Let me preface this note with the understanding that I know I was blessed with a good and loving mom. I know that that is not the case for everyone and my heart breaks for you. I can only share the fact that my Dad was greatly lacking in the father role and that even to this day, certain songs, stories or friends who tell of a loving dad, can bring tears of regret, because I am acutely aware of what I so sorely missed out on. Our God has a way of softening those losses if we let Him. He is the perfect parent. Sometimes I can close my eyes and think of His love and sacrifice, and I can feel His warm hug.
For many years I had regrets regarding the numerous misbehaviors as a daughter. Misbehaviors is a mild term regarding my past and how those affected my Mom and how deeply I worried her and hurt her. She was not a perfect Mom, but I knew she always loved me. I knew how much she sacrificed to raise the four of us on her own, working straight midnights as a nurse. She managed to cook dinner every night and tuck us in at bedtime.
I was so also blessed that before she died in June, 2000, we were close and she had observed my life becoming stable, with a new career, the amazing birth of Annie and my cessation of alcohol. She could see in me the beginning of the positive results of her self-sacrifice and love.
It wasn’t until I lost my son to an accidental overdose almost 3 years ago at the age of 35, that I truly understood the measure of a mother’s love. Stephen was, by no means, an easy child to raise. There were many dissappointments, behavior issues and many sleepless nights. As he grew more mature, my worries only increased. His behaviors improved yet watching him struggle with profound depression and, as a mother, not being able to take the struggles away, were very painful. I can say without a doubt throughout those years and those dissappointments and yes, anger too, I never stopped loving him. I never loved him less. I would still do whatever a mother could do to protect him, care for him, sacrifice for him. I think in some ways that unconditional love is similar to God’s love for us.
No matter what we do as a child of God, He will always love us, regardless of our sins, our past behaviors and any hurt we have caused Him. In fact, I think He may even love us more with our past “misbehaviors” because He saw our struggles. He sees the desires in our hearts to please Him. He knows when we are powerless over addictions and certain behaviors and waits quietly for us to call on Him.
In so many ways I felt the same about Stephen. I knew his heart, how good it was. I knew his struggles, his desires, and at times, his powerlessness over them. I knew what he would do to feed the addiction. I had an innate and deep understanding of who my son was, an understanding that is not present in any other type of relationship. In fact, throughout the years there were some who believed I enabled Stephen. I even questioned myself! A few weeks after his death, it struck me…if I did enable, which I believe I didn’t, I don’t regret a moment!!! I would wager that most mothers who love their suffering child feel very much the same way.
God nudge me to write this note for children who are wondering, worrying or perhaps harboring unforgiveness for themselves for what they perceive is unforgiveable in their mother’s eyes. In fact, I am sitting in a store parking lot as I write. I can assure you, as God has assured us, that you were forgiven long time ago…that moment you had love in your heart. I can also assure you that a mother and child love have no boundaries, most importantly, no self-made boundaries.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8
I hope and pray that this note helps to ease a worried Mother and/or child.