Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Letter for My Mama

It snuck up on me.
I didn’t even realize it was almost here.
Mother’s Day.

I’ll be honest. It’s true that this day is really-really-hard for a lot of us. Because some of us are traveling a hard, hard road to be a mother.  Or we have mamas who left or who abused or who hurt. Or we think we have failed altogether at this being a mom (or daughter)thing and think we are just too far on the edge of crazy to be worthy of any grace.

So I’m changing perspective. I’m focusing on what I have instead of what I am. On my blessings instead of my failings. On God’s grace instead of everything else. Because if I focus on anything else, I’m missing Him. His provision. His blessing. His grace. His Love.

Maybe you might consider joining me? Joining me on the grace-road as we cherish the blessings, the women, the love that we do have because it might be just what our hearts need.

It’s true that gratitude begets gratitude and blessing begets blessing. That being grateful for time and people and love can heal deep scars and leads us to restoration and healing. Sure my own mama wasn’t perfect. None of us are. But with Jesus, it’s never too late to fix a broken, busted relationship, to find that mama-soul who will love you, to heal from a deep loss and replace memories of pain with memories of joy, to remember your own mama on your difficult road to becoming a mama. Not to minimize the hard-messy you might be in the middle of, but to just take a moment to be grateful for what God has already given.

This is my grateful:

A Letter for My Mama

Dear Mama,

There’s just not the right kind of words. I wish there were.  Sometimes there’s just stuff, feelings so deep, that words seem so inadequate, so shallow, so limited. Like maybe it would be better if you could just dive in to my heart and splash around a little.

I love you.

I’ve watched you. I’ve become an expert at watching you. Watching how you love. Watching how you serve. Watching how you plan ahead. Watching how you cherish. Watching how you adopt others into our family. Watching how you care. Watching how you manage to be patient when I would bite her head off. Watching how you navigate the sometimes frustrating waters of family. Watching how you love Jesus.

I remember when my friend N asked me if you wore a superhero cape and a sparkly spandex suit—maybe no on the spandex suit because, frankly, spandex shows everything, but I’m sure there’s a superhero cape with sparkles somewhere in your closet.  

Because I’m just not sure how you did it all.

How you raised two kids, kept your marriage, built a house, created a home, taught full time, made us dinner every night—and a real dinner, not chicken nuggets from a box--, came to our games, took us to church, and taught us to love Jesus.

How you turned your own desires into a bed that you laid your family on so we could have our desires.

How you loved us enough to tell us “no,” to ground us, to follow through on our consequences, to be the ‘heavy’ even when it wasn’t convenient, to be our mom and not our friend.

How you cared enough about our character that you let us go to youth group even when we were grounded from all of life because in your words, “I’m not gonna ground you from Jesus.”

How we always knew we mattered. Even in the middle of life, we knew we were important.

How you didn’t hide your disagreements with Dad from us, but explained that people fight and people work it out and then you showed us the working it out. You live the working it out still.

How you believed in me even when I didn’t believe in me. How you believe in me now when I don’t believe in me.

How you taught me that being a good friend is hard because people won’t always be good friends back.

How you loved me through junior high when I was awkward and insecure and perhaps a little bit unlovable to say the least.

How you allowed me the freedom and opportunity to explore my gifts, and you weren’t afraid to call them out in me.

How you weren’t afraid of doling out tough love or hard truth.

How you acknowledged my good choices by offering degrees of freedom and responsibility. And in the same vein, acknowledged my bad choices by taking it all away.

How you were never into drama or hysterics. Mine or yours. You were steady. You were never thrown off balance. Or at least you never showed it.

How you let us ride to the store on our bikes without the comfort of cell phones. I can only imagine how this terrified you, but you believed that we could handle it and you let us go.

How you retired and then took being a Nana to a whole new level, as though that was your new, most important, bestest job…the one job you had been waiting your whole life to take on.

How you came to my basketball games in high school and my soccer games in college and cheered me on, even when I didn’t play.

How you taught me the value of hard work because you gave me allowance and then weren’t afraid to take it away, the way to really clean because you made me clean it again, and how to do laundry efficiently because I had to do my own.

How I know that you know that we can talk without talking, though I’m really good at talking and you’re always really good at listening.

How you became my friend when I was in college and stopped telling me what to do and started listening to what I was doing and then waiting till I asked for your opinion. And you always gave it to me without judging and without judgment.

How you looked deep down into my soul that day in the mall when I was in 7th grade and so incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin and told me that I was so pretty.

How you managed to like my boyfriends and be friends with them, even when they weren’t my boyfriends anymore. Because you saw them as people.

How you don’t judge my propensity for clutter or my denial of dust bunnies. You deal. (Or you fix it---ummm…thank you and I’m sorry).

How you were sometimes short and curt and you sometimes yelled and hollered and you weren’t afraid to let us know we’d done wrong. But at the end of the day, we always knew we were loved.

How you aren’t afraid of spoiling the little people just a little bit because you hold firm to the notion that it’s your prerogative. Because you’re the nana. And you are. The Nana.

How you love people by just letting them be.

How you lived your life in such a way that you could be a role model, an example, a mentor. To me. To others.

How you don’t hold grudges. You forgive and you move on.

How you really live so that you can cross things off your bucket list.

How Jesus is a quiet, solid presence in your life. That He just is and you don’t make a big fanfare or production, but He is always in you and without Him you wouldn’t make sense.

There’s so much about you that I hope to be someday. There’s so much of me that I know is because of you.

And I just want to say thank you.
It’s because of you that I am.
And I love you.

Your Daughter

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