Remembering How My Mom Loved In Spite of Depression

“I love you! I love you! I love you!” she whispered some of her last words as she fought for breath. I still see her helplessness as a spinal stroke paralyzed her and took away her freedom to hug us. She loved to hug us.

My mom was plagued with depression through her life (My Mom, Depression, and Love), so my child heart had to work through insecurities. All the turmoil of wondering what I did wrong that I couldn’t make her happier. That I couldn’t stop her hysterical crying. That I couldn’t stop her from wanting to end her life. I didn’t understand why she had to leave to go to the hospital. When she clung to us after our Sunday visits and sobbed and begged my dad to take her home, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t take her along.

It took years before I worked through my guilt and feelings of desertion. But the more I healed, the more I realized what a wonderful mom I really had. Although depression sometimes snatched her away from us or plunged her into inescapable self-absorption, she loved us deeply. Now I am amazed how she even coped, knowing more of her past and all she dealt with. Now I can see how God still taught me about the real love through her.

Today it is 14 years since she passed away. February 18, 2006. She was only 80. I still have times when I miss her.

I am so grateful for my Mom’s love. Though not exhaustive, here are a few ways she showed it:

I often had ear infections. I remember being not very old and crying because my ear hurt horribly. My mom took me to the doctor. I still hear his words, “SHUT UP!” That only made me cry harder, and my mom hurt so much for me that we changed doctors.

She believed me when others didn’t. When I was a sophomore in high school, I ached all over and would run a small grade fever. I was so, so tired. Even our family doctor couldn’t figure it out. I started believing others that maybe it was just the result of emotional issues or of something I was avoiding at school. When I sobbed because someone called me a faker, she hugged me and said, “I believe you.” Later on, my feet and hands swelled up and I was sent to a specialist. Finally a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. It was a long journey through treatment, but she stood by me all the way.

When I was a junior in high school, I had a tonsillectomy. They were more spread than they had thought, so they had to dig and stitch. I couldn’t eat for some time, and I remember feeling Mom’s concern and bringing me popsicles.

♥ She never squelched my creativity and passions but instead encouraged them. When I found some baby frogs, she gave me an old canning tub to build a habitat for them before I released them. She allowed me to make terrariums. I enjoyed keeping an aquarium, raising hamsters, and nursing a duckling back to strength in a box in the corner of the kitchen.

She couldn’t protect us from abuse, and she was emotionally incapable of recognizing it or helping us through the effects of it. But she did care about our safety as much as she was able. Once my brother and I wanted to swim in a pond under a bridge, and she allowed us to but she said, “Keep your shoes on” as she was afraid we might step on broken glass or barbed wire. (I already mentioned before of an incident where she was more concerned about our safety than hers in “My Mom, Depression, and Love.”)

When she was present, she allowed us to pick which cake we wanted for our birthdays. I always chose confetti angel food cake. On my birthday last month, I thought of how she always sent a special birthday card even though her handwriting had become more wavy.

Her children and grandchildren were her pride and joy. She loved it so when we were all together.

Even though my kids were adopted, she never loved them less than the other grandchildren. Once when she was in the hospital, my husband and I went to see her. We didn’t know if children were allowed in her room, so we left them in the lobby. She immediately asked us where the kids were. When we told her, she pleaded that we bring them to her room and said they are just as important to her as the other grandchildren.

I was already working on another post, but my heart led me instead to remember my mom’s love. I’m so grateful she can now dance and rejoice fully in Jesus’ love where there is no more depression.

I love you! I love you! I love you, Mom!

Please share your story about your mom. If she is no longer on this earth, how did she show you she cared in spite of her imperfections? Or perhaps you have no positive memories of your mom, because she was absent or abusive in one way or another? Is there someone in your life that gave you the nurturing love like a mom should?

“Amazing Grace”

This was one of my mom’s favorite hymns. We sang it at her funeral.
Her name was Grace, and by God’s grace, she was amazing, too!

Ugly Becomes Beautiful Through God’s Lens

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As I glanced out the patio door, a beautiful butterfly fluttered down. My heart quickened, and I bent down and carefully peeked through the blinds.

What?! Are my eyes playing tricks on me? All I saw was a dead, colorless, rumpled leaf. But the picture of a butterfly is still vivid in my memory. Bright yellow with black veins running through it. Almost like a monarch, only yellow instead of orange.

It must be a special gift from God. Butterflies always remind me of His faithful love. He whispers, “Yes, My child, I am here. Always. I will take care of you.”

It’s a blessing when we can look through God’s special lens to see beauty in the ugly.

When we look at the pain and devastation in our lives through our own lens, we feel so fragile, crushed, and forsaken. We may feel like that shriveled up leaf. Tossed about. Dried up. Insignificant.

We will see differently when we put on God’s lens of love:

A dried up leaf becomes a dazzling butterfly.

Jesus and the sacrifice He has given for us becomes reality as our ugliness transforms into a lovely child of God, so precious in His sight.

His compassion soothes our hearts as we learn how perfectly He understands us and how He collects every single tear into His bottle.

The ashes of loss and broken dreams brush into place in the masterpiece the Divine Artist is painting.

We see God is still on the throne, and He works every single pain for our good and to His glory.

When we’re downhearted, depressed, and in despair, it’s hard to see that God really does love us and is always with us no matter what. But if we can surrender our lens of lies into His hands and reach out in faith to gaze through His lens, we see the truth that His love transforms us into beautiful butterflies. We see He is faithfully holding us together. We see His promise of a glorious future.

Then we can trust all the answers to our questions will surely come in His time and way. We can stop holding onto our own way and let ourselves be held in His grace-filled arms. Is it easy? No. But He promises to give us the strength we need to keep taking one step at a time.

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world,
that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior]
shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 AMP

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.”
Psalm 56:8 NLT

“And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV

A Child's Trust “Just Be Held”
by Casting Crowns

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New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.” ~ J. R. Miller

This is a powerful video of stories of broken lives crushed by pain and sorrow restored to blessedness and beauty through Christ Jesus. A hopeful and inspiring message and song.

“I have won and I have lost.
I got it right sometimes
but sometimes I did not.
Life’s been a journey.
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret.
Oh and You have been
my God through all of it.”

“Through All Of It”
by Colton Dixon

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searchforsignificance The Search for Significance Devotional Journal: A 60-day Journey to Discovering Your True Worth by Robert S. McGee

“In Robert McGee’s best-selling book The Search for Significance, he helps readers realize the fact that they will never be content if they search for their significance in accomplishments or the opinions of others. Instead, God has given them significance and worth through the work of Christ on the cross. Because of McGee’s classic book, more than two million readers have learned what it means to be free to enjoy Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Now, McGee invites readers of his book to go on a 10-week journey of reflection, discovery, and ultimately victory as they learn how to implement, on a daily basis, the principles of The Search for Significance. Each page of this valuable companion to The Search for Significance includes:

  • Thought-provoking questions
  • Essential biblical truths
  • Space for readers to reflect on how God is calling them to a deeper realization of his love for them.
  • Daily Prayer”

(Amazon Review)

mobility matters✎ Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith by Amy Bovaird

“Adventurous international teacher, Amy Bovaird, is diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disease that will blind her. In spite of that, she manages to continue teaching overseas. Then her father’s final illness brings her back home for good. There, friends and acquaintances begin to notice that she doesn’t always recognize them and sometimes stumbles…as if drunk! Insensitive students ridicule her in the classroom. Unwilling to accept that she is truly losing her eyesight, Amy resists when the Bureau of Blindness schedules a mobility specialist to begin training her to use a white cane. How can she, an independent world traveler, use something that screams ‘I am a blind person’? Will her faith prove strong enough to allow her to move forward and accept herself as she is?” (Amazon Review)

Last month I wrote a post about this book along with an interview of its author:

Stepping Out in Faith in the Midst of Loss

Hope Harbor

 

Amy’s Adventures – Amy offers hope and encouragement to those with impaired vision or loss of sight

Around the Fire: Hope for the Family – One of Crystal Creek’s Youth Ranch’s newsletters – several articles on HOPE – “Instead of using Band-Aids to COVER my pain—Jesus wanted to HEAL my pain. I suddenly realized that the shackles of my past didn’t hold me… I HELD THEM! I had a choice to make: My wounds or Jesus.”

 MI: MOM2MOM – Hope for moms raising children with mental illness

Nature Retreat

Some recent photos of God’s amazing creatures:
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 ➺ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – “The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet.” (Cornell Lab’s description) I love their photo ID tool. You can upload a picture you took of a bird; click on the bird’s eye, beak, and tail; and they will identify the bird for you. I tried it and it really works! They have a phone app for this, too.

 ➺ Map of Life – A searchable map for species all over the world. They recently launched a mobile app where one can discover, identify, and record biodiversity worldwide. 

Explore.org – Oodles of live cams and snapshots of animals, primarily wildlife, along with a blog of the explore team’s travels

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Quotes

❤︎ “A mindset of gratitude lifts the veil of bitterness and allows you to see beauty and possibility.” ~ Steve Maraboli

❤︎ “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.” ~ William Newton Clarke

❤︎ “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” ~ Willa Cather

❤︎ “What oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to our survival in this world.” ~ Dr. Billy Graham

❤︎ “Suffering can refine us rather than destroy us because God Himself walks with us in the fire.” ~ Timothy Keller

 

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews