“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed . . . .” Proverbs 31:25-28a
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of listening over teacups. I would never call myself a “counselor” because that would be presumptuous. God is the Counselor. I listen, pray, and ache inside over heart-rending histories of mothers who have been hurt by their children.
When we mothers love our children, devote many years of our life to them, and do our best to nurture and guide them, someday these children will arise and call us blessed—at least many of them will.
But when it comes to sharing the happier memories, some children may choose to remain seated! For every given number of adult children who actually sing the praises of their mother, there can be one who simply will not.
For all the years when that mother gently stroked her young child’s head and dried her tears with comforting words, a daughter may only refer back to those times when Mother “yelled”. (Firm speech on the part of a parent is normally interpreted by the child as “yelling”.)
For all the times when mother and child enjoyed each other’s company and lived “in sync”, some adult children will only focus on times of disagreement and/or conflict—reiterating those occasions when the parent had to maintain a firm position of “NO, for the edification of the child (or to preserve the parent’s sanity)!
Integral in the ongoing drama of mother and child is the word “CHILD”. The “children” who arise up and call their mother “blessed” are really no longer children. They have matured. Life has finally “happened” to them, and they understand that our time on earth is rarely “easy”. They realize that their parents’ lives were not always easy—and perhaps very hard in terms of difficult relationships or circumstances.
Mature sons and daughters have thought deeply and sensitively enough to know that no human on earth is ever perfect. Mature sons and daughters realize that they themselves are not even perfect, although it served their egos as immature youngsters to fantasize that their mothers were being terribly unfair—when those moms were simply doing their job to the best of their human ability amid the myriad, ongoing stresses of parenting!
Thus, I listen over teacups—grieving for the mothers who hurt, and identifying with them in their sorrow. I try to encourage those who hurt, by assuring them that they are not alone. God understands their pain, and so do I—from my own experience as a mom!
Over teacups, I share my belief that mothers may always feel more pain than anyone else on earth. Why? Because mothers are the NUMBER ONE SAFE TARGET. No matter what a child does, says, or carelessly flings at his or her mother, THE MOTHER WILL ALWAYS BE THE MOTHER!
A mother will weep in private and sometimes raise her voice publically in desperation, protest, or anger. She may even melt down. Yet, assuming she loves her children as most of us do, a mother will never defect!
Over teacups, I remind hurting mothers that those of us “in Christ” are literally indwelt by the LIVING LORD! II Corinthians 4:10 declares that “. . . we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body.”
When we belong to the Lord, we mothers are vessels for His dying and His life. He is our Strength and Dignity. We can laugh at the days to come!
Margaret L. Been—All Rights Reserved