It’s been almost twenty-five years since my mother passed away but I still think about her, and she’s a central part of my testimony.
However, for many years, my mom was a big secret that I didn’t want anyone to know about because she struggled with mental illness. Shell-shocked by the sudden death of my father two months before I was born, my mom anesthetized her pain with numerous anti-depressants, and for many years alcohol. There were no mother-daughter talks. No shopping outings. No nurturing. We lived in a wealthy school district but were impoverished; making it difficult for a teenager to keep up with the other kids.
However, God calls us to honor our parents, no matter what. Even if they’re flawed, even if they don’t provide, and even if they make mistakes. There are no addendums in the fifth commandment that says:
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
After I rededicated my life to Christ in 1993, God’s first order of business for me was my mother. I left a national sports reporting opportunity at ESPN to return to my hometown of San Antonio to honor my mother for the first time in my life. I had been running from the memories of my mom for many years, allowing other family members to care for her when she strayed off her medications. I was like Forrest Gump who had decided to run across the country, but eventually said, “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.”
By the time I moved back home, my mom was living in a group home. I visited her regularly, took care of her material needs, and most importantly, forgave her for the years of neglect in my life.
I also began to love my mother, and finally put myself in her shoes. How would I react if my newlywed beloved husband dropped dead in front of my eyes? I realized how tragic that must have been for her.
Love is not an optional box that we can check off. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
The passage goes on to further define what love is:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
I had kept a record of my mother’s wrongs, but I am grateful to God that he called me back to make amends with my mother, to erase the slate and to love her unconditionally, like He loves.
Perhaps I am speaking to you today.
Do you need to forgive your mother for what you see as shortcomings?
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to honor her through your forgiveness and unconditional love.
Categories: Devotion of the Week