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a butterfly on flowers

(Photo: C. Lawton)

When the contributing authors of Journeys to Mother Love were asked to write posts for this blog, I was thrilled. I had been blogging for a year and felt comfortable with the format. I was finding my voice and believed that God was giving me a story to share and point people to Him. But when it comes to writing about motherly themes for this blog, I feel somewhat lost and unequipped.

Less than two years now since my mother passed, the healing of my mother-wound is still somewhat fresh. I speak openly about what happened in the process, but I am still grieving the loss incurred by the fact that I didn’t really have a mother all the years that she was living. The mothering I didn’t get has had a profound effect on who I am today.

As described in my story, “Walking My Mother Home,” tremendous healing came as the Lord led me to minister to my mother in her final years of life. While I feel more spiritually alive and emotionally whole, I know there are still parts of me that are small, that missed having a mother’s love. It opens up from time and time like a gaping hole in my heart. Thankfully those moments are becoming few and far between, and I tend to recover more quickly.

Before my mother’s stroke in July 2009, I didn’t give her much thought. We weren’t completely estranged, but I really didn’t feel like I had a  mother. Since my mother was schizophrenic virtually all my life, I have no idea what went on in her mind, but I imagine she was sane enough to long for a loving daughter. In God’s infinite mercy and wisdom, that is what He gave her in the last eighteen months of her life. I didn’t know what I had missed, not having a mother-daughter relationship, until God gave me the joy of loving and caring for her.

Years ago when she gave birth to her only daughter, she couldn’t have fathomed the painful years that were ahead. Her life seemed normal. I am sure she had dreams for me and my brothers. Somewhere along the line she let go of those dreams and replaced them with fantasies fed by her mental illness.

Today, though, my mother is happily smiling at me from across my desk where I keep a photo of her, and from heaven above, with motherly pride for the woman that is now emerging from her cocoon like the butterfly that graces the cover of Journeys to Mother Love. I am like that butterfly, transformed from a shy little girl unsure of her own fate and sanity, into a woman who is more confident and free to be all that God is calling me to be. I’m even finding my own voice!

~ Ardis A. Nelson