This is a continuation of a new series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. I sent out the call for stories that answered either ‘what is one lesson God has taught you?’ or ‘what is one way God has healed you?’ through their hard marriages, their separations, their divorces, their single mothering seasons, their forays into dating post-divorce, or even their remarriages. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.
Psalm 118:24 ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it’ (or could be translated in HIM)
UK Mothering (or Refreshment) Sunday midway through Lent dawns – a glorious Spring morning. Why do I loathe Mother’s Day? It brings up stuff! Having survived a 22-year difficult marriage, though I have remarried very happily, I don’t feel I was a very good mother; I certainly was NOT a good daughter. I covered up my cracked marriage, shutting down emotionally. My friendships were shallow, my mothering strained, and WORSE I felt unable to share with my mother or anyone else lest the secret come out. I wonder now, was I concerned about the humiliation of disclosure?
My husband admitted two years in, after a disastrous visit from his sister, that he was afraid she would reveal that he had a homosexual relationship in his teens. I was shocked. I had met and fallen in love with a man whom I knew had difficulty receiving love. I began to pray fervently for him that God would show His sacrificial and unconditional love. I did not expect to end up sacrificing myself, trying to change someone who later admitted he had no feelings for me, was just trying to cover up and hoping ‘it’ would go away. He hated physical affection – ‘don’t touch what you can’t afford’. We finally had two children. I hoped this would prove that he was a manly man, that fatherhood would make him blossom. Instead it felt that we were constantly skating on thin ice, him leading God knew where at a frantic speed, while I held hands with two children and lugged on my back a massive sled of our family life. Suddenly he disappeared (Services overseas patrols), life would calm, I would head to safer areas and then – he would return.
All this was ridiculously hidden under layers of ‘plaster over the cracks’. He was a Christian leader – we must have seemed like the Brady bunch, helping others in difficult marriages, but being unwilling to talk about our own struggle. At home I was losing myself. I will forever feel guilt that I did not share this with my mother. I know she resented my distance and no wonder she took it out on me when I visited or called (eventually).
I hate Mother’s Day because I grit my teeth knowing that I will get a sorry IMessage from my son in Canada ‘happy you day… sorry – forgot without the barrage of TV ads’. My daughter tries too hard, sends a lovely cushion with pictures of them both, and posts a nice pic on FB ‘This woman has had to put up with a lot over the years but she’s always smiling. Happy Mother’s Day Xxx love you xx’ that bizarrely makes me feel even more guilty.
I look back at the Psalm. I must stop feeling sad and sorry for past mistakes and failings. To love my husband unconditionally meant eventually letting him go to be himself. I was blessed and later met a man who is affectionate and loving, cares for my kids (the other father!) and me, and I had another go at mothering his two. Every day I am reminded to stop trying to plaster over the cracks and let God’s love in Christ shine through the holes. This Mother’s Day and every day is a day that our loving Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in HIM.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/elisabethkleinfisher.
If in a difficult marriage:
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom:
Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store
Thanks for your honesty. I think we all struggle to a greater or lesser degree with “measuring up”. I’m feeling like a bad daughter today towards my mother who has dementia & I find myself losing patience with her & saying what I shouldn’t have. Thank God for his grace & forgiveness. It is good to hear you have found happiness in your second marriage. God bless you.