As we approach another Mother’s Day, my daughters asked me the same question they ask every year: Mom, What do you want this year? This year I told them the same thing I tell them every year, that all four of them are my Mother’s Day presents. Four beautiful, intelligent, talented, sensitive daughters, and lovers of the LORD.
What more could a mother ask for?
In the hierarchy of mothers in our family, though, I’ve noticed a gradual release over the years. My mother has released me and I have released my daughters. We honor one another’s choices and God-given freedom.
Unfortunately, I have seen women in my family and in-laws who won’t let go of their children keeping them under their spell and control. Control interferes with the adult children’s emotional development, spiritual maturity, marriages, and families. Control is not love. It’s a cage. It’s a curse. It’s witchcraft. Witnessing these tendencies convicted me deeply to steer clear of that error.
For my mother to release me, I had to “nudge” her with a few unpleasant encounters, one over a family dinner at the beach. These times were necessary to successfully shift the energy between us. She now knows where she ends and where I begin. Our relationship has been a challenge but has settled in a good place now that we are each living our own lives.
When we are children, we obey our parents (Eph. 6:1). Once we become adults, however, we honor them (Matt. 19:19). Setting boundaries with mothers is one way we can honor them. Boundaries keep their issues from spilling into the rest of the family. Without boundaries, their issues can spill out and take over the whole family.
When we honor our mothers with boundaries we give the LORD room to work in their hearts. When we live enmeshed with them, we interfere with His work in their heart and ours. God works on His children individually.
For me to release my daughters, I had to realize that they’re not mine, they never were, and that God has an awesome plan for each one. Although I gave each one to the LORD when they were conceived, I had to emotionally release each one in real time as they matured. So, I voluntarily gave them to the LORD with the intention of avoiding repeating the family tendency and watching God work in their lives.
I don’t know how it was for my mom to release me, but for me to release my children, I found that letting go was simple, but not easy. The bottom line was trust. Trust is usually the bottom line issue we face when we struggle with God. I had to ask myself:
Do I trust Him?
Is He trustworthy?
Is He good enough?
Is He big enough?
Is He strong enough?
Is He attentive enough?
These questions put my relationship with the LORD under the light of scrutiny. They forced me to decide who I believe, who I trust in and who I rely on. But mostly, I had to decide who’s God and who’s not.
I’m relieved to have delegated their lives to Him. I have four less burdens to bear. Boundaries make life and relationships easier, and open the cage door for us to do the will of God.
I’ve always heard it said, as our mothers age that we become more like the parent and they like the child. Well, this is happening before my eyes. I pray to be as good a parent, or better, to her as she was to me.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Matthew 19:19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Romans 8:28 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.