I’m writing because I’m angry. I’m angry because you’ve changed. I’m angry because who you are now is who I needed you to be then.
You are fierce and strong. You can be harsh, no doubt. Mean, certainly. But you are at least a warrior on my team. You will fight against everyone else for our benefit. You are a protector and safe haven for my babies and knowing how much you love them is enough to knock the wind out of me.
But mom, I’m angry. And I think my anger roots from all of the times you warriored up against me. I have spent so much of my life terrified of you. You’ve crushed me.
You held punishments and power in one hand. You held an invisible shame card in the other.
Because you were so angry, I could never speak.
The garage door would open and I would run as fast as I could into my room.
I had a C on my report card and I would be sick for days hoping you wouldn’t remember grades got posted.
I spent years building a doll house. I made light switches and tiny plates and chandeliers and created bubbles for the tub. One day, I spilled the glue and in a blind rage, you destroyed the entire thing. You kicked it to pieces and I had to carry it out to the trash. I didn’t say a word.
You were so angry. And I couldn’t trust you. I was not safe.
Remember the family we did home church with? Remember our homeschool co-op group?
I never told you about the kids. We would play together in the basement and they would have me take off my clothes. They would touch me.
I was so ashamed and so afraid.
I don’t blame you for it happening. Not even a little. We trusted them. That family was our church. I would never place blame on you for that happening.
But I do blame you for letting your anger blindside you.
I do blame you for being a mom that I couldn’t trust with the truth.
I had my period for a year before I told you. I stuffed rolled up toilet paper in my underwear for a week. Every month. For a year.
I wanted smooth legs so badly, I would sneak grandma’s old razor and dry shave, accidentally cutting up my knees and legs and ankles.
I wanted brand name clothing. The Gap or Old Navy or Limited Too. I was so embarrassed that my clothes were from Walmart. I would go to sleepovers and try to steal other girl’s tank tops and hoodies and bras whenever I got the chance.
And I wonder, did you notice these things? Did you see the bloody toilet paper wadded up in the trash? Or the cut knees and ankles? Or the bras stuffed in drawers? Did you really not notice?
I’m angry mom. But earth is forgiveness school and we can do hard things. Forgiving you feels like the hardest thing.
There is nothing but grace for you, I know that. I know that forgiving you will lead me to so much freedom. There are times I think I have and there are times I sit in a Starbucks and words flow out of my fingers about all of the ways you wronged me.
And I know the key to my healing.
Honor your father and mother.The first commandment with a promise.That it may go well for you.
This verse doesn’t mean I need to be in an emotionally toxic relationship with you. It doesn’t mean I need to agree with you. It doesn’t mean I need to live like you.
I need to honor you. And honoring you might look like sending you pictures of your grand-baby’s first birthday party. It might look like asking questions about your latest date or trip or gadget. It probably looks like forgiving you, even if we never have a close relationship.
Honoring you is the only way I can break this chain.
When I honor you, I can see from your perspective. I can see from your position. I can remember how my own theology has changed and evolved in the last 10 years and understand how yours could too. I can appreciate the challenges and the difficulty of having four kids, two kids are killing me. I can understand the tension between wanting to work and wanting to stay home with babies. I know my dad and I understand why you left him even when it broke us. I understand why you were so angry with your own mother.
But it is time to make a decision.
If I choose to hold onto this anger, the anger passed down from your mom, passed down from her mom, passed down from her mom, it will live on for generations.
I see it putting its filthy claws in me already.
Josh runs away or slaps my legs and you come out. I become blinded by irrational and impossible anger. I dig my nails into his arm. Shove him on the bed. Grit my teeth and yell.
Look at me, I’m you.
It’s time to write a new story. It’s time to build a new (doll) house. One that stands on The Rock. The walls will be filled with pictures and words and stories. The rooms will be stacked high with bunk beds. The dishes will be cracked and scratched and worn out from use. The bed will be messy and wrinkled from love making. We will put Christmas trees in every room and eat pancakes for dinner and hang lights on the porch. We will live out of suitcases and buy an RV and see everything. Josh and Agoo will have heroes around the world who teach them about Jesus. When their mama messes up, she will apologize quickly and fully and sincerely. We will not be protected from pain, but we will be honest about our pain. We will not be afraid anymore. Shame will not be the boss of us. Earth is forgiveness school and we will begin at the dinner table.
Come on in mama, you’re invited.
Pull up a chair, you have a seat at our table.
Be our honored guest.