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!

Love That Never Hurts, Betrays, or Abandons Us

“The world today is hungry
Not only for bread
But hungry for love;
Hungry to be wanted,
Hungry to be loved.”
~ Mother Teresa ~

Is your heart aching when you think of Valentine’s Day? Did you lose loved ones recently? Or do you feel unwanted and unloved?

There are many legends surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day, but many of us see it as a day set aside to show others we care and to remind them they are loved and appreciated.

It’s always a comfort to be remembered, but many will experience that ache of loved ones lost either by death or some other way, even after many years. Others feel all alone in the world and unloved with not even a memory of ever being loved.

Perhaps some of you carry a distorted view of what love is because of abuse or neglect, whether in the past or the present. I know I did. Often it takes time to heal and trust even God because of suffering devastating betrayal from someone we trusted. Because of someone who was supposed to value, nurture, and protect us instead of hurt us.

People can hurt, betray, or abandon us. But Jesus’ love is like a bottomless ocean. It will never, ever empty. It will always and forever remain faithful. It will always nurture, not hurt.

Jesus willingly took on the heavy burden of sin. Our sin and the sin of those who have hurt us. All our sins are washed away and all our hurts can be healed and redeemed through Jesus and the blood He shed for us. He willingly died in our place because He loves us so deeply. He suffered excruciating, unbearable pain as whips slashed His flesh and nails pierced his hands and feet. Unspeakable anguish as the Father withdrew His presence. He was forsaken by God so we would never have to be forsaken. Incomprehensible, immeasurable, immutable love. So beyond our understanding that it can never be understood by our human minds. So infinite it can never be measured. So firmly established that it will never change.

“Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13

heartoflove

What Is Love?

by Helen Steiner Rice

What is love? No words can define it—
It’s something so great
only God could design it.
For love means much more
than small words can express,
For what we call love is very much less
Than the beauty and depth
and the true riches of
God’s gift to mankind—
His compassionate love.

God Loves and Understands

by Helen Steiner Rice

It’s amazing and incredible,
But it’s as true as it can be,
God loves and understands us all
And that means you and me–
His grace is all sufficient
For both the young and old,
For the lonely and the timid,
For the brash and for the bold–
His love knows no exceptions,
So never feel excluded,
No matter what your past has been,
Trust God to understand,
And no matter what your problem is
Just place it in His Hand–
For in all of our unloveliness
This great God loves us still,
He loved us since the world began,
And what’s more, He always will!

No Greater Love
by Colton Dixon

“What kind of love would stand in the flames
And choose to remain there beside me?
What kind of love would go to the grave
Give up everything just to find me?
Of all the treasure that this world would offer me
You’re the only thing I need…

Your love is never changing
Your love will always be my home
And though this world will fail me
Your love will never let me go
No greater love
No greater love
No greater love
Than Yours…”

“May your roots go down deep
into the soil of God’s marvelous love;
and may you be able to feel and understand,
as all God’s children should,
how long, how wide, how deep,
and how high His love really is.”
Ephesians 3:17b-18 TLB