The freedom to love

“Deeper and deeper must be the dying, for wider and fuller is the lifetide that it is to liberate–no longer limited by the narrow range of our own being, but with endless powers of multiplying in other souls. Death must reach the very springs of our nature to set it free: it is not this thing or that thing that must go now: it is blindly, helplessly, recklessly, our very selves. A dying must come upon all that would hinder God’s working through us–all interests, all impulses, all energies that are “born of the flesh”–all that is merely human and apart from His Spirit. Only thus can the Life of Jesus, in its intensity of love for sinners, have its way in our souls. ”  I Lilias Trotter from “Parables of the Cross”


Growing up I had a lot of problems in my relationship with my Mom.  It seems like over the years we fought more than we ever got along,  and for so long I was haunted by lost time.  Looking back it seems like all I ever wanted was her love, and it was daily fight and struggle trying to figure out how to go about that, and I never did get it right.  I became a Christian at 38 and I understood forgiveness, but having gone through so many painful struggles I still wanted someone, or something to “make everything better”. I thought if my relationship with my Mom, or friends or a spouse was working it was for me…it took me years to realize the kind of love that Jesus Christ requires of me is just the opposite but I was still so needy, so fractured and broken and like Humpty Dumpty thinking someone needed to put me back together again. Thank goodness a few years ago my Mom and I finally got that relationship I had been dreaming of.

It’s funny, all I had to do was stop expecting anything and just love her.

We talked every day and I was so happy that when I called her or went to see her she actually wanted to see me, she loved me and I loved her. Sadly several years later she got sick and ended up with dementia and our precious time together was cut short. It seemed like I was cheated in a way, we had only a few years but God is merciful and He allowed me to realize that those two brief years were precious. I was not owed any more and those few times are a gift.  I have had to learn to see my Mother as the same woman, but with a completely different personality and it’s been so difficult. That woman who was so strong she survived cancer 5 times now has no idea how to use a straw. It’s humbling and I depend on God’s grace to not break down into tears constantly, when I am weak….he’s like the Incredible Hulk. I could never do this without Him.

She is is very ill now,  89 and  her death hovers around me like a misty cloud. Some days I can only see the rain and winds but other days it’s like a veil, it shields me from the reality of pain and the fear of losing her. I am able to tune out the turbulent feelings and see her just as she is, a gift to me and I am so thankful. The simple act of feeding her or stroking her hair is a blessing. I enjoy her snoring, her rare smiles or kisses.  I was driving home today and I realized after 9 years of salvation I think I finally understand what liberation and freedom we have in Christ, even in ways we seldom think about. I am free from years of pain and trauma, I can love my Mother just to love her. I don’t need anyone to fix me, or even comfort me. Christ has done all that and continues to. Through Him I can just love people, no strings. And like Him, that’s more than enough for me.