In my recent Dear Mom post, I shared how my son challenged me to write a letter to my now deceased mother, and to God, sharing the thoughts, sentiments, and feelings I would share if she were still here for Mother’s Day. Through the simple letter I wrote to my mom, I found healing and hope through the transformative power of God’s love.
In my previous post, I shared about how holidays, including Mother’s Day, are not always smiles and Hallmark cards for everyone. Growing up, my relationship with my mother was not all I wished it to be, largely because of the depression she suffered with.
My heart is burdened for the many for whom Mother’s Day is not a happy day: those who have lost their mothers through illness, divorce, death, or estrangement; those who ache to be a mother but haven’t seen that dream come true yet; those who are mothers but have strained or estranged relationships with their children; those who are mothers but have lost their children to illness, death, or wandering; to those who have never known a mother’s love.
In my Dear Mom post, I challenged my readers to write a letter to their own mothers, not necessarily to ever be read, but to allow God to heal those dark places in our hearts that are set free when we bring them into the light.
Did you write a letter? If not, there is still time.
My “Dear Mom” letter
Here’s a glimpse of part of the letter I wrote.
I miss you very much. I miss the sound of your voice. I miss the touch of your hand. I miss your smile and your knowing nod. I miss how you used to wrap a present but within that present was always wrapped another smaller gift or two. I miss your homemade gift tags and your painted treasures. I miss seeing how you would have been with your grandchildren.
We weren’t very close while I was growing up. As an adult, and now a mother myself, I can look back and see the pain you were in.
No one ever really knew how hard it was for you to leave your family and start over in another country, where you felt insecure, different, and unaccepted. I’m so sorry you didn’t truly know who you were in Christ, and fell prey to the enemy of your soul who wanted you to always believe that you were “less than.” God loved you as his daughter – a daughter of the most high God.
You put on a smile, but behind the glass veneer that both kept others distanced from your pain and kept you from receiving their love, acceptance, and comfort, no one knew you suffered with the heaviness and oppression of depression. I have experienced that pain, and I now understand how hard it was for you to keep putting one step in front of another. I understand how alone and weary you felt.
But Mom, if you were here now, I’d tell you that that wasn’t really you. That was the work of an enemy who seeks to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our identity in Him. I would lovingly hold your hand and share with you that despite the enemy’s mission in our lives, neither the enemy nor depression can dictate your destiny, determine your worth, or separate you from the Love of God.
If you were still here today, I’d give you a long hug, I’d hold your hands, and I would look into your eyes, and I would tell you that I love you, and I forgive you.
I forgive you, Mom, for not being able to love in the way I know you wanted to love. We cannot give what we do not have, and you listened and believed the lies of the enemy who told you that you weren’t worthy of love, which kept you from fully receiving and accepting the Heavenly Father’s love.
I forgive you, Mom, for not teaching me who I am in Christ. You didn’t fully know that either. But I am thankful for the exposure and the foundation that you DID give me, which led me to receive Christ as my personal savior. That, Mom, has been a life changer. And while I have many things yet to learn, He has given me an abundance of His mercy and grace while I’m learning.
I forgive you, Mom, for leaving this life too early before your grandchildren could know how special their Nana was. We all miss you, but I will do my best to be the kind of mother I know you’d be proud of.
Thank you, Mom, for being bold and courageous in moving to the United States and marrying my father. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here penning these words.
Thank you, Mom, for accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, and raising me in a home that taught about His love and sacrifice for me.
Thank you, Mom, for being brave and finally accepting treatment for your depression, so that before you died, I would have the pleasure of getting to know the you that God created you to be. It’s my passion to provide help and hope for others in similar circumstances.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me that life is short, relationships matter, and that I will never look back and think I spent too much time with my family and not enough time at work.
At Mother’s Day, I rejoice that you are dancing on streets of gold with my father, and with Jesus. Make sure you tell them to save a dance for me. It’s my prayer, Mom, that you know that I have forgiven you completely, I love you, and I’m so thankful for you.
With love and gratitude,
God’s promise in Isaiah 61
You may have had a very painful relationship with your mother, or your children. You may have deep longings that have gone unfulfilled. Family relationships just like our words, hold the potential of bringing us great joy, but sometimes bring great heartache. No matter where you are today, God’s love for you is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3) and Jesus promised that He will come to us and not leave us as orphans without a parent (John 14:18).
He has promised to:
Bind up the brokenhearted
Proclaim freedom for the captives
Release prisoners from darkness
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve
Give us a crown of beauty for our ashes
Give the oil of joy for our mourning
Give a garment of praise for our despair
Give a double portion in exchange for our shame
Let us rejoice in our inheritance instead of disgrace
Allow us to inherit a double portion in our land
Provide everlasting joy
What do you need Him to do for you today? Will you let him?
Even in times of crisis, every day can be a good day when you trust the promises of God.
Today is Going to be a Good Day
My newest book, Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right is now available!
This uplifting devotional helps you make each day a good day no matter what is going on in your life.
When life conspires to drag us down with all of its troubles, it can be hard to keep our spirits up. In times of severe illness and depression, I learned that when I stand on God’s promises, despite my circumstances, every day can be a good day.
Each reading includes Scripture, reflection, prayer, and a recommended playlist song designed to help you live out Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
For more information on the book visit: Today is Going to be a Good Day Book.
It’s also currently ON SALE when you purchase through Baker Publishing. For a limited time, get 1-19 copies for 30% off here – Today is Going to be a Good Day On Sale! They have special pricing available for purchases of 20+ copies for small groups.
I am following you from Still Saturday. Lovely post – a hard one too. Writing our prayers is a wonderful way to get rid of hurts and let God heal us. I would love you to link to Sunday Stillness. http://www.janiscox.com
I’m so glad you stopped by Janis. I’d be honored. Little did I know when I wrote this recently that my spiritual mother would be taken home to the Lord the day before Mother’s Day as well. It most certainly is a hard day for many. Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
Beautiful letter to your mom, Michelle. I believe she would be so very proud of you and that one day in heaven you’ll get to have that conversation face to face. I love you Panda Sister…
Thank you sweet Panda Sister. As you know, forgiveness isn’t so much for the other person as it is for us…it releases the bitterness and resentment from our hearts and releases them to God. Little did I know when I wrote this that Mother’s Day would be sad for an entirely different reason as we mourn the loss of our dear “Mama Margie.” Let this be a reminder to us never to take our loved ones for granted and to say what needs to be said while we still have them here. I Love you Panda Sister!
Thank you for sharing your beautifully written letter to your mom. I’ve realized, as I read your letter, I need to write a letter to my mom. There is much to say.
Oh what an emotional and gracious letter Michelle. Just beautiful and so full of redeeming love and wisdom! I’m absolutely thrilled that your mom was saved and she was able to discover the child of God He dreamed her to be!
Depression holds so many people captive… I am inspired by your purpose and passion to help those who suffer and shine God’s Light in their darkness.
Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m grateful that my mother was a Christian, for that was fundamental in teaching me what it meant to forgive. You are so very right – depression holds so many captive. By 2020, it is predicted that depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide. I pray He will allow me to offer His help and hope to those in pain.
beautiful words from the heart. I can relate to much of what you said, bless you now as you grieve a good ‘friends’ passing.
Thank you Sharon! Yes, little did I know when I wrote this that I would be grieving the loss of one of my biggest cheerleaders and a spiritual mentor in my life.
Lovely and compassionate words that I pray are bringing hope to many who are reading.
Thank you Kym, as that is my prayer as well. Blessings to you this day!
Thank you for these sweet words. I can identify with what you are saying. Praise the Lord that He knows mothers when we do not and provides what we need even when it isn’t “traditional.” Thankful for those who are moms even though they never had one and for those who mother far beyond their own kids. Thanks for writing and sharing your heart. Love from a LifeGivingLinkup sister!
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement mbethany! He has definitely provided for me in nontraditional ways. Just this weekend my “spiritual mother” went home to be with the Lord-she most certainly mothered beyond her own kids. I pray I will do that for others. Because in Him, Hope Prevails!
Such a sweet and moving letter to your mom! My mom has been gone for over three years – I loved her dearly… and she was so close to not just me but my two beautiful daughters who miss her dearly, too. The days leading up to Mother’s Day are difficult – I am glad you shared this post – very touching.
Oh Sweet Clare, I’m so sorry you haven’t had your mother with you for the last several Mother’s Days, but I am so very glad to hear that you have good memories of your time together. Just this weekend I lost my “spiritual mother,” and losing our mothers most definitely can leave a void. But He can heal the brokenness if we will bring Him all the broken pieces. He promises to be near the brokenhearted. I’m counting on that not just for me today, but for you as well. Hope Prevails!
I especially love your “thank you’s” to your mum. Thanksgiving is such a healing thing, and it demonstrates the depth of your forgiveness. Thank you for this heart-wrenching post, read today at Blessed (But Stressed).
Thank you for your kind words Michele. I find that when we can keep an attitude of gratitude, it keeps our hearts softer and more able to forgive. I’m so blessed you stopped by. I hope to see you hear again soon! Hope Prevails.
I’m so glad that your mother received treatment and you were able to see a glimpse of the real her that God created her to be! My daughter is struggling with the things she did when she was not herself (during an episode of undiagnosed mania). It’s quite the conundrum when one recognizes that one was not oneself but still feels guilt for the things one did.
Oh Anita, yes, how painful that can be. But regardless of what your daughter did, you as her mother can lovingly remind her that the guilt she feels neither comes from God or from her, but from the voice of the enemy who loves to heap guilt and shame on us so deep that we can hardly breathe. But we know the truth: There is now, therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I pray that your daughter will be able to forgive herself and receive the forgiveness Christ has already paid for. Hugs, friend!
Michelle, thank you for sharing your beautiful letter to your mom with us. It really helps us in the healing process to write down words our heart, doesn’t it? Mother’s Day is such a hard day for so many women. I am thankful for God’s love, forgiveness and grace that reaches out to all.
Oh Yes, Barbie, I’m thankful for God’s love, forgiveness and grace too. It is because He first loved and forgave us that we can and must do the same for others. I pray this encourages others to do so as well. Blessings to you!
What a sweet, beautiful tribute letter to your mom.
Thanks Amy. It’s a letter I wish she was here to read. It’s a testimony of the healing God can do in willing hearts.
This is wonderful, and so healing. Thank you for sharing your relationship with your mother so honestly. We have a picture in our minds of how it should be, but then there is the reality, but your story is such a powerful example of how anyone and any relationship can be transformed by grace.
Thank you for your kind, encouraging comments Elizabeth! Sometimes it’s not easy sharing the messy, “not so pretty” sides of our lives but truly God did a work in my mother and in my heart – He deserves all the glory. Then it is by “the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony” that others are encouraged. If my posts help, encourage, and offer hope to others, it’s all worth it. Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to encourage! I hope to see you again sometime. Hope Prevails!
This is so beautiful. Mom was a Christian but so much pain and sorrow and loneliness marked her life. I see it in myself but I’m blessed to have a greater awareness of this and a strong support group.
Gina, I’m sorry for your mother, and for you. For many years I thought that pain, sorrow, and loneliness that I saw reflected in my mother was normal, until I realized how much Christ desires for us to live the abundant life He came to offer. It’s been a slow healing journey, but with it. I’m so glad you have a strong support group. I hope they continually bring you back to the Truth despite what your feelings may try to tell you. I’ll be praying for you, Dear One!!
Following from #TellHisStory. Great post for those who struggle with Mother’s Day. I’m so very thankful for my mom and realize not everyone has what I have. My husband is one of those.
I’m thrilled you have a good relationship with your mom. You’re right-many don’t. I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day!
Oh Dr. Michelle, what an incredible follow-up from last weeks post! I greatly admire your sweet spirit and the love and concern you have for others. You are truly living out your faith and the love you have for the Lord is flowing onto others.
Thank you for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Enjoy your evening!
Sweet Stephanie, your words bless me. I pray the words He gives me will bless others and draw them to Him. Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
My mother, too, struggled with depression, along with other aspects of mental illness, but she finally started getting help when I was in high school. It’s been a long road to recovery, but like you, I am grateful that I am getting to know her for who she is outside of the depression. We serve a mighty God that can heal big things.
Oh yes, Jennifer, and how grateful I am that God can heal big things! Don’t we all have our own “big things” that need His special touch? I’m so glad you’re getting to see your mother as God created her.
Beautiful! I’m so glad I got to read Parts 1 and 2. Thank you…very healing. I appreciate you including part of your letter and modeling to us how to have that hope and love. Blessings to you for courage to speak to the broken places out there in all of us. Blessings from “Espressos of Faith”!
I’m delighted you returned Bonnie Lyn! He promises to give us beauty for ashes, but we have to be willing to let go of the ashes. Because of Him, Hope Prevails! I hope you’ll stop by again sometime.
I, too, have a hard time on Mother’s Day. Thank you for your blogs of comfort. And thanks for linking them up at MeetUp Monday – hope to see you again next week!
Thanks for stopping by Amanda! I’m so glad you find the posts comforting. It’s always my desire to foster hope. Because in Him, Hope Prevails.
Such a beautiful beautiful post! I know this will help SO many.
Thank you Kristen for your kind words. It’s my hope that it does help many.
This is a beautiful letter. Thank you so much for sharing. May it help many who ache in their heart after their Mother.
Thank you for your sweet words Sherry. I hope my testimony will help others no matter what their relationship is like with their mothers or children. Hope Prevails!
What a beautiful post! There is much spiritual and emotional healing in this kind of activity. I was amazed at what this sort of thing did for my husband, after he wrote a letter to his father who’d passed away from cancer when hubby was 8 years old. Mother’s Day isn’t a big holiday around our house, so I always take the time to pray for those that it’s not a joyous time. This year was especially so for me; my great aunt, who was always like an extra grandma, passed away. Her mother is long since gone, of course, and her only son committed suicide when my dad was a kid. She hated Mother’s Day because she was a “child without a mother and a mother without a child.” This year, she spent her first Mother’s Day in heaven, with Jesus, and reunited with her family. Her best Mother’s Day in years! Sorry for the comment hijack… Thanks for sharing at Christian Fellowship Friday!
So thrilled to have you visit DaLynn. Makes me wish we could sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee together. It’s amazing how God can heal our brokenness when we give him all the pieces. Forgiveness is as much for ourselves as it is for the other, but we reap such great reward. What a blessing it is for you to think about and pray for those who do not find Mother’s Day to be a joyous time. You have a heart of compassion for sure! It is Because of Him that Hope Prevails!
That brings tears to my eyes! Many of the words you penned could be used in healing other relationships, too. God is so good to teach us these things, and to let us live long enough to learn them. The mother you now hold in your heart is always there for you now and nothing can ever take that from you. Love you so much!
I love this so much as I can relate with you since my mom also suffered with depression all of my childhood and really all of my time at home. She spent so much time in bed and in the house, not even getting out of her bed clothes many days. I didn’t know what was wrong but I took care of the children or we had servants who came to be with us during the day and did washing and ironing. It was much later in my early 20’s before I really knew what her problem was. I loved my mom but never was close. No intimate times of sharing with her that I ever remember. I haven’t ever written a letter to her. She passed away several years ago. Thank you for sharing this message!! It meant so much to me that you shared your story and our stories are so similar. I love and appreciate you Dr. Michelle!!
I love your letter to your mom. As I wrote above I can relate so much to your childhood with a mom suffering depression. I didn’t know either that is what was wrong but I just knew she wasn’t there for me as a mom. I had a few Nannies caring for me and my siblings and they were kind but it wasn’t the same. Today I desire to be the mom my children need as they navigate this stressful season and other seasons of life. To love and not be critical but pray without ceasing. I love and appreciate your transparency so much for I can feel your pain concerning your mom but I can also pray for you for peace.