This morning in the car the kids brought up the issues with my mom again. Obviously I am not the only one who is hurt. So we added her to our morning prayer time. We prayed that God would help us to walk in forgiveness toward her even though we are hurt and don't feel like forgiving. We prayed that God would bring healing to the rawness in our hearts from the wounds she caused. And we prayed that God would give us grace so that we could extend grace to her.
It sucked. I so didn't want to pray for her. I'm still angry. But what better time to pray? I was reminded of Luke 6:27-37 while we prayed. The summary of it is to pray for those who hurt you. Everyone can love someone who loves them but God asks us to love those who hurt us. It ends by saying "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful." The next part says don't judge or you will be judged. Um, yeah, conviction.
So then tonight at work I saw the textbook for a communications class.
I decided that even though I had a fun, little brain power, quite enjoyable novel to read that maybe I was supposed to read this one instead. So tonight I read from yet another text textbook, this time to help me understand the conflict with my mom. I was annoyed reading it because really, I know most of it but hearing it was still difficult. The short version is that I have to take the high road and act with integrity or else all we will do is continue to fight, possibly sever what is left of our relationship, and in no way help my son.
The book gave advice like using "I messages" instead of "you messages". You know, saying, I was really hurt and I felt disrespected rather than attacking and saying you were disrespectful. It also suggested focusing on the future rather than the past. Rather than focusing on the fact that she handled this completely wrong, focus on what our expectations for future interactions are. Informing her that we won't be ok with certain behaviors in the future but not keeping the conversation centered on what she did wrong this last time.
Still hurt? Heck yeah. Still angry? Yep. But I have a better perspective tonight. I know that I cannot harbor hatred and bitterness in my heart toward her and still be walking in God's truth (1 John is full of examples of if you harbor hate you are not living in the light, if you hate in your heart you have committed murder in your heart, etc.) I know that God made her and loves her. I know He can give me love for her.
I'm still not looking forward to talking to her about this, but still feel like it needs to be done. I still very firmly feel that my son needs to know I've got his back. And my kids need to see me honor my mother in the midst of conflict. Someday they will be adults. When that day comes, I pray that they will remember that I spoke the truth in love and honored my mother, their grandmother. I pray that they will still know that I will always have their backs. I pray that when I frustrate them, they, having seen me model it first, will act in love towards me.
And I pray right now that God will give me wisdom and grace to handle this and that He will help me to love her the way He does. Heaven knows that is the only way I can do this!!!!!!!