I have issues


I just don’t know what to write today. I teeter on the brink between being boring and sharing too much. The safe thing would be to share a great quote from one of the books I’m reading. The dangerous thing would be to dump all the issues I’m having with my mother. Though it is occupying my mind, I don’t want to think about what’s going on in Washington today. I certainly do not want to blog about it.

Supposedly, the president and the wanna-be presidents are discussing this in a “bipartisan” manner because this is an “American” problem. I’m not watching the news. I’m praying for them, praying for this country, about this mess.

I didn’t want to do this, but I have to.

Too much was made of the need to be “bipartisan” yesterday. Partisanship is a good thing. Republicans and Democrats have very different ideas about the way this country should be run. I welcome partisanship so that people can see how different the parties are, and, I hope, start voting for the people with the best ideas. (That would be conservatives, in case you were wondering).

Some people think that partisanship is what keeps Washington from working for the people. That’s absolutely right. And, for most of the time, the way I like it. The fewer bills that get passed, the better. The more arguing and debating, the better. When politicians start moving fast, without a lot of fighting, is when I worry. The result is never good news.

The other topic I want to avoid is how angry I am with my mother. I wish I had a great relationship with my mother. I really do. But it is impossible right now.

My mom called to invite us to attend church with her. Not only that, but that if we don’t show up, or if she calls us and we bail at the last minute, then she’ll cry. That’s what made me mad. She’s just trying to manipulate me.

What makes this situation so rich is that saying one thing and doing another at the last minute is my mother’s raison detre. It’s what she does. No one on this earth would fault me for doing to her the same thing she’s done to me for the last twenty years. No one. And the temptation is incredibly strong to do the very thing that I know will hurt her; to hurt her in the same way that she has hurt me over and over again for most of my life. For once, the shoe is on the other foot.

I know I won’t do it. I can’t be that mean. And it makes me mad at myself that I won’t do it. Not just because she’s my mother; it’s the “do unto others, love your neighbor as yourself” commands that get me. I am more than ready to inconvenience myself, or put myself in a position to be hurt by her again, if it means that my fellowship with Christ isn’t broken by more sin. I know he’ll take care of me. I just can’t find any leave from scripture that will allow that kind of behavior. I want it to be there, but it’s not.

OK. So I can’t treat her with spite like I want to. But can I refuse to do what she’s asking on the basis of biblical principle?

She is a member of a church with a woman filling the role of pastor. Mom just loves it because the sermons make her feel so good. And she “just fell in love with the puppets.”

I wish I were making this up.

She thinks my kids will really enjoy the puppet worship.

That’s how well she knows us.

The most loving thing to do would be to go to church with her and then explain why if she doesn’t get out of there fast she may be in danger of losing her soul. Which sounds kind of fun. Because bothering her with spiritual things is my raison detre.

I told you I have issues.

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15 thoughts on “I have issues

  1. I totally understand your issues. Particularly the mother issues. Do what is best for your family. End of sentence. No buts. If she cries she cries. If she decides to not speak with you – consider it a break from the anxiety over how she’ll respond next. Really I DO know what you’re talking about…my mother apparently has only one daughter right now: my sister. I’m just so grateful for the active work of the Spirit in my life that keeps me from following in her footsteps.

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  2. Yep, now I know why you feel “stuck” and maybe even bitter…really, I do. BUT (there’s always a but, isn’t there)you also know that the right thing to do is almost always the hard thing to do.Parents can make things sticky, even when things are amazing within your relationship, but the reality is that we all have to walk on egg shells for a season with them.I am a firm believer in “Speak the Truth in love” and maybe (just maybe) this is exactly what needs to happen.I will be praying for you…(you can count on that) and am sending you cyber hugs your way!xoxo,Melissa in Mel’s World

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  3. Both things are frustrating, for sure. I think Pres. Bush got on the television because there’s no public support for a bailout, and they all know it.As far as your mom and her church, you need to figure out what is most important. If your mom was a Muslim, would you take your children to her mosque? How about if she were Mormon?Don’t confuse your kids with false teaching– you’re primary responsibility to evangelize and disciple them come first. It’s one thing for you to go, it’s another thing to bring them.

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  4. MInTheGap — I’ve thought about whether or not it would cause problems for the kids if we take them. On the other hand, I think it could be a learning opportunity, a prime example in using discernment. We can do that without the field trip, though.

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  5. Karl has offered to take all the heat, and let me blame him for our not attending with her. Though it is entirely biblical, it feels like a cop-out. This won’t be the first time I’ve deferred to his authority over us. It’s such a relief sometimes.

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  6. I should probably just decide that we aren’t going to go to her church. That way you can practice obedience to God by following your husband’s spiritual leadership. 🙂

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  7. You are not a child any more so you do not have to “obey” your parent. But you do still have to honor her. Don’t lie and don’t use Karl as the scapegoat. Tell her the truth. But do it gently, with respect and love. If she cries that is sad for her. Some people like their misery. You can’t control that. I’ve learned in the last few years that I cannot control other people, but I also do not have to let them control me. When you let her make you this mad, she is controlling your emotions.I’ve also learned to let other people have the right to be wrong. They can be wrong and I can still love them. They do not have to agree with me and I can choose to love them anyway. I just don’t have to hang around them. I’m reading a book right now called TrueFaced about living under grace. The line that jumped out at me last night was “we see each other as saints who sin rather than sinners that are saved”.

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  8. Oh, I am so sorry, Leslie! It sounds horrible, especially the church part. I’m not really sure how I would deal with it. I will pray for you tonight.

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  9. You’re right — not being totally honest with her is dishonoring. My MIL is a wise woman, and she’s counseled me with those words before. Thanks for the reminder. Mom is wrong, her choices are wrong, in so many ways…I can’t even begin to give details. And I won’t because I think that would dishonor her. But loving her even though we disagree on so many levels has been our normal for more than a decade. God has been so good to help me be gracious to her. She’s my mother. I love her, but, at the same time, I am constantly on guard. I hope that makes sense.I’ll let you know what happens after I talk to her.

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  10. that is a tough situation. i will be praying for you, leslie. and, i will continue praying for your mom. never give up hope.

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  11. Glad to know I am not the only one with mom issues! uggh, I have some serius ones too!I think our moms would get along from the way you talk of her church!

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  12. Good thoughts on the politics; I agree with you. You are right that you are obligated to love and respect your mother, but that doesn’t mean that you are obligated to do everything that she expects you to do. We have had some experience in the same area. Jesus didn’t do everything His mother wanted, yet He was always respectful.The simplest solution is to just say that you are members and therefore obligated to attend your own church. You don’t have to point out the errors in hers, just that your family prefers yours.

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  13. I disagree with Renee, that you are allowing Karl to be the scapegoat. If he genuinely doesn’t feel it’s best for his family to attend worship, then you are under his leadership. What a tough situation. I, too, have mother issues…things that are beyond my control.Perhaps you could make a counter-offer? Come for lunch after church (if you live in close enough proximity). Don’t know if that will work, if this is a manipulation tactic, but it may be worth a shot.

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  14. What wonderful advice! I know where to go next time I am dealing with family angst!! I agree with this…”Don’t confuse your kids with false teaching– you’re primary responsibility to evangelize and disciple them come first. It’s one thing for you to go, it’s another thing to bring them.” I also agree with this:”Tell her the truth. But do it gently, with respect and love.”This is a mandate from the Word. And also this:”Jesus didn’t do everything His mother wanted, yet He was always respectful.The simplest solution is to just say that you are members and therefore obligated to attend your own church.”Like I said…You have some sound advice here, girl!Prayers for God to be glorified…no matter what.Blessings.

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