As a kid, it was embarrassing to say that I am a product of separated parents. What made it more awkward was to share that it was Mom who left us…
You must be asking, “How can a mother abandon her family?”, “How can a father take care of his kids without their mother?”, “Why? What happened?”. As I walk you through my story, I pray that you’ll learn a lesson and gain wisdom from this personal experience.
My parents are good-natured, well-mannered, generous, and charming individuals. Aside from their brilliance, Mom always motivated us to be excellent both in academics and life. Dad was always kindhearted, as well as mom, but Dad was not as equally strong-willed as Mom.
When Mom left, Dad raised us alone. I know it was hard for him to take care of our needs, to look after us when we’re sick, to attend PTA meetings alone, and be the Mom he could ever be. He did other jobs and side businesses to provide for us. Yet again, I never heard him complain or badmouth Mom. Even so when he learned that she had her new family and kids to look after.
We grew up without her guidance yet God was so gracious for sending Aunts and other Moms who loved and cared for us. Do not get me wrong, my Mom, though faraway tried her best to communicate with us, but I reckon that her presence would have made a huge difference.
Growing up, I vividly remember a few I-need-you-Mom encounters. In primary school, my friends’ mothers did my makeup for every presentation. They fed and looked after me. I will never forget their compassion.
In middle school, my friends’ mothers, again, invited me over their place for a sumptuous meal as they picked their kids up from school. How wonderful it was to have these Moms around! My Dad, on the other hand, took over Mom’s responsibility. He did his best to juggle everything. Though it was awkward for him, he embraced this big change for our family. So even at a young age, I made sure he would be on stage as a proud father every recognition and graduation day. No amount of wealth can ever fill a father’s heart.
Every time I heard other parents or teachers say, “We pity her because her Mom is not here”, “She doesn’t have a Mom because…” As a child, this hurt me even up to this day. There were times I wish Mom was there to support me in every school competition, to do my hair and makeup, to find the best dressmaker in town, and to be the best Mother she could be. Yes, I did resent my Mom. Who wouldn’t?
I only met her a number of times at special family occasions in the past. More than 10 years had gone by from the time she left. Though we were estranged, we tried harder to look for her, but she couldn’t be found. Deep in our hearts, she was still our mother. I believe in God’s timing under heaven. Guess what, we found her! Then a long gruelling process of repentance, healing, reconciliation and restitution began.
The first and hardest thing to bestow anyone is the intentional genuine FORGIVENESS and the commitment to stand by it no matter what. This sounded easy, but no. When Mom left, our lives have been changed forever yet we didn’t cut her off. We had repetitive resentments, deep wounds, and severe heartaches as a family and it was only through God’s grace and mercy that we were able to rekindle our relationship.
Asking brave questions to get honest responses is essential in improving family relationships. So, I asked my Mom: “Did you ever think or worry about us?”, “Did you ever regret leaving us?” and she responded sincerely in tears. She cried, “I was wrong and guilty. Please forgive me…” My heart raced. I felt her. Isn’t that the exact statement I’ve been wanting to hear all my life? My heart chose to forgive and extend compassion because I was certain she loved us and had made wrong decisions in life. I am certain Mom went through extremely difficult circumstances all those years. It took years to be fully healed from the past but from that time on, we walked forward together as a family.
In my relationship with Mom, I’ve learned the following:
- Draw near to God in every situation and storm in life. He will be there to walk with you every step of the way.
- Healing starts when you decide to intentionally forgive. It is difficult to bestow forgiveness when we do not understand the depth of our own depravity and the redemption of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at the cross for us. Without Christ in my heart, I know that we would not be where we are now. I am certain I would never forgive my Mom and might have lived miserably. Choosing to forgive and not remember are one of the best decisions we have ever made. Praises be to God through the Holy Spirit who convicts us to make life-changing decisions.
- We have to be intentional and missional in reaching out to our parents. In my case, I pushed myself harder to embrace Mom’s imperfections instead of giving up or wallowing into despair and resentment. It is God’s desire for us (children) to consistently respect, love and honour our parents, whether in close proximity or from a distance.
- If we share the same story, never think that your life is over. Please do your best to walk the right path because someday God will reward your insurmountable sacrifices. Let Him direct your path. My story may be an example that as products of separated parents, we have a choice whether to take the narrow rebellious road, or to bravely walk through the furnace and process the whole situation no matter how long it takes and thrive hard and well, too! Never give up because the new day God has appointed will surely come.
- Seek a spiritual community to stand by you through the ups and downs of life. A community who has your best interest at heart and that pursues biblical accountability.
- Thank and remember your extended families and constants. May God lavishly bless each one of them for the rest of their lives.
It is my prayer for Mom to continue seeking God in her life and to enjoy her senior years with our blended family. I believe that the Lord has blessed her with long and healthy life not because she has to serve us or pay back for all that she had missed as our mother. I believe that it is for us, her family, to give her the best life a Mom could ever have.
I think the universal love language of most Moms is service. Today, Mom never gets tired of cooking for us, loving, caring, and serving us in the best way she could. She has been a constant in our lives through the years. It feels good to have her who is undeniably a superwoman. We no longer remember those heartaches and we can only see the beaming joy and pride in her eyes and the familiar warmth Mom exude to this day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all selfless Moms, and to each and every father, sibling, extended parent, whose role is to embrace motherhood! Only His grace enables!
“A mother is a chalice, the vessel without which no human being has ever been born. She is created to be a life-bearer, cooperating with her husband and with God in the making of a child. What a solemn responsibility. What an unspeakable privilege—a vessel divinely prepared for the Master’s use.” Elisabeth Elliot