Two Things I Learned From My Mother

Their cards line the mantel, and sweet memories of another Mother’s Day are now tucked within my heart.

I’m glad to be a their mother. Glad for every moment and memory we’ve gathered together through the years. My heart is crowded with love for them, and I thank God that it is.

But there’s another space in my heart where harder memories linger. Memories of my own mother and the tattered relationship we shared.

It’s been twenty-two years since I’ve seen her face, but every Mother’s Day brings her…us, full circle and I try to find a better way to make peace with what we had.

Oh how I wish things could have been different.

I wish she could have seen me through rose-tinted glasses.

I wish I could have found more favor in her heart, and less in the harshness of her hands.

I wish I had been more of what she expected.

But there’s no going back. There’s no more us to mend. And there’s no value in wishing for what might have been.

For me, there’s only learning. Learning what good can come from the bad, and finding a place for it here in the present.

And it’s here, in the present, where I’m reminded of the two most important things my mother taught me. Two things that have shaped me more than all the rest. Two things she may never have thought to teach me at all.

Mothers are powerful beings.

I never wanted my mother’s influence to ever have a claim on me. I wanted her actions and words to flow off my life the way rain runs free during a storm. And for the longest time, I believed I could make that happen.

Yet, as the years went by and I saw motherhood for myself, I knew her influence had left its mark.

We mothers, all leave a mark.

Scars of influence, if you will, where our words, and actions, and day-to-day living get etched upon our children. Some scars come from love. From repeated lessons on goodness, and grace, and hope.

And some scars come from unlovely times where fear, anger, and insecurity get the better of us.

The truth is, at times, we may feel powerless in motherhood, but we are never without power.

Motherhood means we have the power to inflict, love, declare, nurture, guide, command, compel, or propel our children – always.

To now know, and accept, the power my mother had over me, and that this power is now something I wield, changes how I see motherhood.

And that leads to my next point…

God gives us the ability to change what motherhood looks like.

Mothers are legacy-makers.

Our standards, and values, and actions, become part of a story that is read and re-read for generations. And each new mother, through each new generation, gets to author a part of the story.

What will you say? Will you stick with the current storyline, or is there something better to be said?

Do you dare to change the story?

I once asked my mother why she treated me the way she did. She said her mother treated her the same way, and it was all she knew.

I wish she could have been braver, but her story compelled me to change mine.

But how? How do you build a better legacy without a sufficient blueprint?

It has to do with love. Not loving our kids more, not trying to love our motherhood more, or ourselves more, or our past more.

It’s about loving God more.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us all we need to know on how to change what motherhood and our legacy looks like.

The first three verses tell us where to begin:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

It’s all about our love for God. Loving Him with everything we’ve have and then taking that love and putting it square on our heart.

When we begin here, God will take the insufficiency of our mothering, or our inherited legacy and make it MORE.

More like Him in every way.

I miss my mother. I wish…

No, no more wishing. My eyes are on God now.

8 Replies

  1. Elizabeth Winn

    Raye what a great blog! Thanks for sharing your heart and what God has taught you out of the hard place. I love you sweet friend!

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I love you too!

  2. Linda Ware

    I had a much different relationship with my mother. She has been gone now for 40 years, she was 59 when she died. She wasn’t a perfect mother. Who of us are? Now that I am 73 I find out that she was right about so many things. Her words come to me about so many things. Just simple things, like how to take care of your skin, how to eat healthy. It was because of her daily prayers for my salvation.along with that answer to her prayers my husband came to know the Lord and led our 3 kids to the Lord. Now we enjoy 3 Christian in law kids and 9 christian grandkids.
    I was able to thank her during her last year on earth for her faithful prayers. I was only 29 when she died and I think of her almost every day. Im so glad that I will see her again.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you for sharing your story Linda. What a blessing to know your mother prayed for you, and that she speaks into your life even now. And what an incredible God-filled legacy you have to carry on!

  3. Mary Gemmill

    Your post touched my heart as my experience of being mothered was much like yours.
    BUT…with God, I have mothered His way, and much joy has come from it.
    My kids have long been adults, but our relationships are precious and good.
    May you have great JOY in mothering God’s way.
    We are a generation of breaking old molds and creating new ones.
    Thanks be to God!
    Mary in New Zealand.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Mary, It’s so good to hear from you all the way from New Zealand!! It’s a testament to God’s power when we decide to change the story and mother His way. I’m so glad you were brave, and that God blessed you with joy in the process. May He continue to do so in the years to come. Thank you!!

  4. Lori Perez

    Raye I’m glad that God had different plans for your motherhood. I hear it in your devotionals every week what a good mother you were and you still are. The Lord truly works hard to make sure that hard times don’t repeat. Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you Lori, hope your Mother’s Day was wonderful too!

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