Counting My Blessings on Mothers Day
A Story of Five Generations
Life is all about relationships. The way we value and get along with people who are special to us is of the utmost importance. These relationships should be key parts of life that we nurture and treasure most. Through the parenting relationship, we can pass on our greatest legacy by teaching our children through example. These examples, whether good or bad, are lived out by choices and will go on to impact the generations that follow. Parents and grandparents have the power to make a real positive impact on a child's life and using that power wisely can make all the difference in the life of a child.
My Grandma had a profound effect on me and I am forever grateful for her presence in my life. The apricot rose was a favorite flower of hers and I know she would have loved this picture.
Choosing to Be Thankful
and Choosing to Forgive
As part of counting my blessings on Mother's Day, I will not neglect to be thankful for my own mother, despite my hurtful beginnings. I thank my mother for giving me life.
And I thank God for giving me understanding and the power to forgive my mother's hurtful actions. With understanding, it is easy to look past my childhood pain and know why life in my childhood home was dysfunctional.
It is a blessing to be able to let go of the feelings that could ruin my life and future, if I allowed them to. But instead, I choose to live in peace. I pray for blessings to come my mother's way and that she will forgive herself and live in peace too.
This rose is for my mother. According to google, the color of forgiveness is blue and/or green. This rose is a combination of both and also appropriately is the color of the bookcover on my book, "A Wounded Daughter's Survival".
Understanding the Concept of Forgiveness - Live Your Life in Peace, Forgive Anyone Who Has Hurt You
Why? You may ask should I just freely forgive someone who has hurt me deeply or even damaged my life forever. It is understandable that getting to the place to forgive is not always easy and may take time. But, do it for yourself. Forgiving sets you free of the bondage that comes with unforgiveness, along with its bitterness and turmoil. You can live in peace, free of the burden and bad feelings. And you are then able to ask God to bless those who hurt you. When they are blessed, it usually means they are enlightened with a knowledge and understanding of the damage they have done. This is the point where healing is allowed to occur. It is a much better choice than to live in bitterness, turmoil, and anger. Forgiving others is something you do for yourself and it does not say that what was done to you was right. It just releases you from the pain that can result from living in an unforgiving way and places the matter of revenge in God's hands where it belongs.
Total Forgiveness is a great book to read when you truly want to find peace, let go of the pain, and find freedom from living with the added turmoil of unforgiveness.
The Difference a Grandma Can Make
Grandma Ada stepped into my life and gave me a functional beginning filled with abundant love. She provided feelings of belonging, worthiness, and competency that I received from no one else. She gave me all the necessary emotional needs that were missing from my mother and dad.
Grandma Ada provided a big part of the firm foundation for my later adult life. My parents divorced when I was three and from age three to five, I lived with my grandparents on their farm until my parents remarried.
Day to day farm life was filled with activity. Grandma was very busy, and I was privileged to be present for it all. I went everywhere she did. I learned a lot from her. Grandma talked to me and treated me like an important person she valued. I always felt like I belonged when she spent time teaching me.
Cooking was one area where I benefited greatly from her knowledge. Even though I was only four years old, Grandma never let that stand in the way of making me feel capable and competent to learn and help her and work right alongside her. She taught me at this young age how to make the perfect skillet of cornbread; how to make pungent, spicy gingerbread; and how to create the favorite family cookie, moist and rich with the sweet smell and taste of vanilla. Plus there were many other things Grandma and I cooked together such as vinegar taffy, where the taffy pull turned into real kitchen fun. This time for me was filled with wonderful sweet memories of Grandma's kitchen blended with the security, love, and acceptance of functional emotional health growing in my life as a very young child. That is the recipe for wonderful, coveted childhood memories. Grandma grew my self-confidence through the many things she taught me, and I knew from her encouragement that she believed I could do anything I chose to. I became competent to help her, and we were a team in the kitchen and many other places of activity on the farm.
I really enjoyed anything I got to do with Grandma. On ironing and sewing days, my job was to play the music. I kept the record player going with Grandma's favorites, such as "The Locomotion," an instrumental called "Green Onions," or the Bob Wills album, plus many others. It was fun because the music would keep Grandma singing and humming throughout her chores. Sometimes she would even dance, too, which she playfully referred to as "cutting a rug." I usually joined her, and we danced through many days of chores. Being with Grandma Ada was the best!
I had learned from Grandma how a functional life should feel. Even though she worked hard, she included me and had time for me. She built a foundation early in my life that later gave me something positive to draw from. Grandma gave me a reason to believe in myself and know my life was worthwhile. And even though she was not always able to be physically present in my life, I knew she was always there to care, in spirit, throughout my childhood. I always knew she was on my side. Grandma was never selfish or childish. Her adult presence brought security and confidence to my life. She was always there, always supporting, always giving of herself and showing her love concretely and functionally.
When I lived with Grandma, I was able for a short time to know unconditional love, support, and caring on a daily basis without the turmoil, anger, and fighting. Grandma Ada helped me build the emotional foundation necessary to survive the storms ahead.
Grandma Ada Moves to Heaven
. . . And I Receive a Special Blessing
Early in 1984, Grandma began feeling bad. She saw many doctors and endured many medical tests finding no conclusion for the way she was feeling. Then she saw a specialist, and he diagnosed her condition. She had incurable, inoperable cancer, and it had spread to her liver. The doctors assumed that her cancer had to be somewhere in her body before it spread to the liver, but the cancer was found nowhere in her body but in the liver. This was hopeless news that hurt deeply.
I will never forget the phone call from my mother that afternoon in September 1984 telling me the reality of Grandma's condition. I fell to the floor and cried and cried for what felt like hours.
I just kept thinking, What am I going to do without her? Grandma represented stability, comfort, and understanding; she was the mother figure I relied on as a child and now as an adult. She was still the one I needed in my life. She meant more to me than I could express, and living without her in the world was not something I ever wanted to do.
Grandma's illness was very traumatic for me and even though I clung to the hope that she would get well, I enjoyed every moment of time I had left with her until she died the day after Thanksgiving 1984. A part of the hope I had for the future was for my husband and I to have a second child. This thought became a blessing clearly straight from God when our baby was conceived very near to the exact time when Grandma would leave this world.
In spite of the hurt all around us, Doug and I had a secret that helped us through the tragedy of losing Grandma. I knew with little doubt before the day of Grandma's funeral that I was expecting another baby. God knew how hard it would be for me to lose my grandma, so He gave me a gift when He took her home. I did not know it until nine months later at my baby's birth, however, that I was carrying a daughter. She would be a daughter very much like my Grandma in many ways. God cared for my feelings, and when he took someone from me who I valued greatly, He replaced that void with the joy of a new baby girl to love and cherish and teach and raise like Grandma had done for me. It was healing for my emotions to know that God cared deeply for how I was feeling and what I was going through. God gave me a gift because He understood.
A few weeks later, it was Christmas. We all gathered at Grandma Ada's house as we had done every previous Christmas of my life--it just felt empty this time, since she was not with us this year to celebrate. But Grandma's presence was evident anyway, because everything we did was centered on the traditions she had incorporated into our family. She was absent in body, but her spirit was living on in each of us with the things we did together and in the many, many things she had taught to each of us. My grandma has a special place in my heart that no one else will ever fill, and part of her lives on through me. I also took this family gathering as an opportunity to announce that Doug and I were expecting our second child, to be born the following August.
Then my baby was born and once again hearing my baby's first cries was music to my ears. Then I realized that the doctor had said, "It's a girl!" What a blessing! She was healthy and normal, weighing seven pounds three ounces. She was so tiny, delicate, dainty, and fair. Her skin glowed with a beautiful pink hue. I loved my precious daughter immediately. Having a daughter brought enormous thankfulness and a heightened feeling of happiness. She made our world complete on this beautiful Sunday morning rich in God's blessings. We named our new baby girl Amanda. Amanda because it was a contemporary name allowing her to be Grandma Ada's namesake. The spelling of Amanda includes Ada. It was the perfect name for our daughter.
Our daughter's zest for life added a special touch of happiness to our lives. I have wished so many times that Amanda could have known her great-grandma Ada, who also was a person known for filling life with joy, happiness, hope, and love.
The Best Mother's Day Present I Ever Received
It was Mother's Day 1991, Amanda was five years old. Our family went to church as usual. But this Sunday, Amanda was saved in Junior Church. She came bounding out of the church that day with wide eyes full of joy and happiness. When she got into the car, she said "Mommy, I met Jesus today!" I could see something had changed, and she for sure had experienced the newness and great feeling that comes with salvation. Her face was absolutely glowing, and her smile was radiant; peace prevailed.
I did not need words to know--I could see the undeniable proof in the nonverbal evidence. My little girl was saved. She became a child of God that day. And I had received the most wonderful Mother's Day present ever. It was more valuable than anything tangible I could have received boxed and wrapped up in a gift. I will never forget the precious little face of my daughter that day, a gift of great value. Now I knew for sure I would spend eternity in heaven with my daughter, and she would also meet her Great-Grandma Ada.
My Relationship with My Daughter
I have enjoyed a close relationship with my daughter throughout the years. Today she is a grown, married woman and she is my friend. I love being with Amanda. She brings a special joy to my life that no one else can and she is my special gift from God.
Last June, the first day of summer 2011, my daughter gave birth to her first baby and to my first grandson, Samson. More joy was added to our relationship when this precious baby boy came along.
Watching Amanda as a mother is a tremendous blessing that I cherish. Amanda is a loving, attentive, and devoted mother to Samson. The way she cares for her precious baby boy is a blessing for me to witness. It makes me feel that I truly have overcome my dysfunctional childhood, changed the destructive path, and with help from my devoted husband and guidance from God, have passed on a family legacy to be proud of.
Pink roses for Amanda with Love from Mom
I am wishing an especially Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful daughter Amanda on her first official Mother’s Day with Samson.
Nothing can brighten your world or bring such special joy like the smile of a new baby, especially if that baby smiling is your grandchild.
Building Life's Most Important Relationship
Of all the relationships in my life, the most important one I have is my personal relationship with God, my Father. Out of this relationship flows all that makes life worthwhile. Reading God's word daily is one of the best ways to build that vital relationship which brings joy, peace, and contentment to life.
This Life Principles Bible by Dr. Charles Stanley, contains God's word and also is enhanced with detailed explanation and greater insight for increased understanding and life application. It is a Bible that I refer to often to find answers to life's questions.
The One Year Bible
Although I refer to several Bibles, this is the Bible that I read daily. It is divided up into daily readings so that by year end, you have read the entire Bible.
If reading the entire Bible is a personal goal you have set for yourself, this is one of the easiest ways to attain that worthwhile accomplishment.
Reading God's word regularly has a tremendous impact on building functional, beneficial relationships.
A Wounded Daughter's Survival - --A Damaged Life Healed by Hope and Truth
I share my story to help others wounded by emotional abuse. Healing and change are possible. There is a better way.
I have learned much from exploring my past about the things that made my childhood family as it was. I have lived in dysfunctional environments and functional environments. It ultimately becomes a matter of relationships and how you choose to value family members close to you. I share what I have learned and hope it will help others who may be living the same struggles.
Emotional abuse is not a popular subject or one people are readily willing to face. But the more we ignore it, the bigger it becomes and the more damage that will be done. The pain needs to stop, and it can through increased awareness. Making a choice to acknowledge the truth, understand the source of the pain, and seek healing will make life better for future generations.
Find hope to overcome. Healing is available; there is a better way.
A Question to Ponder . . .
What kind of emotional family legacy are you passing on to the next generation?
Happy Mother's Day to the Mother's reading this Squidoo page, I hope you will be blessed in some way by my Mother's Day Story of Five Generations.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are my own.