In last week’s post, [Dear Mom-Part 1] we talked about how holidays, including Mother’s Day, are not always smiles and Hallmark cards for everyone. I shared that growing up, my relationship with my mother was not all I wished it to be, largely because of the depression she suffered with.
On Mother’s Day, my heart is burdened for the many for whom this 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.
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 on this Mother’s Day. 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.
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.
On this 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,
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?
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.