The Mom You Always Wanted

Last year, I posted one of those Mother's Day Images on Facebook- you know, the kind where it talks about a mother's love, and how constant and sure it is. It was beautiful and very fitting for my personal experiences of my own childhood.

But it struck a nerve with some people. Some weren't feeling it.

And though I couldn't relate, I could completely understand. Rewind a year earlier, to a ladies Bible Study class in Cedar Hill, Texas. I was a drop-in for the night-a stranger- in the middle of a pretty serious conversation about their own childhoods, among women who were closely connected. As the women exchanged experiences of sad, lonely, and abusive adolescences, I felt overwhelmed by the fact that I had been offered a completely SAFE and loving upbringing. It seemed unfair, and even braggadocios for me to even interject my own experiences. I wouldn't speak. And yet, there was a burning nudging inside to do so. I wrestled within to keep my mouth closed- the last thing that I wanted to do was pour the salt of gloating over the deep wounds of rejection. These women had suffered enough, and the suffering had continued into adulthood through choices made with skewed perspectives. Second and third generations were feeling the scars of abuses and neglects past.

The cycle has to end at some point.

So I spoke. And this is what I told them.

 This is the {shortened} story of my mother, her life, her choices, and my blessings.

 

mom  

My mom grew up number two of six children. Her father was committed to a mental institution when she was about 10 (after years of abuse and anguish toward the children and her mother), and her mother lacked what my own mom commonly calls, "The Mommy Gene". She didn't know how to nurture or connect with her children.

But mostly, she didn't know how to PROTECT them from others.

And in those days, there were plenty of creeps looking to prey on unprotected innocence. (Same as today, if I really think about it...) Because of that, much of my mom's upbringing was spent hiding- in trees, in closets, outside...it wasn't safe to be seen. Not for any of them.   When she was able to move out and get married, she knew two things:
  1. She wanted to have a family that she could pour out her love to.
  2. She would protect them with her life.
By the time I was 10, I knew the all of the stories. But they weren't told with bitterness or anger; instead, they were always remembered with sadness for her parents, that they missed out on the type of love and joy that she was experiencing in her own family.

We weren't raised around them- she didn't trust them with us

{Mom always told us that it takes only a few seconds alone with a perpetrator to change a child's life forever.She never took that risk for us.} But she never gave up the hope that they would know love. REAL love. I remember one Christmas morning, when I was less than 10, awakening with the teeth-chattering thrill of excitement for what awaited me and my siblings under the tree- We didn't have much, but Mom and Dad  made much out of little! As we were opening gifts, I could hardly contain the love that I felt for my family. All I had ever experienced was acceptance and welcome. I paused to look at my parents, and was overcome with deep regret for my mom. I stopped opening gifts, got up from the floor and sat next to her, and asked her if she was sad that she didn't have a life like ours when she was a little girl. She simply smiled at me and said,
"I have become the mommy I always wanted."
And with that, the peace of the Lord rested between us. In return for the forgiveness, unconditional love and grace that my own mother bestowed upon those who hurt her (and her siblings) deeply, she was given FREEDOM.
To Love. To Give. To Prosper. To Protect. To GROW.
  She broke the cycle. She CHOSE to break the cycle.

And she never looked back.

She didn't let the scars of her parents define her. She didn't believe the lies that whispered in her head, "You aren't worth it." She KNEW that there was a Lover for her Soul, and that only He defined her value. She chose LOVE. And because of her choices, my siblings and I have had an extraordinarily safe and loving life. And now, so have our own children. We have reaped the benefits of her decision to choose the BETTER way. And not only us- There are many, MANY who call her "Mawmaw"-she has given home, safety, love, and nourishment to more children (and adults!) than we can count. She has accepted them all. And so, today, when people speak of the injuries by their parents, I cannot relate personally, but I remember my mom's stories, and the choices she made to love, protect, and forgive. And I tell them,
"You can be the mom you always wanted. For YOUR children."

And then YOUR children can be just like the mom YOU were.

mom & dad  
"An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates." ~Proverbs 31
 

 You are worth MORE THAN RUBIES. And so are your children.

Keri Lehmann
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