I hold my mother responsible for my physical disability. God sent me into this world healthy but because of her negligence my health was ruined. She lives with me. I forgive her but her selfishness is always there. Looking in the mirror reminds me each moment of her abuse and neglect. I need to get away but circumstances don’t allow it. How can I find peace within myself?
MG from Whittier, California
Honor your father and mother (Part 1)
This is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever attempted to answer. I’ve never been in your shoes or anywhere near shoes like yours. Who am I to give advice about handling an offense that is greater than I can image, an offense that you will live with your whole life? My first thought was: I understand why you wonder how to have peace and I haven’t a clue how to tell you to find it.
Then, in praying over your email a stray thought entered my mind. I remembered a line from a book I haven’t looked at for a long time. Somehow it seemed like a starting point for a response. I dug the book out and re-read Joyce Meyer’s Beauty for Ashes in search of the quote. Finally, near the end I found the line I want to share with you.
First a word about Joyce and her story. Joyce Meyers HAS been in your kind of shoes yet today she stands emotionally free, a powerful and anointed teacher in the Body of Christ. For the first eighteen years of life however, she was severely sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused by her father. Her mother knew what was happening but looked the other way so she also bears responsibility.
In Beauty for Ashes Joyce tells her personal story and how even under her devastating circumstances she secured the very peace you are looking for. The book is a godsend for anyone who needs emotional healing on any level so I heartily recommend it to you and any other readers in search of freedom from past events.
Now to the thing that drew me back to the book. Joyce tells how she forgave her parents, especially her father, but her relationship with them continued to be challenging for her. Over a year’s time God kept dealing with her to “honor your father and mother.” (Exodus 20:12) But she couldn’t figure out how to do that.
I’ll pick this up now in her own words. “Then I heard Him say, ‘Honor them in your heart,’ to which I replied, ‘What can I honor them for?’ He showed me that I could honor them and appreciate them, in my heart, for giving me my life, for feeding and clothing me and for sending me to school.”
Now I ask you: what can you honor your mother for? She did a terrible thing. That’s true. Yet, what can you honor your mother for? God never told Joyce that what her father did to her was okay. God didn’t approve it. But God still saw that there were some things that she could honor her parents for and those things would be steps to freedom FOR HER. Can you take the same steps? In your heart? Yes you can.
What costs most is worth most (Part 2)
If you decide you want real peace and freedom it is going to cost you and I won’t lie to you about that. Dealing with a lifelong disability that was totally unnecessary is a heavy burden. It burdens your body but in truth, it doesn’t have to also burden your soul for good. Are you ready for the hard work?
I have never been where you are now but I have experienced some heavy offenses that were terrible to me. I found out as I worked through forgiveness and recovery that I had to discipline myself in some very unpleasant ways. When I stuck with the program I made progress and when I got sloppy I regressed.
Reject self-pity! Make that a zero tolerance item. Don’t daydream or engage in “what ifs.” These things lead to wasted time and do not contribute to freedom or peace one iota. Start working on thanksgiving for every blessing you DO have. There are many and you may have overlooked them when you look in the mirror and are overwhelmed with your disability. Cultivate gratitude; it bears a bigger fruit tree than you might initially imagine.
Take a small step and give yourself time. Emotional healing is a process, not a drive-thru window. Ask God for a new life with purpose and significance. He made you for a reason and he was fully aware of what was going to happen to you. That doesn’t deter him from giving you a beautiful life. It may seem impossible to you now but no more impossible than what Joyce Meyer expected from her fractured life.
Finally, pray for blessings to also abound into your mother’s life. Yes it is hard but do it anyhow everyday. Maybe he isn’t done with her quite yet either. What costs the most is worth the most. You want peace? Work for it. It’s priceless!