Happiness or Tears—Moms’ and Their Daughters
by Miralee Ferrell
Any holiday season can be lovely, spiritual, warm, rewarding—or painful, isolating, tearful…and the list goes on. As a lay-counselor to women, I’ve heard a lot of stories that tug at my heart. Broken families, wounded spirits, and memories that rise to the surface, especially this time of year. I’ve found that one of the most difficult broken relationships to deal with is that of a parent and grown child; specifically, a mother or a daughter who have lost their way over the years.
Blowing on Dandelions was inspired after praying with a fifty-year-old woman who’d had a very difficult relationship with her mother all of her life. The older woman had very strong opinions and rarely listened. In fact, her judgmental attitude toward her daughter cast everything she said in an unfavorable light. No matter what her daughter said or did, it was wrong. No matter how much she tried to please her mother or ‘fix’ their relationship, it backfired. She was at the place of despair and strong depression had set in.
She’s only one of many—some women have come from alcoholic or drug using families, where there was no stability and no real love. Other daughters were wild, rebellious teens who drifted away from their families and were never able to find their way back. And of course, there are those who lost their mothers and never had the chance to reconcile.
It’s actually rarer to encounter the opposite, but I have ministered to mothers who are broken-hearted over the loss of relationship with their daughters. In many of those cases, it came down to a lack of communication. Each person had their own perception of the past and what had happened, and that perception was often warped by pain and the passage of time.
We’re talking about two separate issues, in many cases—the first being an abusive relationship that has little chance of healing, short of a miracle—the second being a lack of communication or an incident in the past that still needs to be resolved to restore the relationship.
So what does a woman do who is stuck in the never-ending circle of emotional abuse who despairs of ever having normal mother-daughter relations? Counseling can accomplish an understanding of what caused the emotional issues, but it also only brings those past hurts to the surface—it doesn’t always bring resolution or healing.
Here’s what I suggest. Find a pastor or a woman who ministers to women, and ask for prayer for past hurts, generational wounds, or bondages, as well as both spiritual and emotional healing. I’ve also seen where physical problems have arisen as a direct result of pain from the past and can be helped when prayer for inner healing is applied.
If you can’t find someone who is an expert in this area, ask a friend to pray with you—someone you can trust to listen, then who will ask the Lord to impart His healing to the darkest memories and all the wounds from the past. Forgive the person who hurt you, even if they’re no longer living. Unforgiveness holds the person in bondage who hasn’t forgiven. Forgiving doesn’t mean you approve of what was done to you, but it says to God and yourself that you will no longer allow it to hold you hostage or cripple you. Then ask the Lord to remove the pain from the memory and restore your joy. He IS faithful!
For the woman (or man) who has struggled with poor communication or ongoing hurts. Do your best to resolve the past, even it means humbling yourself to some degree. If the other person is willing to listen and work toward resolution, the cycle can often be broken. Sometimes it takes both people setting aside the past and agreeing not to revisit it—simply move on and start fresh. Other times it takes a third party—a mediator—being present, to help you work through the issues and pain of the past. Be willing to listen, to set aside preconceived ideas and hear out the other person in full, before you impart your own side of things.
Know that it’s all right to cut ties and separate yourself from the person who wounded you if things continue with no resolution (especially when dealing with someone who is an emotional abuser). Forgiving someone doesn’t always mean being friends again. It would be wonderful if that could happen, and all relationships could be mended, but it’s not always the case. You aren’t a bad person if you must walk away, even after forgiving.
Last, if you have someone in your life who has caused great pain, and you’ve done all in your power to make things right, then give the situation to the Lord and let it go. Empty your hands, don’t hold onto the past any longer, and begin to focus on your present and your future. Invest in the healthy relationships in your life now and let God be God with all the rest. He truly is able and willing to bring healing to your heart, even without full restoration from other people in your past.
This Christmas, let the Christ-child reign in your life and heart, and spread His joy to the lives of all those around you. He will fill the holes from the past with new joy and new memories, if only you’ll allow Him to do so.
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