Well, about a month after Killing the Giants week in San Diego, I had a semi-spiritual conversation with my mother, however, it was not planned or initiated by myself, and was my mom’s way of telling me that she doesn’t really buy my whole “Christian” act. Ouch. It definitely is a blow to me when someone says my faith isn’t real. I mean, this isn’t the first time that my mom has told me that she doesn’t really think that I am a Christian. So what am I doing wrong? Mostly it’s not living by the Spirit. Its as if I have two lives: one I live at school or anywhere not home, and the one I live in front of my family. And I know that I need to live by the Spirit, that I need to be the light that shines before all men, to make them wonder what I’ve got and then glorify the Lord. It’s really hard to do, but I am trying. But really, the conversation turned from that point to my mom’s spiritual life. She told me that at this point in her life she has a lot of doubts. She believes in God, but she has a problem with Him because of the crappy hand that she has been dealt in life. It just devastated me to hear that. But do I blame her? Not really. Let me tell you a little bit about my mom’s life.
My mom was born in Minneapolis in 1964 and in 1973, less than a month before her ninth birthday, her father, my grandfather, passed away due to complications from a collapsed lung. To make it worse, her family knew that he probably wasn’t going to make and her three older siblings were pulled out of school to be at the hospital with him, but my mother wasn’t pulled out. I know that that is something that she has not really gotten over. My mother was also the responsible child (at least that’s how she is usually portrayed). She was the one who stuck by her mother’s side, the one who tried to alleviate tension and play the peacemaker. And when her older brothers had gotten married and her sister went to college and she was the only one left, she had to take care of everything at home because her mother had to work full-time to support the two of them. She took on more than most teen-agers have had to do. After she got married, the tension got worse. Between the nit-picking between her mother, sister, brothers, and two overbearing sisters-in-law, and my own father’s family of alcoholic brothers, and parents that played favorites (and not to the upright siblings, but to the alcoholics), my mother was frustrated more often than not. And after my own birth, which had many complications and we were blessed that I was not born mentally handicapped, my mother had at least four miscarriages, if not more. I had always known about three of them until this last May. One day in particular my mother was just acting weird and that night we had cake and I asked why and my mother just started bawling and told me that it would have been my unborn sister’s eighteenth birthday. So, I know that that has taken a toll on my mom. And then in 1999, her mother died of cancer, but the whole prelude to that was full of strife and fighting in her family because nobody seemed to care or want to take responsibility for caring for her or in even visiting her and making what we knew to be her last days comfortable. Then in 2002, my mother started to get kind of sick. Her legs were in a lot of pain and walking became more and more difficult. None of the doctors that she went to seemed to be able to figure out what was wrong. Then one day, on accident, they discovered that she had chronic kidney failure. We each have two full functioning kidneys, except for my mother. She has one that does not work at all and one that only works at a 50% success. It really has sucked. She started doing dialysis and the pain in her legs still hasn’t gotten any better, in fact, it is probably worse now. And then in 2006, my parents had to file for bankruptcy because they drove their financial car into the ground (if I sound a little bitter, I still kind of am). The last two years, and especially the last four months or so, have been so tight financially that it has really taken a huge toll on everyone.
And so this is the hand that my mother was dealt by God. I know that there is a reason for the way that everything has turned out. And though I do not have all of the answers, I know that God is there for my mother, but she still has some forgiving to do. She has not forgiven a lot of the people in her family and so that bitterness continues to eat away at her. And though I cannot condemn anyone, her relationship with God will never be right unless she begins to forgive the people in her life who have hurt her, starting with God, not that God really needs forgiveness, but more that she needs to repent or better-worded, realize that God is not at fault in any way. But she has to forgive, because Christ says that as we forgive others, the Father will forgive us. I’m not saying that any of this will be easy at all, but the Christian life and walk is not meant to be easy. If it was, everyone would be Christians, and quite honestly it would lose most of its value. Often the things we need to do are the hardest things, whether it is forgiving someone for a wrong, turning away from sexual sin, giving up alcohol, ending our addiction to gambling, or turning away from our own selfish desires to cleave onto the desires of the Living God.
I hope and pray for my mom and now that I know a little more about where she is coming from, I can begin to think of and put into actions ways I can minister to her. So this is just a little bit of what I discovered about my mother and her relationship with God.