To the Grown Daughter who has Failed to Love her Mother Well…

“I want to be in relationship with people who love me unconditionally,” my mom quietly admitted, tears streaming down her face. Like a dagger to my heart, the truth seeped into my soul and revealed something ugly I had never before seen. I had not loved her well.

“I want to be in relationship with people who love me unconditionally,” my mom quietly admitted, tears streaming down her face.

Like a dagger to my heart, the truth seeped into my soul and revealed something ugly I had never before seen.

I had not loved her well.

What do you do when you realize, for the first time, that one of the primary relationships in your life is broken and the fault rests solely on your shoulders?

Don’t get me wrong, up until the moment I described above, I had been confident the blame was not my own.

I had dedicated countless hours of emotional energy to building a case against my mom, finding fault in her every move.

She simply didn’t love me how I needed to be loved.

But what if, in the midst of it all, she had pulled back from the relationship because it wasn’t a safe place for her to be?

What if by focusing on the things I felt were lacking in the relationship, I had somehow destroyed everything that was good and beautiful in it?

Driving away from my mom’s house that day, my head was spinning and my heart was broken.

For the first time in my life, I had seen myself through her eyes.

Eyes that were filled with a mixture of intense love and intense pain.

I wanted, no I needed, to do everything in my power to erase the pain I saw in those eyes.

But how do you erase the pain in the eyes of someone you love?

In moments like these, when I am overwhelmed and uncertain of how to proceed, I do the only thing I know to do.

I pray. I seek. I beckon the Lord to enter into the brokenness of my life and show me the way through.

Brokenness is a powerful thing, uncertainty is a gift, and desperation is a key that unlocks the truths of God’s word.

But only if you pray, seek, beckon.

Oh, how I longed for an immediate answer, a peace to fill my soul and comfort to dull the pain.

I hate feeling ugly, and broken, and incapable.

But the Lord’s answer was not immediate, and the ugliness clung to me like a reluctant toddler clings to his mother’s leg.

I, Sarah Koontz, had failed. 

There was no other way to say it.

That’s the painful truth.

I had not loved my mother well.

“I want to be in relationship with people who love me unconditionally,” my mom quietly admitted, tears streaming down her face. Like a dagger to my heart, the truth seeped into my soul and revealed something ugly I had never before seen. I had not loved her well.

Days passed, and I continued to seek the Lord in prayer.

It is rare for me to have an experience where I hear the Lord’s voice behind me saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 31:20)

But the Lord eventually responded to my desperation, to my pleas for wisdom and direction.

He spoke gently to my heart…

How have I loved you, Sarah?

I was standing in my bathroom when this question floated through my head down into my heart…how has He loved me?

It’s at moments like these that I am eternally grateful for my upbringing in the church.

Because I knew the answer to that question.

God loves me, not because of my own merit, but because of the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross.

When God looks at me, He does not see my past sins, because my slate has been wiped white as snow.

God loves me because of who He is.

In that moment, I was able to figuratively look into my Heavenly Father’s eyes and see his unconditional love for me.

There was no pain there, no brokenness, no dissatisfaction…just love.

How could God look upon me with such love and acceptance when I have failed Him so utterly and completely?

Then it struck me.

He could look at me that way because the slate had been wiped clean.

He had truly forgiven me of all of my shortcomings and chosen to love me unconditionally in spite of them all.

If I could learn to love my mom in the same way, maybe in time, that love could erase the pain in her eyes.

A clean slate.

An unconditional love.

These gifts are not mine to offer, but I know the One who is the giver of all good gifts.

And I will ask Him each morning for the strength to see my mom through His eyes, to love my mom with His love.

“I want to be in relationship with people who love me unconditionally,” my mom quietly admitted, tears streaming down her face. Like a dagger to my heart, the truth seeped into my soul and revealed something ugly I had never before seen. I had not loved her well.

Mom, thank you for those tears. 

Thank you for loving me enough to show me your pain.

I will never be able to love you as perfectly or unconditionally as God has loved you, but I will dedicate the rest of my life to loving you better.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

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The enemy does not want us to live in unity and he adores discord, especially in the family unit. For many years, I held tightly to the hurts and pains from my past experiences with my mom. Petty little stuff. But Satan duped me into believing I had a right to it, and because of that I was stuck...shadow boxing with my mom, oblivious of the true enemy. This is the story of how I broke that cycle and found freedom to love my mom better.

Have you ever failed to love your mother well?  Are you struggling with this issue currently?  I would love to talk about it and encourage you in the comments section of this post.

I may not have the answers, but I understand the battle and have found great freedom in recent months.

I’d also encourage you to read my blog posts entitled: “Broken Eggshells and Careless Words,” “God’s Love Empowers us to be Lovely,” and “Here’s What Happened when I Chose to Forgive My Mom.

They are follow up posts and I pray will encourage you further.

This article has been shared at many of my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

This post was inspired by Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday writing prompt “Shadow Boxing.”  I believe that the breakthrough in my relationship with my mom was dependent on one key factor I wasn’t able to share in the story above.  When we choose to forgive and wipe the slate clean, the devil loses a foothold in our lives.  Satan does not want us to live in unity and he adores discord, especially in the family unit.  For many years, I held tightly to the hurts and pains from my past experiences with my mom.  Petty little stuff.  But  satan duped me into believing I had a right to it, and because of that I was stuck…shadow boxing with my mom, oblivious of the true enemy.  When I made a decision of my will, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to wipe the slate clean. ..I put my gloves on and, for the first time in a  long time, dealt a knockout blow to my true enemy.

 

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites women of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

71 thoughts on “To the Grown Daughter who has Failed to Love her Mother Well…

  1. Well, I was not expecting this today….I very much relate to your post. This is a great testimony of love. Thank you for sharing this, it has truly been a blessing to my heart.

    1. Oh, Renee. I am so blessed by your words this morning. I am grateful that my mom gave me permission to publish this post, and am praying that other daughters find the freedom I am currently experiencing in my relationship with my mother. It was a heart-wrenching process, but so worth it!

  2. Excellent post. Raw. Open. Honest. these truths can be applied to any relationship that is strained. Too often, we focus on what someone else can do to fix a relationship or if they would just change, then it would all be better, but a you so beautifully explained… it is WE who need to change and become more like Jesus. much to consider here. thank you.

    1. You are so right about this truth being applicable to all relationships. One of the major things that helped me through this process is to think of my relationship with my mom as being similar to a marriage. The best marriages are founded on sacrificial love, and it’s when we get too focused on our spouses shortcomings or our unmet needs that we begin to struggle. I have seen this in my own marriage but failed to see it in my relationship with my mom. But NOW I do, and that shift in perspective changed everything. I am so grateful you stopped by today and joined the conversation here, praying a blessing over your relationships today!

    1. I was so inspired by this article, I to have been struggling with the relation with my mother . This article has opened my eyes and see thru God’s eyes this is what I needed thank you so much.God is so awesome. Thanks again.

  3. Sarah,
    I can completely and whole-heartedly relate to this. It brings tears to my eyes again. Thank you for being vulnerable and for showing us this side of the truth. We must love our mothers as Christ died and loved us (enough). I hold this post near as I work through my relationship with mom in establishing peace in our lives. Some days are harder than others, but some days are so promising. I can’t give up. It’s great to connect with you on #livefreeThursday. God bless you this week.

    1. Carolina, I am so grateful that my story has encouraged you. Keep on pressing through the pain and clinging to the Lord, there is victory on the other side! The most freeing truth for me has been that I no longer love my mother because of who she is or what she’s done, I love my mother because of who God is and what He’s done. This truth freed me from the emotional roller coaster and I pray that I will never lose sight of it again.

  4. Sarah, both you and your mother are incredible gifts to the world. I’m so grateful she has you as her daughter and you have her as your mother. Big hug from Texas.

    1. Thank you, Paige! You are such a source of encouragement for my mom and we are blessed to have YOU pouring into our lives (as a friend, and a prayer warrior). God is breaking some chains of bondage up here in South Dakota, and we are LOVING the freedom.

  5. Ouch, ouch and ouch. This one hit home for me. God has been speaking to my heart about this very subject. I too, have not loved my mother well. It’s a painful reality when this truth is plopped into our laps. But, as you point out, there is healing and renewal through God’s love for us. Thank you for sharing this. I think it will resonate with many.

    1. Pam, I feel your pain. I cannot tell you how upset I was when the veil was torn down and I could see the relationship accurately. But that pain was the first (necessary) step towards loving my mom better. It shifted my focus from criticizing her every move to prayerfully considering my role and what I can do to improve the relationship. I have had many conversations with my mom about this since it happened, and each one has brought more freedom for both of us. Praying the same for you and your mom.

  6. Oh what a powerful lesson for us all to learn! I love how you sought God’s direction in prayer and he answered with such clarity and grace. YES to loving your mom like Christ loves us!! Sometimes, that is a hard road full of great sacrifice… I love the clean slate, the unconditional grace, and the obedience in God’s command- I’ll be walking along that same agape road with you my friend, in loving not only my own mother but many other family members, friends, and even strangers! I find it to be most difficult with the ones closest to us.

    1. Chris, I wish I could say that I sought God’s direction because I am oh, so, wise. Unfortunately, it was out of pure desperation and brokenness, yet He heard me anyway. You are spot on that this kind of Love can mend so many of our relationships, and that it is never easy to love others in this way. Only by the grace of God!

  7. What an inspiring post about forgiveness. I believe it is a normal part of adult development to look around at relationships in our lives whether it is with our mothers, grandmothers, sisters etc. and assess what is healthy and what isn’t.

    After all, these are the people we have grown up with and they are the templates by which we learn to “do” relationships.

    Too often when we do this, we turn to blame and anger as a way to deal with the hurt and rejection. All the while, forgetting what is good and life giving!

    I too in my 30’s assessed the strengths and weaknesses of my mother; only to understand the unhealthy patterns and the gifts she held. I didn’t want to pass on these same hurtful patterns with my daughters. I got a little stuck in the process and distanced myself. I was angry and hurt and hung onto that for far too long.

    In addition, distance allowed me to own, feel and heal my sadness and pain. Something I had avoided and tried to cope with in very harmful ways! I know that what I don’t feel won’t heal.

    Through this time of consideration God showed me that mom’s are human too. I still had the childlike wish that mom and my life would be perfect, flawless.

    Impossible.

    Like you Sarah, I had a decision to make. Was I going to hang onto this and not have a relationship with my mom? Was it worth it?

    No!

    In the forgiving, I recognized that I am like my mother. I brought (and still do sometimes) the unhealthy, familiar patterns into the relationship with my daughters. No matter how hard I tried I’m not perfect. I did what I learned and what I was taught.

    Yet, today I am equipped with the Holy Spirit and more awareness’ about how to be in relationship with people than my mother. Not in a prideful way, it’s more about the openness and willingness to dive into the misunderstandings, regrets and pain of our mother daughter relationship.

    My mom wasn’t aware that there was such an option as she was growing up and moving into marriage and parenting. No fault of her own, it was more about the times, culture and her own family upbringing.

    Today I have more compassion for my mother, as I know she did the absolute best she could at the time. I screwed up and still do today with my girls! I catch myself saying and doing those same crazy, familiar things my mom did that hurt me. Just like my mom did with me, (as we grew older and wiser together) I apologize and do my best to not do it again.

    I also have more kindheartedness for myself. All that I embraced and accepted in my mother, I’ve accepted in myself. Not only have some of the negative examples been passed to me but the good stuff too! She had so many amazing qualities that I deeply admire.

    My mom has been gone into the hands of our Lord for 5 years now. I miss her immensely! Thankfully, years ago we worked through all of this pain together and came out stronger on the other side. I was thankful she was willing to talk and feel through it all with me. She sought my forgiveness and I hers.

    We had almost 20 years of heart connection like none other. I am so grateful that I could accept God’s forgiveness and learn how to turn around and give the same to others.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane this morning Sarah! It’s such a reminder of that the hard work we put into relationships is worth it! I continually share with the people that come into the counseling room too; it’s worth it!

    Not all of us are able to work through this with our mothers; which is sad. Still, there is hope that forgiveness can be given and peace can permeate the soul.

    1. Laura, I received notice of your comment when I was at my parent’s house for coffee. My mom asked me to read it aloud to her. She shared that she has regret over the time lost with her on mother before her passing due to petty issues. She and I were so blessed by your thoughtful words and appreciate your willingness to add to the conversation on this subject. I couldn’t agree more that it is often difficult to accept our own moms because we see so much in them that we dislike in ourselves. But if we can find the strength to shift our focus to all of the tremendous beauty that is inside of us because it’s also inside of them, that shift in focus has the power to transform the context of the relationship.

  8. Sarah, I read this post just now. It’s unbelievable how similar our posts were, even down to the Scripture verses God used to show us the key to our breakthrough. Mine just happened yesterday morning as a result of reading Our Daily Bread, featuring Ephesians 4 and Suzie’s post, which brought everything together for me. God is amazing!

    My post is on Suzie’s #livefreeThursday post and my blog: https://clneis.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/taking-swings-at-the-wrong-enemy/ I’m also thankful my mother allowed me to write so candidly about our relationship. We are very blessed with our imperfect mothers and perfect God!

    1. I just read your story and hope my readers will click through also. What a brave and beautiful revelation of God’s truth and the freedom that comes from trusting Him to change us and give us peace in the process.

  9. Sarah, Two women in my Bible study asked for prayer that they would be able to love their moms better. I’m passing this on. Thank you both for being willing to use your pain to give others hope.

    1. Debbie, that is so encouraging to hear. I pray it is a blessing to them. I am not one to waste pain, that is for sure. I try to make the most of it because it’s…so painful! I am grateful for the ability put words to my journey and encourage others on their own.

  10. Oh, Sarah…this is so beautiful and so filled with wisdom. I am so grateful that Mama and I had special and precious moments of love and peace. It took many-a-year to get there, but we did. I have peace in my heart now that she is gone from this earth.
    I just thank you for writing and sharing this. So grateful I came by.

    1. What a testimony, Linda! I fully intend to have that testimony in my own life. I lost too many years to disillusion and disappointment. I’m ready to embrace a season of gratitude and gratefulness with my mom, and I look forward to making many new memories with her (as long as I’m blessed to have her here with me).

  11. Hi Sarah!

    Thank you for for being vulnerable enough to share your heart with us. I read your post this morning before I stepped a foot out of the bed and it really impacted me. Matter of fact, I had to put my phone down several times to digest what you had written. I’m a mom to 28 year old and three other girls as well, and I think about the mother/daughter dynamic often.

    Also, the way you connected the scriptures to it. The way you pointed out how God loves us – was quite compelling and makes me love the Lord even more.

    Thank you for sharing from your heart.

    Blessings my dear sister!
    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinisitry.com

    1. I am so grateful to know that God used my story to challenge and encourage you. I have two young daughters, and I hope to do well by them also. I know I will fail them more than I would like, but I am praying that I am always humble enough to ask their forgiveness and seek build an open and authentic relationship with them. The Lord is so good to us, and His love is incomparable. It is an honor to use my words to glorify His name and proclaim His good works. Thank you for stopping by and adding your unique perspective to our conversation.

  12. Sarah, this is one of those posts that stay with me. Running round and round my mind. Giving me cause to examine how I love others. Even though this isn’t specific to the relationship I have with my mom, it reverberates with other estranged and difficult relationships. It makes me wonder that, even though my mom and I are close, am I loving her well? How about my children? Am I loving them well? Or, will we struggle as they get older? Thank you so much for your heart to use your writing gift for God’s glory! You point to Him with such grace and beauty!
    I’m going to link to this post from a blog round-up I am doing on Monday about God’s love and healing!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  13. Sarah,
    One thing I can say for sure…so thankful you came to this honest and raw place while your mother is still here and you can wipe the slate clean and relate on a whole new level. I said some things to my dad that I wish I had never said and now he is gone and until I see him again in Heaven, I have to regret those words. God is also the great redeemer of lost time…He will bring beauty from the ashes of your relationship! Thank you for sharing so honestly!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    1. Bev, shame on my spam filter. It stuck your comment in there, so I’m just seeing it. My mom has told me she has some regrets about a few of her last interactions with her mother before she had a stroke and was unable to communicate. I too am grateful to remedy this situation now while we are both alive and well. I don’t expect smooth sailing from here on out, but by the grace of God, we will love one another better as long as we possibly can! Although you have regret, keep in mind that your father is not up in heaven steaming about how you spoke to him. He has no pain and no regrets, and once you are there with him…you won’t either. It’s so good to connect with you again, dear sister.

  14. I can totally relate to this as well. In the past I held onto a lot of hurts in my own relationship but learned to truly love and letting God show me how he loves us just as you said! Beautifully written and praise God for the breakthrough in your relationship!

  15. “When God looks at me, He does not see my past sins, because my slate has been wiped white as snow. God loves me because of who He is.” LOVE this! I remember the day I realized this and actually believe it deep in my soul. It changes everything! Beautifully written post, dear!

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I can’t take credit for the beauty in this article though, because the most precious parts of it are truths the Lord spoke to my heart and through His word. I am just so very grateful for the freedom these truths have brought into my life! Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation!

    1. That is my prayer (and my mom’s prayer), Melanie. I wrote this piece first and foremost for her and to document what God had done in my life. But we both felt like the story wasn’t supposed to end there because there are so many mothers and daughters who struggle to love one another well. Praying our story inspires others to find freedom in God’s truth also!

  16. Sarah, may the Lord use your post to touch many! I’m sure so many can relate. As adults, we continue to make our relationship with our parents all about US, how well they love US, and you’re reminding everyone that we can make it all about THEM. How can we love and bless THEM. Hard to make that flip, but so important. By God’s grace.

    1. Yes, Betsy, you are so right! I would challenge you to take the illustration one step further and make it all about HIM. That is where the real freedom lies. When our love for others flows out of our love for God, then our parents actions and reactions are no longer relevant to the equation. We love because He loves, end of story.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing this moving piece with us at the #LMMLinkup. I loved how it flowed from your heart and the vulnerability you showed. I can relate to failing at loving those closet to me like Jesus. I am inspired by how you are letting Jesus speak directly to your heart about this issue. The pictures of you and your mom are lovely, too!

  18. Thanks so much for this. Whenever I have trouble loving others (often), I go to the same Source – and remember His great love for me, not because I deserve it, and in spite of the fact that I don’t deserve it. I know that’s where to find it yet too often I struggle on my own, until I remember to look to Him. How very patient and gracious He is with us.

  19. Sarah, thank you for sharing your story and your brokenness so openly. By doing so you’ve opened a door for many to find healing. You’re so right, the real enemy was not your mom and I’m so pleased that you give the devil the knockout punch he deserved. Praying blessings for you and your mom as you continue to heal.

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement, Marva. I am enjoying the healing process and praying that my testimony encourages other to take a step towards forgiveness in their own relationships. Yay for knockout punches to the devil!!!

  20. Oh Sarah, I can SO relate. My mom and I are just walking through the healing process now. Thank you so much for being open and honest. You always inspire me! Love your heart for the Lord.

  21. Sarah, thank you for being brave enough to write this. I realized I had not been loving my mother well a few years ago and quite frankly I was so embarrassed by it I was ashamed. Maybe one day I’ll have guts like this to put it down simply to encourage others as you have in this post. I am much more intentional to spend time with her and listen and cherish her than I used to be. Now, I look at my 19 year old and wonder what our relationship will look like in a few years…thank you again.

    1. I cried for days once the Lord revealed my role in the brokenness I was experiencing in my relationship with my mom. I too was ashamed, embarrassed, and helpless. It is so important to remember that our moms are people too, and they long for love and acceptance in the same way that we long for theirs. The true freedom comes from learning to love others because of who God is, rather than based on their “lovability”. Thank you for adding to the conversation, and I do encourage you to write your own story. Even if it is just for you and your mom, putting pen to paper is so therapeutic.

  22. Sarah,

    Beautiful transparency here… and such a loving gift to plant in our hearts. This relationship between mother and daughter is such a tenuous area. We tend to dance through it and we forget that our hearts are aching with one another… our hearts long and ebb and flow with one another like no other relationship. I had a similar discussion with my mom though the words were different. She needed to be reminded that regret was not a cape God gave her to wear, nor one that I was handing to her to put on. Sometimes it was in the fact that I missed the chance to affirm her or perhaps her own heart’s susceptibility to listen to the enemy’s lies rather what she knew to be true.

    Thanks for reminding us to hold this relationship close and gentle and to be those who love well.
    Blessings!
    Dawn

    1. Dawn, I can see your tender heart in your words. You are so right about the longing for intimacy that exists between mother and daughter, but it is all too easy to pull back and put your guard up when things get tough. Satan truly used deceit to put a wall between my mom’s heart and my own. Just like your experience with your own mother, we were stuck in a cycle of regret and dissatisfaction. I love the freedom that comes from wiping the slate clean and tearing that wall down!

  23. Your boldness to share this will encourage many so many others who have been there. I’m glad you’ve experienced healing and truth in this relationship with your mom. And I’m glad you linked up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    1. Thank you, Kristen. Now for the hard work of maintaining the healing and truth in spite of the temptation to fall into old habits. God is faithful, and we are still experiencing a depth of relationship and love that we never had before.

  24. Sarah, this is so beautiful and full of truth. Thank you for sharing this story. I have not loved my own mother, at times, either. I like the point that you made about looking at her and loving her the way God loves us, unconditionally.
    Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week. I would love to feature this post on my blog this Friday.

  25. Oh wow. I’ve struggled with some hurt from the past but sadly I hadn’t really turned it around to see what my mother may struggle with, too. Thanks for sharing this!

  26. Well this comment is from Sarah’s Mom, Elizabeth. It has been a few months now since all of this has happened and it was an answer to prayer and ordained by God. I want to share with any who what to listen, the walls have come down. Yes, there was a stronghold, a wall that had been built between us over many years and once we were able to share from out hearts and God ministered, it has disappeared. I feel so loved and accepted by my daughter now. I feel free to be who I really am, and feel her love. I am so attracted to her!! I want to talk to her everyday and it is so easy now. When I see her, I see the love coming through her eyes and feel it in my heart. Yes, it is Jesus. It his His love that she loves me with. How could it be more perfect. Thank you Lord for speaking to my daughter and healing my wounds as well as hers. You are alive! Waiting, wanting us to enjoy you and each other! This is the greatest gift I could every receive from her. I am very grateful. Oh if only more people could wipe the slate clean and enjoy love again. There is no greater thing! And if you are a Christian and have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, He waits for you to turn to him, confess your sin and receive forgiveness. Once you receive his forgiveness, you can forgive others. Please do it!

  27. Not all mothers deserve to have ties with their child. Not all are the ‘loving nurturing’ as society makes people believe, whatever their reason is to treat their child horribly abuse is still abuse and they shouldn’t be enabled.

    1. Jess, I could not possibly agree with you more. Whenever there is abuse, either physical or emotional, love and restoration are not the solution. People who abuse their children should be turned into the authorities and those children should be relocated to a safe location. I would never encourage anyone to expose themselves to abuse or harm, even at the hands of their own mother.

      The message of this article is one of forgiveness and restoration in the context of a loving (although challenging) mother/daughter relationship. I recognize that not all mother/daughter relationships fall under this umbrella, so my advice should only be received and followed by women who have a healthy non-abusive mother.

  28. Very thoughtful…this is me right now. Feeling hopeless, see my mom and I have never had the loving mother/daughter relationship that most have…I have always dreamed of having one. But, you see I my mom has always pushed me away, said that she wished she had never had children, however I have done everything I could think to have that relationship I see in others. Even had her living with me for the last few years….till it just got to the point that nothing I did was right in and was stressing my marriage so now she is at my sister’s (which does have the relationship, I have always dreamed of). Even, going to see her this weekend, she would only speak to me if I asked her a question…and a hug well only cause I reached out. I still love her but am at a loss.

    1. Deborah, than you for sharing your pain with me today. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable with one another, yet I believe that speaking the truth in love never returns to us void. What makes me sad about your story is the fact that what you are describing is far too common in mother/daughter relationships. I’ve heard it time and again, and there is so much pain sitting right under the surface.

      We aren’t promised healthy and whole relationships with our earthly parents. We aren’t promised love and affection from the people we desire it from the most. We are, however, promised that there is a Love that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from. That is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      I am asking Him to fill that empty space in your heart today, to show you that your mother is unable to give what she has never received, to help you see that your worth is not determined by your mothers love. And I am also praying that He does a mighty work in both of your lives, but especially yours! He can meet all of those needs you are feeling, if you only trust Him with your heart.

  29. I’m going through a season of brokenness right now and the one person who I thought would forever be by side isn’t. My oldest daughter, who I love so deeply, knows nothing about what I’m going through as I speak. I loved my mom, who is now deceased, from the depth of my soul. I even had the privilege of taking care of her two years before her passing. I know deep in my heart that God isn’t through with my daughter, yet. I’m confident that one day she will be able to love me unconditionally. I just pray that it’s before God calls me home…I would just like to ask all daughter’s to love their Mother hard and good, while they still have a chance. Once they’re gone, it’s too late and you only get one. Cherish your Mom for who is, not for who you want her to be. It is by God’s grace that He chose her to be your Mother. And we all know that God doesn’t make mistakes. To all the Mother’s who’ll have the pleasure of reading this blog, I love you but God loves you more. Stay blessed and be encouraged!!!

    1. Dee, I am so sorry for the pain that is so evident in your words. What a powerful encouragement to love our mother’s hard and good while we can. You are so right, mothers are a gift and a treasure. I am raising two little girls of my own right now and they have no clue the sacrifices I make on a daily basis to guarantee their wellbeing. God doesn’t make mistakes, and my prayer for you today is that you would be encouraged by His love. His unconditional and everlasting love for you, my dear. Be blessed!

  30. I just stumbled upon your blog via a pin to this post on Pinterest. Thank you. While my relationship with my mom will surely benefit from a renewed commitment on my part to love her better, this post resonated more with my relationship with my dad. I really needed to hear this, today.

    “I will never be able to love you as perfectly or unconditionally as God has loved you, but I will dedicate the rest of my life to loving you better.”

    I will begin praying each morning and ask our Heavenly Father for the strength to see both my mom and dad through His eyes, to love them both with His love. My relationship with my dad has been strained over the years and I am just beginning to realize how much of that is because of my failure to try to love him unconditionally. Thank you Jesus for using Sarah’s blog post to show me more clearly what I have failed to realize for so long. God bless you, Sarah!

    A Sister In Christ.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share a piece of your story with me. I cannot tell you how much freedom I have experienced since making this commitment to my mom. Somehow it changed nothing and everything all at the same time. Joining you in prayer this morning, asking God to equip you to love your parents unconditionally and experience the transformative freedom this kind of love can bring into relationship.

  31. Reading your words was such a blessing. I have felt like a failure of a daughter for some time. I know I have caused my mom so much pain and it rips my heart out…especially now that I’m a mother. It sickens me that I am capable of repeatedly hurting one of the people I love most in this world. I want to love her unconditionally, God knows she deserves it! What steps did you take to change your behavior and heart toward her? Thank you also for reminding me of the need to regularly and passionately pray about our relationship. 🙌🏻🙌🏻

    1. Kristen, my heart aches for you and your mom. I am all too familiar with the feelings of failure, defeat, and hopelessness in my mother-daughter relationship. We do tend to hurt the ones we love most, and it is all so confusing! It’s been a long journey for my mother and me, and I hope to write more of our story in the future (specifically the steps we took to improve our relationship). But for now, I hope to encourage you with this:

      The day I wrote this blog post, a dramatic paradigm shift occurred in my life. I chose to shift my focus off my mom’s insufficiency and onto God’s sufficiency, creating a culture of grace and acceptance in our relationship. When I grabbed hold of God’s promises and surrendered my brokenness to the Lord, He filled me up and empowered me to extend His unconditional love to my mother.

      I discovered a new kind of joy that comes from serving God alone, and His peace guarded my heart from the selfishness, jealousy, and indifference of my past. I learned how to be patient with my mom and treat her with the kindness and gentleness she deserved. As I grabbed hold of God’s goodness, I realized that my identity was no longer dependent on the affirmation of my mother. I now have a heavenly perspective on my role as daughter, and am learning to treat my mother with gentleness and self-control.

      We have a long way to go, but this blog post was the beginning, and we have experienced so much healing over the past 9 months. Saying a prayer for your mother-daughter relationship today! And sending you a hug…

  32. Do you know how I happened upon this blog post? I googled “how to love my mother.” This wasn’t the first choice to click on, however, as I passed on choosing each link offered before me, I stopped at this one. I sat for 5 minutes (I kid you not)reading the title before opening it. Thoughts during those few minutes: “When I’ve failed to love my mother…seriously God? I’m painstakingly yearning for healing in my very broken mother/daughter relationship and you put this in my heart to read? When my mom has critiqued every aspect of my life, forced me into isolating myself and my feelings from anyone else, sent me away to live a state away from her, and so much more that taught me there are stipulations to love…you are pointing me towards a blog saying I’ve failed to love my mom?”

    Thoughts after reading this blog post: lots of tears are prevalent for one. I have so failed my Papa above. God, who loves me as the hot mess I am & with all of my imperfections and flaws loves my mom identically. He loves her despite her harsh words, despite her judging demeanor, despite her anger. He loves her despite the mistakes she made as a mom. He loves her for all the right things she did as a mom. He loves her when she’s hurting just like He is loving me now through my heart. When I step into his shoes and look at my mom through his beautiful eyes I see something completely different than what I do as a flawed and hurt daughter. I see a mom who is hurting too, a mom who longs for healing and reconciliation with her daughter, a mom who yearns for forgiveness. Talk about a throat punch/face slap/heart twisting aha moment.

    I have been struggling so hard with forgiveness. I want nothing more than to heal my relationship with my mom. And I pray for it daily. But somehow in the midst of my hurt, I allowed the devil to get a stronghold on all those little hurts and twist it into a lie that my mom doesn’t deserve to be loved. After every line of scripture I have read, every verse that spoke love into my heart…I allowed my heart to be filled with anger and resentment. I failed to let go and give God the power and ability to heal our relationship. I basically said I can do this alone, and I’ll do it on my time in my way with my specifications. And now I see that God was teaching me a lesson by leading me to your blog. Love more. Love unconditionally. Love like he loves. I hope and pray my mom and I can get to the place we need to be. I vow to try and love her better. Thank you for your words. Sorry for the novel of a response.

    1. Jessica,

      I am on a blogging break, but your comment arrived in my e-mail inbox and I simply could not let it sit until I return to blogging in a few weeks. My heart breaks with you, because the struggle you reveal through your words is the very same struggle I’ve hidden for the past 20 years of my life. It is like I lived in freedom and truth in every aspect of my life, EXCEPT my relationship with my mom.

      The moment I wrote about in this post was my own personal punch/face slap/heart twisting aha moment, and it changed EVERYTHING for me. There is freedom, Jessica! There is hope for people like you and me (and our mothers). God is capable from rescuing us from the lies that have held us captive for far too long.

      I would love to keep in touch with you, as I am writing a book on this very subject in 2017. It’s just too important, and Satan is destroying too many mother-daughter relationships. It’s time for us to invite God into the most complex relationship in our lives, and ask Him to teach us how to love our imperfect moms.

      So, when you hit a road block or stumble somewhere along the way, drop me an email. I may not have the answers, but I understand the battle and have found great freedom in recent months. I’d also encourage you to read my blog posts entitled: “Broken Eggshells and Careless Words,” “God’s Love Empowers us to be Lovely,” and “Here’s What Happened when I Chose to Forgive My Mom.” They are follow up posts and I pray will encourage you further.

      Praying for you and your mom today and in the upcoming weeks. It will not be an easy road to walk, but it will be worth it!

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