Dream: I was at some large social gathering, a dinner party I think, when my mother came flouncing up to me, wearing cat’s eye glasses that perfectly captured her attitude. She told me, in a whiny/demanding voice, “If you don’t take me home right now, I won’t believe in God!” In the dream I said, “What would it take for you to believe in God, Mom?” And she said, “If you would love me!” (More to come on believing in God in next post!)I hoped and prayed for my mother to come to faith, and had tried several unsuccessful overtures to tell her about my relationship with Jesus. So this dream from the Lord about just loving her was very revealing, but also very challenging – she was not an easy person to love!
In my early years walking with the Lord, I spent a lot of time working through painful memories and traumas related my mother. As I brought my list of grievances against her to the Lord, He gave me His complete understanding and great compassion. He knows it all – every incident, every traumatic detail, every wound our hearts have suffered. After I had poured out my pain and outrage about a particular memory to him, sometimes over weeks, I would feel His love and comfort healing my heart. I would be able to forgive and release my offense. Then I would take the memory and run it through an imaginary shredder, destroying the painful images related to that memory. Sounds crazy, but it worked!
But Jesus didn’t just let me stay focused on my own pain and offense forever. After a time of pouring out His healing and comfort, He began to remind me of my part in the whole equation. Oh oh! I’d forgotten, but I really was a teenage daughter from Hell – rebellious, stubborn, deceitful. (At one point, my Mom told me “I hope you have a daughter someday that causes you this much trouble!”) This step of recognizing and acknowledging my own sinful actions and attitudes was such a significant part of my healing.
However, I was still stuck in the “defense mode” that had been my lifelong pattern to deal with my Mom, trying never to reveal anything personal or intimate that could be used against me. (With my Mom, the Miranda warning was always in effect – everything I said could and would be used against me!). Her unfailingly critical words would cause my internal walls to come up as I tried to shut them (and her) out.
But then I heard from Jesus that I needed to stop relying on my own defenses and let Him be my defender – terrifying! It took some time for me to work through my fear and begin to trust Him with my heart. I remember so clearly the first time I allowed myself to be vulnerable with my Mom. I was on the phone with her and just started crying after some particularly hurtful criticism. My mother seemed shocked, saying she didn’t know she had hurt me!
Then something really miraculous happened on one of my periodic visits to see my mother. We were standing in a hallway, and as she came towards me I suddenly felt the Lord’s unconditional love for her in my heart, and she was instantly able to experience that love and respond to it! We hugged with the true love and affection that I had been missing my whole life!
Note: The Lord works in deeply personal ways to bring healing and restoration into each our lives, so each of us has our own unique story to tell of His love.