I gave the gift of forgiveness to my dying mom
My walls with my mom were thicker than with anyone else.
I don’t remember my life without my mom doing drugs. I remember as a kid sitting at the dining room table and her and her friends were passing marijuana. When I was teenager, my mom started using cocaine and heavier drugs.
When my parents divorced, I was left to fend for myself. I lived with church members who would take me in until I finished high school.
By the time I found myself at NewSpring, I thought that I had dealt with this past, overcame it all and was a strong independent woman.
I was wrong.
God opens doors you don’t even expect.
Putting Up A Wall
The more I had tried to be strong, the angrier I got, and the higher the walls I had built around myself became. I lived a lot of my life sheltered and protecting.
I was struggling with depression, arguing with my spouse and children, and just feeling like nothing was going the way it was supposed to.
I had come to NewSpring Columbia to watch my oldest daughter get baptized, and we kept going and got plugged in.
In my head, I had already been saved. I had been to church all my life. Then, during the Christmas message in 2013, everything for me changed.
I remember the message was unconditional love and unlimited hope, and that’s what I needed. For the first time in my life, I felt something between my head and my heart connect.
I understood that Jesus not only saved me, but loved me enough to take all of these issues and carry them for me.
I had protected myself from the choices my mother was making by walking away.
A Christmas Miracle
It was not an immediate release. Slowly, with the help of people within the church and my wonderful husband, I opened up, shared my feelings, and, for the first time, let Jesus lead my heart.
This became evident when my mother, who was incarcerated for manufacturing methamphetamine, was released four years into a 10-year prison sentence because she was dying of liver cancer.
She was writing to me for 2 ½ years, and I was ignoring her. My husband was like, “You need to write her back,” and I was like, “Nope.”
He understood where I was coming from — the rollercoaster of our relationship. I had protected myself from the choices she was making by walking away.
We had been estranged for 10 years, but now, in my heart, I heard the words from Jesus: “Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done for me.”
It was one of the hardest things to open my house to someone who had hurt me so badly.
An Unusual Homecoming
We brought my mom into our home in March 2014. That would never, ever have been a thought in my head had God never been involved.
My mom told me, “I did wrong, please forgive me,” but it was one of the hardest things to open my house to someone who had hurt me so badly.
The first few months were awkward. I had to take her to the chemo treatments, and watching that was the hardest part. My attitude went from, “I took you in because I had to,” to “I don’t want you to leave, but I can’t do anything about it.” I felt like we didn’t get to reach what we could have done with more time.
My mom attended Newspring with us, and the fact that I got to see her get baptized with my three youngest children five months before she passed away in November was a miracle.
The night she died, I was able to go into her hospital room and tell her that everything would be OK. I know my mother has a place in heaven, and that is a peace only God can give.
The obstacles in our lives are really opportunities.
More Life To Share
That one opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation has deeply enriched my relationships.
I was an isolationist. I didn’t have friends I would call and talk to. I felt like I had been hurt by so many people, I shut everybody out. That was why I suffered depression.
My personality is completely changed. I don’t look at people and automatically assume they’re going to do something wrong.
My small group now knows more things than my husband did after 20 years of marriage! The love I now share with the people in my life is better medication than anything the doctor gave me.
God opens doors you don’t even expect. He can do more than we can even imagine. What I’ve learned is that the obstacles in our lives are really opportunities if you follow God through those open doors.