A Story on Forgiveness + Restoration
From as far as back I could remember, my mother and I resented each other. Growing up, my relationship with her was not the idealistic “Gilmore Girls”-type of relationship. I never understood why God didn’t give me a mother who could love me unconditionally. Someone who didn’t shame me or verbally abuse and emotionally neglect me.
Much of my high school years consisted of sneaking out of the house because I was trying to find something out there that was lacking at home. I was on the search for any sense of identity, freedom, comfort and affection. These were the very things that felt like my mom was selfishly withholding from me. At some point in my life, I have expressed to others that I would never cry at my mother’s funeral. I’ve cried enough from what she had put me through.
Fast forward to 4 ½ years after my fifteen-year-old brother’s death, I decided to end a troubled relationship I had with my boyfriend of almost three years. Both events caused me such heavy stress and eventually, took a toll on me. It caused me to seriously reflect back on my life. My mom came to mind and how I needed to find a place of resolution with her. I decided to call her and when she picked up, I remember saying the following words that would impact our relationship forever:
“Hey mom, listen closely. I wanted to let you know that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what happened from our past. Don’t apologize back. Just know that I love you.”
I could hear her voice tremble a little bit, “I love you too, honey.”
That was the first time my mom made me cry tears of joy.
We both needed time to recognize our brokenness and heal. The unfortunate part was it took a loss of a loved one to realize this. We suffered for many years picking up our fragmented pieces and figuring out how we can adapt back into each other’s lives. My mom had a lot to heal from her past and she couldn’t do that without seeing her reflection through our broken mirror.
It was definitely a process but I truly believe God used this time of brokenness to allow us truly see ourselves, piece by piece and realize the value of our relationship and in each other. Today, we can’t go on a day without thinking about each other endearingly.
A lot of people think the process of forgiveness is hearing an apology first and then accepting it. That’s false. It’s entitlement. Pride is dangerous. Are we truly forgiving if we are only willing to accept what we hear and/or what we see? Forgiving is pardoning yourself from bitterness. It’s freeing from chains that are attached to a heavy stone weighed with anger and blame. Not only did I forgive her but I decided to also forgive myself. That made all the difference.
I realized my biggest fault was continuously closing my heart to her. When I decided to finally allow my heart to open up, it surprisingly caused my mom’s heart to open as well. After I reconciled with her and apologized for what has happened in the past, I did not expect anything in return from her. I just knew she deserved to receive love from her daughter and that was enough.
I value my mom and my love for her is stronger than ever!