I think of my mother every Mother’s Day. Who doesn’t, right?
Some thoughts positive, some thoughts negative, some thoughts with pride, some not so proud.
(Constance, I apologise for this incoherent and disjointed post! It is all over the place, and if anyone makes it thru, it is a flipping miracle!! LOL! So bear with me!)
To explain a bit: my mom is very intelligent, very opinionated, short tempered and very expressive of her irritation, deeply committed and caring about her relationships, tone deaf in relationships sometimes, and above all, extremely committed to belonging to Jesus.
Belonging to Jesus, the veracity of God’s Word, and doing the right thing: these are the legacies she bequeathed me, along with the unshakeable certainty that the right thing was knowable to do.
But lots of other things…nurture, comforting when I was afraid, understanding, patience…these are things that did not come into play much from mom to me. I used to have a lot of conflicted feelings regarding this. From the time my wife and I first married, until the last year and a half, I regularly, together with my wife, prayed prayers of forgiveness on mom’s behalf, prayers asking forgiveness for any ways I had judged my mom for not being who I needed, and what I needed…who I wanted and what I wanted…and I think that this was good.
But it never really got to the core, the ache and hurt inside. It never healed, but still cried out, and longed and hurt.
Hey, forgiveness doesn’t work that way…right? I mean, in virtually every other situation where I gave or received forgiveness there was an immediate sense of relief and freedom, a lightening of heart and a brightening of countenance…sure, plenty of rebuilding in some situations, but a rebuilding laced with hope and supplied by grace.
But not with mom.
As the years passed, I ended up adding that lack of healing to just another in the long list of things that proved I was a screw-up and a failure…which was my core identity then, right? I was supposed to be a boy, and a man…fail. I was supposed to be a husband and father…fail.
Honestly? The only hope I had was that mom had taught me that God’s word was true and could be trusted, and that it was the right and true thing to follow Jesus no matter what and come what may. So, that is what I did, and I recall many conversations with God, thinking that He regretted making the gate so broad as to include the likes of me…”God, you said WHOSOEVER will…and I will, so you HAVE to take me, or be a liar!”
It makes me laugh now, as I look back…and it makes me weep, too, understanding a bit more now of the reason why I never found a home or a place to fit.
So anyway, I eventually just “accepted” that this was just a place that I was unable to rise above and forgive, and I would just have to accept that the flaw would forever mar who I was and what I wanted to be…and that unlike the other children I was a failure in that I felt distanced and wary of my mom.
Until this last year…until reading Stasi Eldridge’s book, and until understanding that my mom gave her all to a little boy! A son! And she never ever realized that I was not that son she said I was, I was her daughter! I watched the way she was with my sister…I watched how other mothers and daughters were together. And while my mother very faithfully provided for me as best she knew (with things that were sufficient for my brother, and far more than other “boys” I knew got from their moms), and in spite of the fact that those things were more than enough for “boys”…
…there was such a longing and cry and hurt in my soul. A bleeding wound that never healed…because it had never been dressed, but instead had been cursed and hidden under piles and piles of filthy rags.
I was the outcast, right? I was the ****** ( I won’t repeat the words, they make me sweat and cry to this day with horror and shame), and the *******, and the *******!
Constance…imagine if your mom never taught you the essentialness of your femaleness? Imagine, you were not included. Period. Given food, love, provision, and attention that didn’t fit or feed, but instead antagonized and wounded.
Mom and dad thought I was overly sensitive for a “boy”, so they teased me relentlessly to “toughen me up”…they let my brother and sister pick on me for the same reason…and I was the oldest, and had been made pretty big with strong muscles, and so I was sternly ordered to not fight back, and not react (cus I was so emotional I would have “an outburst” and that was not what a “man” did!), but to be stoic, like stone.
But…this post has a blessing ending, as all things do eventually when we yield or hearts and souls to the One that loves us best.
As LG revealed more and more of me to me, as I recovered memories from childhood that had been totally repressed, and recalled other memories in the new light of the truth of who I am, things began to change…
Mom obviously loves me today. We are not estranged, or cut off in any way other than the distance I felt always. And at last this seeming contradiction began to resolve!
Mom gave her all best she knew to her “son”, and it must have been so discouraging to her as her best efforts did not produce the results in me that they did in other “boys”. She must have felt such a failure, so inadequate and defeated…she must have had similar conversations with the Father as I did, from her own point of view.
The inability of the ground to receive the water has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of the water supply!!
Mom didn’t fail…nor did I.
I was born the way I was born so that glory would be brought to God thru my life, period! As with the man born blind from birth, I heard Jesus telling me that there was no blame to be fixed…not on me…not on mom, or dad…there was only learning to trust Him, even in this…ESPECIALLY in this…and then glorifying Him best I can everyday by living out His heart and love in this world.
And Lady Grace…oh Constance what can I say about Her? She has come forward so prominently, taken me in hand, and hs been filling me with the things I lacked…providing me with the nurture, comfort, attention, instruction, beauty and comeliness that my heart has longed to excel in as long as I can remember.
She has been granting me worthiness.
And…She has given me my mother.
I look back now…with understanding and compassion for us both. I live now, with a free openness and lack of taint. The wound and ache I felt had nothing to do with “unforgiveness” or “judgement”, or anything like that! It was simple malnourishment of the soul! Of course I felt how I felt!! Any woman would who had to walk that road. But it resulted in a spirit that was sensitive to the pain and sorrow of others, and resolved to me medicine to them. It resulted in my being given grace and mercy of a rare and precious form, and the absolute certainty that if Father and Jesus and Lady Grace love me, then literally They can and will and DO love anyone!!
And I can finally conclude with the reason I am posting.
Thank you, Mom, for being there for me, and never giving up, in spite of the discouraging nature of how things went between you and I. Thanks for not quitting when it seemed so mystifying and too much…thanks for coming after me when I withdrew and vowed to never speak to anyone again. Thanks for giving me the unshakeable faith you put in me…YOU put in me!
Thank you for loving me. I am grateful beyond words.
Constance, I am not “out” to my mother…or my brother, the only two members of my nuclear family still here on the earth. Dad and my sister are both in heaven already. But mom has noticed the greater wholeness in me, the freedom and congruity, and commented. I do not think she has noticed yet the changes that are obvious from HRT…too many years of seeing me as one thing, and it colors what she sees (think about that, Constance…far too frequently we see what we believe, and not what is)…
…but I have read her some of my new poems, and she loves them! And she asked me for a handwritten notebook full of my poems as a Mother’s Day gift…so I made it for her.
I sent it.
And I didn’t edit it.
The notion of coming out to her, to him, to other relatives, fills me with dread and (I admit it) fear. I anticipate that there will be a lot of conflict, and most likely some pretty heavy rebukes based in fear and ignorance. I think this because of the many forceful comments made from the time I was 6 on to the present on this topic.
But I now realize that it is something within her, and not something that is “evil” within me…it is simple ignorance of the biology and complexity of gender in creation, in a creation great and glorious and profoundly broken and out of whack as well.
And in that realization is freedom to grow, and to become, and to walk with Them…
…and be free from the heart, for the first time in my life, to say with all sincerity and gratitude:
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thank you for all you did, and are, for me.
Your second born child