Ready for the healing

(I John 4:17-21)

I am preparing for a trip this week, a trip that I believe God is placing before me to expand the possibilities of ministry calling I felt for the first time in October 2009, standing in the front yard of my mother's horribly destroyed and trash-filled home.

My mother is a compulsive hoarder. My earliest memories of her bedroom at my grandparents' home (which would have been age four at the oldest) was of piles of clothes atop a dresser, teetering carelessly near the edge of safety from the floor. My memories of my childhood home are similar--pathways between clutter, trash, junk mail, appliances that stood taking up space but not functioning. I grew up in chaos and squalor.

But I am not a hoarder. And my mother has made miraculous steps toward managing her condition. Hours and hours have been spent in prayer for her healing, and although I did not seek it, for restoration and healing in our relationship as mother and daughter.

I did not seek it because I was not able to see my mother with love for a very long time. I saw her problems, the painful conversations, the emotional abuse of untreated mental illness, the fallacy of the human condition; I did not see my mother.

My mother made many mistakes. But she always made sure I was in church on Sunday morning. I don't think I missed a Sunday morning service until I was in high school and diagnosed with the very contagious mononucleosis which prompted the doctor to tell me that I couldn't have contact with others for two weeks without further spreading the illness. I stayed home.

But the impact of being in church from a young child is simple: I learned that God is love before I could even say it myself. And the second thing I learned was the song "Oh how I love Jesus...because He first loved me!"

In verse 20, we read: "If people say, 'I love God,' but hate their brothers or sisters [mother or father], they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters [mother/father], whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen."

Wow!

When I harbored anger and bitterness towards my mother, I was unable to love her. Without love, we have nothing but hatred, or at the very least a void of emotion and action. We can't expect anything to happen or to change in the midst of anger, bitterness, or emotional voids.

When I started to help my mother two years ago, I knew one thing, and only one thing: Help rooted in anger and bitterness would not be accepted. I had to make the choice to forgive the past and be neutral and loving today to reach out and really make a difference. And that was only about cleaning out a house!

In the time that has passed since, I have been able to clean out my heart in relation to my mother. We struggle with the same things every mother and daughter do--Mom thinking she knows better, Daughter knowing that can't be true! We know longer struggle about her mental illness and clutter.

I still see my mom's mess and cringe; but today, I pray through the anxiety I feel when I see it and consciously choose to love my mother in spite of it. I choose to love her as she is, just as God loved me as I was, as I still am, and even as I will be in the future.

The only change I could make, the only change any of us can make is within ourselves. And when we open our hearts to healing opportunities by clearing out the clutter of past hurts, records of them, anger, and bitterness then we'll be ready for the healing!

Comments

COH said…
Great post CiCi. There is a Maya Angelou quote I was trying to find that came to mind after I read this...it is something to the effect of: "Forgiveness is giving up the hope that your past will ever be any different." It's something like that.
Here's to moving forward!
Donna

P.S.-I am sure you will shine bright and make lots of new friends in SF this week! Have fun, hope it (the traveling, the conference/networking, etc.) will all be even better than you expected.
Happy trolley-ridin'!

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