I hope you and yours have had a very merry Christmas morning.
I did something new this morning: I heated a crockpot full of water so that Karl and the kids could make cocoa or tea. It’s going to stay hot for them all day. All I have to do is replenish the water. I brewed coffee for myself. I cooked a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast.
As usual on Christmas morning, Dad came over to visit and watch the kids open their gifts. We had a good time together. I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father saw fit to restore my relationship with my earthly father.
My relationship with my mother is still distant, however. I have not been able to get in touch with my mother all morning. In fact, I haven’t spoken to her since Thanksgiving (she came over to eat with us and we haven’t heard from her since). I hate it when she does this (doesn’t answer her phone). I don’t know if she’s upset about something or if she just wants to be alone or if something else is wrong. And then I wonder, why doesn’t she call us? Why doesn’t she want to have anything to do with her grandchildren? Why does she enjoy robbing herself of relationships that will fill her life with joy? I don’t know what is going on with her; she won’t open up to anyone.
I hesitate to mention this aspect of my Christmas Day, but then I remembered a couple of important truths. First, my family of origin is a very prideful one. One of the spoken family rules was, “What happens in our house, stays in our house.” We didn’t mention our needs to anyone else and we certainly didn’t talk about our problems. It’s a very unhealthy way to live, and I’m not the secret-keeper anymore (praise Jesus!). Second, I thought of you. You may have a strained relationship with a parent. It may be helpful to share how I cope with my feelings about my relationship with my mom.
First of all, I stop asking questions like the ones above. I stop trying to figure her out; I’m her daughter, not her counselor.
Instead of the emotional questions, I consider what God may be trying to teach me (again). I consider how I can be a good daughter to her today, even though I won’t see her and I probably won’t be able to contact her.
- I can pray for her. I pray that she will find great joy in Jesus. I pray that she will taste and see that God is good and full of mercy, that His grace is new every morning, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and that forgiveness and reconciliation with God and men are possible for her. I pray for her regarding her constant physical pain that impacts everything she does. I pray that one day she will be able to abandon at the cross all her bitterness and anger and disappointment.
- I can pray for my family. I must pray that we be ready to accept her when she is ready to be near us again. I have to pray that my frustrations with her aren’t absorbed by my children. I have to pray that we don’t hold any grudges against her. She promised the kids some specific Christmas presents and they aren’t likely to forget. I have to prepare them to love her anyway and not put their hope in man, but in God alone.
- I can pray for myself to remember that I’ve put all my hope and expectation in God. My life is hidden with Christ in Him. I no longer live. She cannot do anything to me that God cannot take and make it good for me.
Give thanks in all things. I can think of many things to be thankful for that do not have anything to do with my relationship with my mother. The tricky part is giving thanks for her, but I can do it. And I can thank God for another opportunity to magnify Jesus in a hurtful situation.
I need to remember that this situation is another reminder of the what and why of our celebrations today. God became a man and dwelt among us, to die for us, to save us from our sin. I stand in need of God’s grace just as much as my mom. I do not want to be like the Pharisees, proud that I am spending my Christmas day better than she is. I will be surrounded by family while she will be alone. Even if it is a solitude of her own choosing, I do not believe she is happy about it. I think she is succumbing to self-pity and that deep down she is miserable. I need to pray for Christ to draw near to my mom today, that He will open her eyes to the wonders of Himself. Then, and only then, will she and I experience true fellowship.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… Colossians 1:19
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Feeling my hurt reminds me that many people are hurting on this Christmas Day. Whether it’s because of death or a broken relationship or the lack of a relationship that one desires…people are hurting. If that’s you, too, I pray that this Christmas we will find a time of refreshing in God’s word and that we will realize, even a little bit more, all that God is for us in Christ Jesus.