from us. It remains as well that mercy is what we need to offer ourselves.
I suggest that on those days you are feeling discouraged in your mothering, ask Jesus to tell you what He thinks of you as a mother.
Give God permission to vanquish the sentences in your mind that aren’t true, to expose the lies the enemy snuck in unnoticed. His answer will undoubtedly surprise you as it replaces your perception with His take on your life. Our task is to exercise faith to believe what we hear Holy Spirit speak to our hearts.
Just as we are parent our sons and daughters, God is a Father to us (2 Corinthians 6:18). Your good, true Father loves you and chose you as His own before there was time (Ephesians 1:4). You are in Christ, Laura and your Father has no condemning thoughts toward you whatsoever (Romans 8:1).
The next time you are assaulted with the accusation you are failing as a mother, ask God if it is true.
Ask Him what He thinks of you as a mother, as a woman. Then wait for His answer (Habakkuk 2:1-2).
It will be better than you hoped.
All my love for eternity,