I see you.
Sitting there beside me, so full of life and awake to every little experience… You are so ready to tackle this world you’re growing up in. Your eyes are so expressive, so alight with curiosity and compelling insights sprouting from the thrill of mastering these few short years so far. You are growing so fully and so deeply into a woman I cherish… into a friend I’ve been praying for my whole life.
You are growing up past needing, or wanting, my advice. As you slide in behind the wheel of our car and pump up your music, calmly checking mirrors and laughing at some joke your brother spouts from the back seat… I see a glimpse of you a few years from now… your own kids in the back seat.
Lord, how I have messed up in your early years! As I watch you move through your day, move away from dependance on me to independently managing your schedule, juggling work and school and sports, I see the scars…
…Those deep gashes I left on you out of my own pain and lack in my youthful ignorance and broken promises – those things I swore to myself I’d never do… the kind of marriage I swore I’d never have… the kind of mom I promised myself I’d absolutely be… different than my mom.
I cut my motherhood teeth on you, baby girl. And not so gently. You came into this world in the throes of a marriage struggling to survive… and a very young woman lost in disillusionment as reality of all I swore to myself came crashing in around me. I lashed out at you blindly with such a barbed tongue, so full of the only way I could express my pain… anger and impatience. And so full of shelf-loathing over the destruction I was causing, I often woke with my pillow soaked from tears over you… with no word to express the desperate hopelessness of what felt I was loosing forever.
The moment my soul felt warmth from a Love I desperately needed, I knew… this was my only hope of not repeating the past.
You’ve watched this transformation in me. My precious woman. And with such incredible patience and grace, you’ve taken me in stride. And as I watch you now, and see the desperation of impatience and perfection I so carelessly planted in you, my one prayer is that you learn the art of forgiving.
The kind of forgiving I’m talking about isn’t easy… at least, it hasn’t been for me.
It’s the kind that’s pointed inward… the kind that looks in the mirror at the raw, ugly, undeserving nakedness of self, and offers complete immunity.
This kind of forgiving is probably the most soul rocking, gut-wrenching, paradigm shifting thing you’ll ever endeavor to do. Because it means you recognize the fullness of how little you actually control, and how utterly reliant you are on the One who Loves you first… and not on your own merit.
The day I recognized this was the beginning of my complete transformation. I could forgive my parents. I could forgive your daddy. I could forgive relatives and friends for the deepest betrayals and wounds… but when it came to forgiving myself, I just couldn’t fathom it.
I mean, look at who I hurt!
But Holy Spirit leaned in close and whispered,
“every second of your childhood, every mistake your parents made, every lack they parented from, ever experience and encounter you had as a child, haven’t I woven it all into who you are now? Didn’t I use it all to prepare you for the future ahead? I never left you, I never let you out of My sight. I provided for you in every area you lacked provision, and I took care of you intimately. Why don’t you believe I’m and now doing the same for your own children, these little ones that I created within you, these precious ones that I dreamed up and knit together… are you so much more powerful than My love for them that I can’t also use your mistakes and lack to prepare them for their futures?”
In that moment I realized the only way I would ever be able to love you, to truly love you the way you deserve to be loved, is by first accepting that I am Loved – undeservingly, completely unworthy of, totally powerless to attain unconditional, unrelenting, indefinable Love.
And my prayer as your mama is that you learn to do it now, before you even have a chance at really messing anything up. Because, my beautiful child, you will come to a place in your life where you realize that everything you know now is really no knowledge at all, and you’re going to have to face yourself in the mirror. And when you do, my beloved daughter, my prayer is that you see yourself through eyes of Love.