My Mother, My Cross

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You have not loved until you have loved the unlovable, the ugly, the undeserving,
like a mother strung out on drugs and drunk all of the time.

Every ounce of her; you know, the part that held me at night, read to me, bathed and fed me, is absorbed in this addict that reeks of booze.

I know my mother is in there somewhere, because this addict calls me by name and expects me to love her like I love my mom.

This addict plays nice at first.
She laughs where my mother would’ve cried; she does where my mother would’ve slept.

But with every drink…and, taken in secret, a pill here and there, this addict loses her like-ability and fast.

She does not care about me or my children, or even the woman she overtook and is now portraying.

With hatred and selfishness, using my mother’s mouth and body…she destroys everything valuable my mother holds dear, with the words she spews out, the way she moves my mother to stumble and fall.

The daughters she bore, no longer responsive to her need for them, the son disgusted in the mother that allows this to happen.

My mother became just another woman to me. I learned to acknowledge the addict in her, and no longer the mother that gave birth to me, in order to lessen the pain.

If she didn’t care enough to stop, why should I care to be there for her, to respect her and love her?

It just became easier to accept the addict and forget the mother that’s hardly ever there anymore.

Until I grew in my faith, until my views were made to align to my makers, I knew love by what I got from it.

I loved my children. I loved my husband. I loved friends and family. I loved books and music. I loved afternoon naps. I loved them because they gave me something in return.

Until God opened my eyes to my sins and showed me how He loved me in spite of them, I would have gone on in my ignorance.

I thought love was supposed to be easy, but love is hard. Love is dying on the cross…

I have since learned each of us have our own cross to bear, and mine so happens to be to love my mother through her addiction.

When she smells of booze…when she can’t stand…when she is sick from pancreatitis…when she is lonely…

I will allow her to hug me and I will focus only on her touch and not the smell.

I will hold her up and not allow her to fall, and if she falls I will help her up with no condemnation.

I will not run the other way; I will not ignore her and act like I don’t know her.

I will talk with her even though I can’t understand what she is saying.

And in my quest to carry my cross, I will have loved the way He first loved me.

I will have done it and not just spoken of it.

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Woman to Woman

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So many things are running through my mind and my throat has entirely swelled shut.
I’m sure, an allergic reaction to the words it will have to allow through.
I’ve prayed for this time for some time, not really expecting such a “time” to come.
Secretly hoping the prayer would be placed in God’s treasure chest of unanswered prayers,
Prayers people think they want answered but God, knowing best, saves them from.
She has been so distant for so long, nothing more than an empty vessel.
Empty vessels make the most noise, and she no different.
Every effort to reach her ricocheted within her, and I found myself cringing in preparation.
She had figured out how to exist within her own realm, and such a sad world she had created.
Then – I thought she wanted to be “there”.
It wasn’t until today I learned different.
“You remember when I dropped the coke in the car and I cried? I thought you’d make me tell you then. I thought you would make me talk to you …but you didn’t”?
My sweet girl was stuck in quick sand and with every effort to free herself she sunk deeper…
And I failed to save her, to fight for her.
Eliminating anger in all its excusing glory, she shared her most dark secrets.
Excuses were no good to her.
She had become thirsty for change and was tired of the bitter drink of defeat.
She had altered her thoughts and allowed God to align them to His will.
Alone. Without me.
She told me she didn’t want secrets anymore, between her and I.
She needed her best friend back…me.
She ended her letter with “Mom, I’m sorry I’m not your perfect little girl.”
And she wasn’t anymore. At that moment I was forced to come to terms with that fact.
It had tried to creep up like ivy on a wall, her woman curves, mature demeanor.
But I wouldn’t let it, I couldn’t.
I needed her to stay little. She’d need me still.
Though not little anymore, but still perfect, always perfect.
She was my young lady, in all her beauty and demand to be seen.
And today I would have to tell her my secret in respect of this new found relationship,
A secret that would prove I wasn’t so perfect either.
She sat in front of me.
Her brown eyes puzzled by my struggle to speak, and tears, oh so many tears.
Once, the cozy coffee shop we had been sitting in, had now become consequently confining.
I asked to move outside, as if that would make the words easier to say
… “After I had you, I had an abortion.”
There. I. Had. Said. It.
I feared she had distain for me in her once-loving eyes, and I dare not look up.
I spoke of that mistake, that sin, not to excuse it or explain it, but to keep her quiet.
Her questions scared me too much to give her the opportunity to ask them,
And when I had said all there was to say, and the unknowing had become greater than the fear,
I looked into her eyes and I said, “I am sorry”…
But there was no disdain, no surprise.
With a mixture of sympathy and love, my beautiful grown young lady answered,
“I’ve known…I read it in your poem book years ago.”
We left the same people we had always been, but truer to the love for one another,
For we had taken off the ill-fitting “Mother” and “Daughter” costumes we had made.
The costumes that hid our “unlovable” mistakes and imperfections,
Dwarfing us into something lovable, all along never really feeling loved.
We had removed our mask and garment as if Halloween had finally ended…
Still we saw love in each other’s eyes.
Now when we hear the other say “I Love you”,
There will be no voice that follows saying…
“She wouldn’t if she knew”,
Because she does,
And still she loves.

I’ll be Different

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I’ve failed you once.

I forced my views and when you didn’t conform, I piled on judgement in my need for you to be okay.

Most times, I was too busy keeping score to know when you needed help. I felt you spinning out of control and I wanted to protect you from your niave adolescent self. My expectations came before your hurt and pain, before your desires and interests. I leashed you with my domineering, mothering way, like you leash a dog to keep it from running away, and called that love.

But this time will be different.

Even though I can barely suppress my what ifs, locking them down tight, to keep them from feeding the fears of failing you again, still,  I know this time will be better. I know what it feels like to see you go. I know what it feels like to not know where you are, if you’re eating, if you’re warm, if you’re safe. 

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen you, held you in my arms, kissed you until you were grossed out, smelled you, I know how much you hated that and secretly loved it at the same time. 

This time, I want so badly to love you with a love that leaves room for you. I want to be as quiet as a feather falling from a birds wing, so that your voice is heard loud and clear, no longer altered or muffled. I want to be as strong as Samson, so that you can make mistakes and not feel like the whole world will come down on you.

And I will, be different for you. This time, I’ll accept you without needing you to be anything more than who you are, ’cause that’s always been enough.

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Blessed by Experiences

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My daughter did something she shouldn’t have and I have been struggling with emotions. I am angry. I am hurt. I am sad. I am lost. I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to tune in and help her, send her verses, write her letters, hold her, take a walk with her. She is alone. And as if that is not enough pain to carry, my thoughts go to my son who has felt lost in a family who all seemed to fit together but him, no matter how hard we tried to show him we were incomplete without him. He’s now living with friends in a state far from family, far from us. Alone.

“It is their fault”, a familiar voice, not of God, pulls me out of the memories and into “reality”. I do not want to hear the familiar cold voice. I do not want to listen to his orders. As if looking from one picture to another, a quick turn of the eye, the holy spirit knows of my struggle without me saying a word, and begins to remind me of my past once more. It is in my past that I will gain the will power to do what I should. 

My thoughts go to my husband and I, him in another state for the military, and me pregnant, with two boys, by myself in my hometown, with family five minutes away. In the middle of cooking our third little bun in the oven, my husband decided to go to boot camp. I was left alone. Alone because it was what I chose. My husband sent for me after he completed boot camp. I had the baby there with him, 24 hours away from my family but far from being alone. I allowed my thought to form a what if movie reel of what it would’ve looked like, had I stayed to have my son in my hometown, surrounded by family. Alone. Family coming to visit, looking down on, cutting with hidden knives in their words’ meanings, making sure I knew just how low I was. I was told I got what I deserved. At fifteen, I picked my forever person, came out pregnant, but after baby two he decided he didn’t want “forever” he wanted “next”. I was left alone. And here I was 18, pregnant with my third baby by daddy number two. I got it.

When I was younger not one inch of my being thought to be worth anything. If I was alone, I was alone because I deserved to be. My actions caused it.

As an adult, as a child of God, I know better now. I was not left alone because of the choices I made. No, that is not why I was left alone. I was left alone because of the choices my family made. My mother, my father, my sister, they chose to step aside and allow the enemy to have his way with me. Full circle and I find myself in their shoes, hearing what the enemy told them about me, “These are her problems, she did this not you. Don’t be bothered by this. It is her fault. She needs to learn”. My heart is rubbed raw with memories that cause emotions to flood back and I am so grateful for that rawness. It gives me a look into my children’s hearts, their loneliness, and their pain. I can’t take away the consequences and I know I should not try to, but I can walk along side of them, ready to counteract the enemy’s lies, and remind them how much God loves them.

I like the Message version of Luke 15:21 “… The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you;…’

 God is the only one that paid for our sins; he is the only one we are indebted to for our sins. My children have sinned before me but they have sinned against God. God is willing to love them and quickly forgive. I should be too. 

I would love for my children to never sin but that is just not the case, after all I am their mother, a sinner, and they are a part of me. I will do the second best thing, to make sure they are never left to the enemy’s devises, to vow to remain their shield of protection, their reminder of God’s love.