Bethany’s Story Part 4: Forgiving My Mother

If you missed Bethany’s Story Part 2: The Divorce, be sure to go back and read it so you can fully understand today’s portion of her story. The divorce definitely affected Bethany’s relationship with her mother. Bethany has some heartbreaking memories of her mother’s standards for her while growing up. We will hear about just a few of those sad memories from Bethany today.

As many do, Bethany had a habit of biting her fingernails and the skin on her fingers. She remembers her mother saying hurtful things to her about it.

“She used to say, ‘Look how ugly your hands are. Now you’re going to get cancer. You’re disgusting. No man’s ever going to want to put a ring on your finger.'”

Bethany’s mom would punish her for biting her fingers by putting mercuricrome on her fingers before she went to school to keep her from biting them. Mercuricrome is a bright orange substance that tastes very nasty. Embarrassed of her bright orange fingers, Bethany would just bite it off anyway.

Another way her mom punished her for biting her nails was by telling her that her hands were too ugly for jewelry. Bethany had a beloved jewelry box with ballerinas on it. One day, as punishment, her mother took the jewelry box away and Bethany never saw it again. Until..Bethany and I attended a party at Bethany’s mom’s co-worker’s house. Bethany saw her beloved jewelry box in the lady’s house. Her mother had given it to her co-worker’s daughter. Bethany was devastated! I could see the hurt of her heart through her teary eyes that day. Mind you, Bethany was in her mid-thirties at this time. The pain of childhood memories does not always go away just because you grow up.

Even through her pain, Bethany defends her mom a little..

“I don’t think she meant to be mean. She was just so bothered by me biting my fingers that she did what she thought she must do.”

All of her mother’s efforts were to no avail. Bethany still bites her fingers as an adult!

As Bethany remembers her relationship with her mom, the memories continue to flood in…

One year for Christmas, Bethany asked for a beautiful purple sweater that she had seen at her favorite store at the mall. It was one of the only things she asked for. Her mother bought it for herself instead.

When Bethany would talk to her father about the way her treated her, he would say, “Your mother’s jealous of you.”

She even overheard her little brother say to her mom, “Mom, why do you want to be like Bethany all the time?”

Bethany always felt like her mother was in competition with her. Her mom was jealous of her relationship with her father. After all, she WAS Daddy’s girl.

Her mom was also jealous of Bethany’s friendships. Bethany never remembers her mother ever having any friends-ever.

After the divorce, things got worse. Her mom constantly told her how she was just like her dad. And then in the next sentence she would say how much she hated him.

“She must hate me, too.”

Bethany’s mother kicked her out of the house, as mentioned in Part 2. Her dad came to the rescue. Then she and her fiance’ lived together with her dad. All this time, her mother criticized and condemned her daughter. Bethany’s little brother ended up living with their dad too. Her mother’s anger, pain and judgmental attitude drove everyone away from her. How sad.

When Bethany gave birth to her first son, her mother started to come around. Even so…

“She wasn’t there for me like I thought she should be. She was just starting her life with her new husband. She said no to me a lot. (About babysitting or helping me with the baby). It would upset me.”

Her mom would say, “Well, your father and I never did anything without you kids.”

“That’s why you and Dad are divorced,” Bethany would say back.

Bethany’s relationship with her mother continued to be strained throughout her adult life.

“It wasn’t what I would expect from a relationship with my mother.”

“I feel like we both wanted it and tried at times, but it wasn’t working.”

There was too much left unsaid between them.

Once Bethany rededicated her life to God, things began to shift inside of her. She attended a Bible study on “The Bait of Satan.” It was all about offense and unforgiveness. She recognized that her problem with her mother might be unforgiveness. Bethany is not one to make a spectacle of herself or be the center of attention at all. But, one day at church, she was undeniably compelled to go to the altar. That day was a turning point for Bethany in her thought process regarding her past hurts and anger, specifically with her mother.

“Going to the altar was not an option. I had to go. God did a work in me that day.”

Some time after, Bethany attended another Bible study. During this ladies Bible study, the subject of forgiveness came up again. She was flat out told that her problem was indeed, unforgiveness. She was advised to write her mother a letter, saying everything she wanted to say. Writing things down and getting everything out of your head is very helpful and therapeutic, by the way!

After much hesitation and resistance, Bethany finally wrote the letter. She wasn’t sure if she would ever give it to her mom, but just writing it down helped a lot. She prayed about what to do with the letter. Not long after, an incident arose between Bethany and her mother. Her mother treated her like a child in front of others at church. That was the last straw.

Bethany stewed for a few days. Finally, she texted her mom, “We need to talk.”

Bethany never gave the letter to her mom…she didn’t have to. In a phone call, everything came out. She says, “There was no meanness, no anger, no fighting.”

“I just poured out my feelings. I brought things up from my past that I had never talked about.”

Her mom broke down, cried and apologized for the first time in her life.

“She came to the realization that she needed to forgive my father. I wanted her to have freedom, too!”

“I was amazed that I was able to say the things I said and remembered to say them (without the letter). I know that God was completely in charge of the conversation. I know that chains were broken that day for both my mom and I. We have both gone to another level in our relationship with God.”

Bethany’s mom has completely rededicated her life to God and her marriage to her current husband has improved. “She has let go of Dad, finally.”

“My relationship with my mom is great now. I really wish we could have been like this long ago. I feel like we missed out on some good times.”

Are you dealing with unforgiveness in your life? Maybe you don’t even realize that there is a problem.

Bethany’s forgiveness experience was a gradual process. You must first identify the issue of unforgiveness.

“I didn’t think I had a forgiveness problem. But, I was still holding on to the hurt and pain from my past.”

Here’s Bethany’s advice on how to confront someone who has deeply hurt you.

“First, get your relationship right with God. Get your heart and your attitude right. Then, pray about when and how to confront the person.”

Is there a relationship in your life that is strained due to past hurts and betrayals? Be encouraged by Bethany’s story. There is hope. Forgiveness and restoration can be found!

For more on my own personal story of forgiveness, click here.

If you’ve been touched by this story or if you can say, “Me too! Me too!” let your voice also be heard. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Bethany. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, leave a comment or contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

 

 

 

Chelsea’s Story Part 3: Fire and Forgiveness

Have been enjoying reading my friend, Chelsea’s, REAL life story? I know I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it! What an honor to be entrusted with such a task! The grace and mercy of God is evident everywhere you look, even in a life that seems to be full of nothing but tragedy and sadness. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, be sure to get caught up before reading Part 3 in today’s post. Be blessed as you read the continuation of Chelsea’s story and remember to share it with friends! Thank you for reading!

In Part 2 of Chelsea’s story, we read how Chelsea’s beloved grandfather suddenly passed away. Now we find Chelsea living in a single parent home with her 3 siblings, fending for themselves entirely. Fast forward one month after the funeral, yet another tragedy strikes. Chelsea’s mother was awakened by the family dog in the middle of the night. Their house was on fire! They all escaped the fire, thanks only to the dog.

“If not for her, we would not be here today.”

Unfortunately, Chelsea’s dogs and cats died in the house fire. She still gets choked up and sad when she talks of this. Chelsea has a sweet spot in her heart for her animals, just as she does for everyone who is in her life. I often wonder how such kindness and love can come from a person who has endured such hardness and sadness in her life.

Chelsea recalls this time in her life:

“Now we were homeless. My grandma offered for us to live with her, but she only had a small two bedroom apartment. We couldn’t afford to pay for a place to live, so we had to divide the family. I lived with one aunt, my sister with another. My mom lived with my gram and my brothers lived with friends. We got to see each other on weekends. I hated living with my aunt.”

Do you remember how the kids at school would make fun of Chelsea for being overweight and ugly? She was also ridiculed at home. Her aunt would tell her she was fat and shouldn’t eat so much.

“I cried myself to sleep every night.”

Have you experienced an overcritical family member? Was/is your mother or grandmother constantly telling you to watch what you eat? Calling you fat or “heavy?” Ugh…I hate that word, “heavy!” “Warning” you about your “problem” area? Mothers and other female family members: please stop this. You are NOT doing your daughter a favor by being “honest.” You’re being a you-know-what. Period. By being overcritical of your daughter’s appearance, you are creating an insecure, paranoid, self-depreciating woman. Just please stop. Like Thumper told Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” What if, just WHAT IF, mothers started modeling themselves after the Proverbs 31 chick? Proverbs 31:26-27:

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

thumper can't say something nice

When Chelsea’s dad started coming around again, she was very suspicious of his motives. She thought he was coming around for money or something. For Easter, he brought them all presents, attempting to make up for not being there for them.

“I pretended I hated the presents, but at night I would sleep with the stuffed bunny he got me. I wished everything would be normal again.” 

Soon, Chelsea, her mother, siblings and father all moved into a new place together. Chelsea was still very leery of her father’s motives and what was going to happen. Her trust had been broken and she was still hurting from her father’s abandonment. During this time, Chelsea’s father tried mending fences with his children. He drove them to school every day. He turned a blind eye when Chelsea stole his cigarettes. He even allowed she and her friend to smoke because he didn’t want to tell her no and make her more angry with him.

One night, while Chelsea’s mother was at work, her dad called her in from playing outside. She says she looked at him, said “No,” and walked away. She didn’t have to listen to him! When she finally went inside, her dad yelled at her for disobeying him. Beside herself with anger, her true feelings came gushing out…

“When you left us, you gave up your parental right to me. You have no authority over me anymore. That hurt him and I knew it would.”

A few days later, Chelsea’s dad came to her room and they had a long talk. He spoke from his heart for the first time in a very long time. He sincerely apologized for not being the dad she needed and for not being there for her.

“That night, I was Daddy’s girl again. I was still a little hurt, but I was able to forgive him.”_67091638_hug2

Forgiveness. Have you tried it? It clears away the bitterness and sets you free. Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. It’s a decision you make. Who do you need to forgive today? Forgiveness is not for the person who has hurt you, it’s for you. I’ve even written an entire post about my experience with forgiveness. Click here to read it when you’re done with this post. You’ll be glad you did. And, here’s what the Word says:

Matthew 16:5 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”forgive1

Forgiveness is a pretty important thing. Just sayin.’ You better forgive…that is all.

As you continue reading about Chelsea’s life, you will see that forgiving her father was just one incident where forgiveness was needed. There are times in her life where she seeks forgiveness for herself, from others and even must ask for and receive forgiveness.

Tomorrow we will delve more deeply into Chelsea’s life. She’s growing older now and meets the man of her dreams. Another tragedy strikes her family, a baby is born, an affair, divorce, more abuse, and more loss. But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending! Keep reading and share with your friends! You don’t know who’s life will be touched by Chelsea’s!

If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

A Mommy’s Heartache

The words of my tween daughter pierce my heart like a knife.

“Mommy, why are my thighs bigger than all the other girls’ in my dance class?”

“Mommy, do you think I sing as good as my friend?”

“Mommy, why can’t I be funny like her?”  

Question after question.  Irrational insecurities.  Constant critical comparisons.

Her criticism hurts me.  Words that wound this mama’s heart.

You see, my daughter is perfect in my eyes.  She is beautiful, graceful, talented, kind, loving and absolutely perfect in every way.

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When she looks around and sees that she is not the same as everyone else, she imagines that something is wrong with her.  She listens to the lies whispered in her ear by the lips of the great deceiver.

I draw a picture for her with my words of how she has been deliberately and delicately designed by our Creator.  I explain how she alone can be Lily Marie.  She is the only one He made like her.

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But still, she is unsure and my sadness is a tangible aching in my own chest.  If only she could understand and see herself as I see her…

Just a moment though…

How often do I compare myself to other women?  Other wives?  Other mothers?  Other writers?

Daily and constantly.

Do I wound my Father’s heart when I am critical of myself?

Every time my daughter spews negative words about herself, God grabs my attention.

As I comfort and encourage my own daughter, His Words contradict the onslaught of lies from satan for both of His daughters.

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He sees me as perfectly crafted, created for a purpose.  There is no else like me on this earth.  Only I can do what He created me to do.  Only I can be Susie.

I cannot be Lisa or Kelly or Kim or Rachel…But I can be Susie.

God made no carbon copies…only carefully crafted creations.  

                                                                                       lilypointe                                                                                                                                                                                            

I am a carefully crafted creation.  My daughter is a carefully crafted creation. You are a carefully crafted creation.

Let’s be who God made us to be.  And praise Him for making us exactly how He intended.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  Psalm 139:14