Editor’s note: Pink carnations, golden eucalyptus, bright tulips… The bouquets dedicated to mothers represent the thousands of words in our hearts: warm blessings, faint regrets, and ardent hopes. Ultimately, what we need to learn is the lesson of love.
I am a person who values relationships and family. I always hope home is a place of love and the relationships within my family are intimate and warm. There is one particular relationship in my life that I’ve always hoped to mend, moving toward intimacy. This is my relationship with my mother.
When I was a kid, I grew up with my grandmother, who was amiable and someone I always depended on. Mom was always busy at work, and she was a strong mom that made me feel like she was inaccessible. At that time, I felt that my mother and I were totally different inside and out. She would never understand why I was crying, while I could never understand her inner thoughts and feelings. She was in good health and never got sick, while my body was weak and often caught colds. Whenever I was sick, not only could I not find a shoulder to cry on, but I also could not find comfort from my mom. Instead, I would hear words that hurt my heart, “I don’t understand why you always catch a cold.” This is my mother, a person with a completely different personality from me, but God has made us become mother and daughter, and has let us learn the lesson of love through pushing and pulling each other. It has not been easy, but I have worked hard, and am still working on it.
After getting married, I finally had someone I could really relate to, which made me feel blessed. Later we immigrated, and I accepted Christ. Because of the love of the Lord Jesus, I could let go of the heavy burdens of the past. I started trying to get to know my mother, and found out that she was also someone who wanted to be loved. She rarely peeped into her own heart, and as a result, she didn’t know what she needed. She worked hard and served her family, thinking this was love. However, she didn’t realize that what we truly needed was her affirmative words and precious time from her to accompany us. She seldom gave my sister and I any words of encouragement. Her principle was, “no criticism is already praise.” Because of this, no matter how hard I worked, I, who was already very good in the eyes of others, still felt sad and inadequate in my heart, thinking that I would never meet up to my mother’s expectations. I rarely laughed out loud, needless to say laughing from my heart. When I was growing up, I often lived cautiously.
During the study of “Cherishing Your Relationships” in the Presence Life Planning Curriculum, I started to realize that the contradiction in my relationship with my mother was because our love language did not match. When I was sad, what I looked for was a mother who would give me a hug, say words of encouragement and affirmation, and a mother who was willing to take the time to listen to my sharing. My mother, on the other hand, was a person who only focused on actions, cooking and doing laundry for her family. Because of this difference, I received no comfort when I was in pain, and my uncomforted heart gradually became bitter and started to defend myself by saying things that made her sad. We pushed each other away, further and further.
My greatest wish is that my mother can finally meet the Lord. With the Lord in our lives, our relationship will never be the same. I believe if she has the Lord and the Lord’s comfort in her heart, where I can’t get into, the Lord can step in and heal her pain. I pray that the Lord will also continue to renew me and get me out of the victim mentality so that I have the ability to embrace our differences with a willing heart, instead of hurting each other. Meanwhile, we must learn to find a way to communicate in the midst of this difference, no longer insisting on our own “truth”, but being willing to let go of ourselves for the benefit of the other.
Afterword: About half a year after I wrote this article, my mother got baptized in the name of the Lord. This is truly God’s grace.
Editor’s note: The author expressed the heartfelt voice of many people: No matter how old we are, we, like children, all yearn to be close to our mothers. While mothers in the older generation suffered through hardships and did not understand the need to express love, ours is more sensitive and more eager for emotional connection. Thank you Lord, in Christ everything is new! It’s such a delight to see her mother being baptized. Now both mother and daughter love God and love each other with one heart.
(The author is a participant of the Presence Life Planning Curriculum Certification Course. The article is part of her reflection during the study. Author retains copyright and grants Presence and Presence Hong Kong the right of publication.)
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