At the time this story was written- I only had four children and we were hosting a foreign exchange student. I had been, as I had always been, trying to love my mom in simple ways.
I spent several years trying to love her.
This is a story of just one of the failed attempts. There have been many. Since this story, our family has grown by two, and there have been many times when I’ve needed a mom.
It’s been almost a year now since my last attempt at loving her, we haven’t spoken since. And even though she lives right down the road. We never speak or see each other.
There finally came a point where I had to be honest with myself, “Maybe, she doesn’t want to be loved.” So I stopped inviting, stopped calling, stopped putting myself out there to be hurt. And she just never called or visited again.
This is a story from a few years back, but it encourages me still today-
I should have known better. After all, she had told me no thanks the first three times I asked. I should have known not to ask again.
But the yard looked so nice, and the flowers were in bloom. My green thumb, she told me I would one day have, had come and the fruit of it was bursting forth in beauty. I thought she’d be so proud.
We set the table nice, outside and put on a big pot of fresh coffee, expecting an evening of walking through the garden and around back to the bushes I wanted to cut down, asking her opinion.
I can’t recall when exactly I could tell it was going to get bad.
She was running late, the eggs were getting cold. Trying hard to keep omelets warm, knowing she hadn’t had one in years, nerves were began to start, and my fingers working quickly.
“Grandma’s here” Judah comes in to say. She’d never come in and say hello, oh no.
Time for dinner.
We all sit outside enjoying a meal, letting Grandma talk mostly, that way is best. Afterwards, I pour us both a cup of coffee– ready to sit and try this “chatting thing” I hear works for some moms and daughters. Then it hits her.
“Where are the plants I gave you last year?” she asks.
“Well, mom I told you I wasn’t really a ‘dig up plants’ kind of girl– you told me it was OK, you didn’t expect them back.”
“Yes”, she says… “But I gave you the pots to put them in last fall.”
“Well, mom I just didn’t get around to it and then the first frost came and they died, where was I going to put four big, dug up, elephant ear plants anyway?”
“Could you at least give me back my pots?” She says.
I reply, “Yes, In fact, they are already in the back of Daniel’s truck, I keep meaning to give them to you.”
I go get the pots.
“Where’s the big green one?” she asks.
“Actually” I say, “The kids accidentally broke it a while back.”
“WHAT? She says, Kati you should be more responsible.”
“I’m sorry, mom. I’m busy, I have five children I’m raising right now. They play. They break things.”
“Don’t give me that.” she says. “I raised four children.” (I came along so late that I was raised all alone though)
I said, “I’m sorry mom, I’m just not as good of a mom as you.”
She says, “Oh no, you just have don’t any discipline in your home.“
She goes on to tell me about how she had just spend $2.50 on that new green pot from wal-mart last year and never got to use it. Tearing me down with little sarcasms. All the while, I’m sitting there, quiet. Thinking,
do you even know me?
The one — the only one of your children — who remembers holidays and birthdays, the only one whose presents sit under your tree at Christmas. The only one who calls, who checks, who seems to care?
The only one who invites you to dinner.
The only one who says, “I love you” to you.
Do you even know me? Really? $2.50, that’s your breaking point? That’s where grace ends and bitterness begins? I’ve never broken anything you’ve given me. It’s not some crazy bad habit I have.
Finally, I say: “OK, mom, I need to hear something nice from you, please.”
She laughs at me and says, “Well, the eggs were good.”
The eggs? The cold eggs were good? That’s all you can say, I thought?
“Oh, my” I said, “I can’t take anymore.” and I left silently crying.
With the front door open, I could her her laugh, “Well, party’s over… your mom’s upset. Daniel, I guess I made your wife mad.”
I just sat. Sat there on my bed and cried.
Returning outside, seeing my little family playing in the yard. My mom gone. I just sat there, watching them; letting her coffee just sit there. In fact that cup sat there all night.
That cold cup of coffee–representing her cold, mean heart.
I suppose it starts now, doesn’t it? As much as I’m not like my mom, in some ways I am. Tell me, how much do you think that spilled glass of milk cost? I bet it’s less than $2.50. How about that muddy foot? How much does that cleaner set me back?
Are those the moments where my grace ends and bitterness begins?
You see, It’s not about the money. Anyone would agree treating me like a piece trash over a $2.50 pot from a department store is crazy. It’s more than the money, deep down it’s all about the relationship.
It’s not about the math homework, or the broken picture frame. It’s not about the chore done wrong, or the tattle tale told once again. It’s about the relationship.
Grace must cover all things, both big and small, for there to be relationship.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3: 12-14 NIV
Playing a game with my Alli a few weeks back at a bridal shower the question was asked, “What is some advise you would give the mother of the bride?”
Alli, in her girlish way, just wrote a simple question.
|When I get married, will you help me with my situations?|
My heart swelled and I breathed deep.
I will help you with all of your situations.
I will know you.
Because my Jesus is so good and He makes all things new — I will stumble often, but by His grace, I will stand tall, dust off my knees, and try again.
It’s all about the beauty of being made new, friends.
It’s all about getting up and trying again.
Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:
Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!
Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.
Today’s simple love: Don’t let the ‘small stuff’ make you a monster.
May our grace build relationship today as we breathe deep before choosing hurting those around us.
I am right there with you,
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