Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. I’m not very fond of Mother’s Day, and neither am I crazy about Father’s Day.
I used to have a problem from the beginning of October till the middle of January, but over the last couple of years God has been healing me so that the time between Hallowe’en and Christmas is no longer such a problem for me, and for that I am extremely grateful. But the deadly depression that used to devastate me between Hallowe’en and Christmas has transferred itself to Mother’s and Father’s Days.
So now I get sad and depressed between May and June, and everytime I see an ad on TV about Mother’s Day or Father’s Day I get all jumbled up and chaotic inside. But I also feel angry, because all the commercials talk about how wonderful moms and dads are, and neither my mom nor my father were even remotely nice, much less wonderful or amazing in any way. I mean, just writing this post is making me feel despondent, miserable, and desolate ~ as well as infuriated and resentful.
Both my parents presented a happy front to the world. Harry made himself out to be a highly intelligent solid citizen who always worked to support his family, while my mother made the whole world love her. The front my mother presented to the world was that of someone who loved everyone, and loved to give of herself to everyone. Everyone thought my mother was an absolute Saint, who could do no wrong, could probably walk on water, and held the walls of the church up, because she was one of its pillars.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My mother did a lot of good things for her church. She was the wedding coordinator, and did all the flowers and decorations for all the weddings and every event her church held for the better part of 40 years. She also volunteered in the church office at least once a week during those same 40 years. And if that wasn’t enough, she sang in the choir, also for those self-same 40 years. The problem was, she was so busy making the world think she was God’s Woman of Power for the Hour that she had no time for me or my sister, and while she was doing all that cool stuff out In public, at home she was allowing my father to beat me within an inch of my life, and rape me repeatedly virtually every day of my life. And when I told her about the abuse memories I was having, and that they were both physical and sexual, her response was,
“Well, I knew something was going on physically, because I saw bruises. If I had known it was sexual, the divorce would have happened a lot sooner.”
When she said that, I thought I would boil over with anger! I wanted to yell at her that children are murdered all the time by parents who are physically abusing them. The idea that she had known that Harry was beating me, and did NOTHING to stop him or protect me in any way made me want to SHRIEK with RAGE!!
And then I knew I had to forgive her. Even though I had every right to be angry, even enraged, at her, I knew that holding on to all that anger wouldn’t help me let go of the pain or put it behind me. Besides, God commands us to forgive. If nothing else, God forgave me, and since that’s true, I can do no less to everyone who’s sinned against me, and that’s a LOT of people!!
“Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ ‘Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!'” ~ Matthew 18:21-22, NLT.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” ~ Matthew 6:14-15, NLT.
Seventy times seven comes out to 490. I’m sure Peter thought he was being really spiritual when he asked Jesus about forgiving someone seven times, and I can just see his face when Jesus told him that seven times wasn’t enough, that he had to forgive 490 times. 490 times!! You’ve gotta be kidding me!! That’s impossible!! I want to say to Peter, Yes, it is impossible to forgive even once without God’s help. So of course you can’t forgive someone 490 times on your own. You will absolutely need His help to forgive that many times!!
I’ve been able to forgive my mother and my father for everything they did to me. But I’ve only been able to do it with God’s help. I never could have done it on my own. NEVER!!
And I wouldn’t even want to try. I would much rather be fully dependent on God, and grateful for the Cross of Christ and His resurrection, and the comfort and indwelling advocacy of the Holy Spirit than to presume that I could do any of it without Their enabling grace and mercy!
Anything else is pure arrogance and pride, and I want no part of that.
I’ll deal with Father’s Day come June. Once problem at a time!