by Guest Writer Mrs. Ryan
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment
with promise;) That it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
My mother passed away two years ago. Getting older and having my own children has given me a different perspective on the relationship I had with my mother. I would like to share some thoughts on my heart with you.
To be honest, my relationship with my mother was often strained. As I look back on our almost 50 years of a mother-daughter relationship, there are many things that I am glad of, but I have regrets, too. I want to share these with you and perhaps you will be spared of some regrets after your own mother passes.
Moms are people, too. I suppose I had very high expectations of my mom as a girl. I expected her to know everything and make no mistakes. But Mom was human. Mom had her own struggles and hurts and challenges. It was easy to focus on my needs and not consider hers. My mom didn’t complain about her challenges. One of her difficulties was arthritis. I remember her taking the stairs slowly, one at a time, because of pain. I know I probably complained when she asked for help, so she didn’t ask much. I was a pretty compliant child and did what I was told. But I didn’t go above and beyond what was asked or expected of me. I wish I had run up and down those steps for her and sought to make her life easier.
God choses our parents for us. Growing up, I had no concept of God having chosen my parents for me. Imperfect as they were, my parents were God’s vehicle for my growing up years. I wish I had been grateful for His Providence for me.
Tell your mom “I love you.” After I had a couple of children, I remember telling a friend of mine that my parents never said “I love you,” to me. She put it right back in my court. “Do you tell them?” And I had to admit, “No, I did not.” I was convicted then and there. After that, I made a point of telling my parents, “I love you,” at the end of phone conversations. At first they didn’t say it back. But over time, they were able to tell me they loved me. I am glad to have no regrets about that. After Mom died, at times I wish I could tell her again that I loved her.
By the grace of God, I do not live with “only regrets” in my role as a daughter. There are things in my life that I am glad I persevered in, even when they were hard.
Mom developed Alzheimer’s Disease at the end of her life. It is a slow, sad disease. Mom had always been so very strong in mind. It was hard for her. The time came that Mom basically stopped speaking except for an occasional “No.” In the last couple of years of her life, when I took a couple of children to visit with her, we would take instruments and hymnals. Dad liked the old Gospel hymns. We would sing and the kids would play their instruments. One visit, my son observed that mom smiled during the singing. Mom didn’t smile much otherwise. When it seemed that Mom’s time was to be measured in hours, I drove the 7 hours to be with her and Dad and my siblings. Mom lasted two weeks more, however. And I was able to stay and spend time with my parents with my two siblings. It was a quiet time but a very special one. I had opportunity to read the Bible to Mom, sing hymns with Dad at Mom’s bedside and serve in little ways. The only word Mom ever said was, “No.” But I asked Mom if she knew that Jesus loved her and she said “Yes.” I asked Mom if she knew He had died for her sins and she said, “Yes.” I have reason to hope that Mom did know Jesus in the end. Those last two weeks of her life were the best I ever had with Mom. God restored the years that the locust had eaten.
So, dear girls, I challenge you, as a mother looking back over my own relationship with my mother: seek to live with no regrets in your relationship with your mother. Love her. Forgive her. Invest in your relationship with her. Look for ways to lighten her load. Pray for her. Be Jesus’ hands and feet to her.
As a mother myself, I know how imperfect mothers are. I know how many times I fail God, my children, and others. And God forgives me, loves me, gives grace, and shows mercy. And that is what He wants me to do for others. I wish I had had more grace for my mother; I wish I had sought to understand her better when I was younger.
You have that opportunity today, to show your mother honor and respect and love. Do that with joy, and have no regrets!
This guest post was written by Mrs. Ryan who has been blessed with 26 years of marriage and 9 children. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.
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