I’ve invited my dear friend Gayle to share today. God has a way of using our mothers – and our children! – to teach us. I was so frustrated with my parents when they wouldn’t allow me to help them. In my rant to the Lord, I heard, like Gayle, “Ah-ha, maybe you’re not so different from them. I stand ready to help you if you’ll let me.” Enjoy my dear readers and send your own lessons learned to us.
It’s so much easier to see another’s faults, isn’t it? So much easier to remove the splinter from someone else’s eye rather than yank that beam out of my own. My relationship with my own mother recently brought this home to me in a big way.
My elderly mother and I have never had a warm and fuzzy relationship, and we have lived very different lives. As she has aged, I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to caring for her needs while at the same time living my own busy life. Folks my age have been described as the “sandwich generation” for just this reason.
As I drove to pick her up for yet another doctor’s appointment, I discussed my frustrations with the Lord. She’s stubborn. She ignores the things my brother and I tell her she should do or not do to avoid troubling physical conditions. By disregarding our advice, the inevitable happens, and the very people who tried to help her avoid the mess in the first place are the ones she calls to clean it up. This is a pattern with my mother, and I was resentful and frustrated.
Suddenly, God opened my heart. I do the exact same thing! How many times had He instructed me to do or not do a particular thing, I ignored his warning, and I ended up reaping the consequences He tried to help me avoid? Then what would I do? Run crying to God asking Him to clean up my mess—a mess He did everything He could to help me avoid in the first place.
But how did my heavenly Father handle it? Did He talk down to me, sternly reminding me of His words with an “I told you so!”? No. He just loved me unconditionally and pulled me out of the muck and mire. He didn’t even remind me of just how many times I’d wallowed in the same mud pit!
I humbly admitted what He already knew: that I wasn’t offering the same forgiveness and patience, the same unconditional love and understanding to those dear to me. And the truth is I am fully capable of loving the way He does, because the Holy Spirit, the Helper, equips me with the ability to do so, if – and it’s a big if — I let him.
Driving down the road that day while praying for a smooth trip to the neurologist with mom, I recognized that she was the iron God was using to sharpen me. It was a reminder to me—as both His daughter and hers—that I am still a work in progress and my mother, no matter what her age, still has things to teach me.
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. (Proverbs 27:17)