The Healing Power of Forgiveness – Part 2 – YES, It Means Boundaries

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When we truly forgive, the debt is paid, just as our debt was paid when Christ died on the cross. As I stated in the first part of this series, we can only reach healing when we forgive those who have hurt us. And, for those of us who are Christians, it is also part of our faith to try to forgive others just as Christ forgave us.

Our forgiveness is not filled with contingencies. Giving forgiveness should not be based on getting anything in return from those who have hurt us. First of all, besides an apology, what could anyone possibly give us to repair the hurt or damage? And second, we may never get an apology or even an acknowledgement that we were harmed or hurt in anyway. In fact, if we were to tell a person that we forgive them, their response could be anything from remorse to indifference…and everything in between. Forgiving is not about what we get. We forgive because it sets us free!

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But, being forgiving does not mean we can’t put boundaries in place. It doesn’t mean we have to accept the unacceptable not does it mean we are willing to accept abuse. As Christians, we are to love unconditionally. But, boundaries have nothing to do with our love for an individual, even if we may not be liking them very much. Establishing boundaries means that we acknowledge our value and worth as God sees us.

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Boundaries are critical to moving forward. And boundaries are critical to keeping safe. I mean…what good is there to healing from prior hurts if you allow someone to hurt you all over again?

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Some boundaries are obvious. In cases of sexual abuse, boundaries may mean limited access to you and your family. Unfortunately, families frequently wear blinders and refuse to accept that the abuse ever happened. If you were abused as a child, there is no way that you would ever leave your own children alone with the predator. And, while other family members might not understand why you aren’t just moving on, ultimately, you need to protect your children.

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Another obvious situation where boundaries are needed is when a friend betrays you. While it is important to forgive them for both your sakes, it is highly unlikely that you will ever trust that ‘friend’ the same way again. Nor will you ever return to your former intimate closeness.

Other situations requiring boundaries may not be so obvious. Sometimes we have to limit people’s access to us simply because of the mess they have made in their own lives. And, if they aren’t even willing to acknowledge that mess, we may feel the need to become completely unavailable to them. Our love for them doesn’t change; we just have to restrict them from our lives simply because of the damage that spills over because of their drama. I think women, particularly, have a problem with this. Although it is said that men need to fix things, I find it is women who want to fix relationships.

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 When I decided to forgive my father for the years of physical and verbal abuse, that also meant that I redefined our relationship. Even though I was adult in all other aspects of my life, I realized that when dealing with my father, I became a little girl again. My reactions to him were immature and willful. And I was disrespectful as well. When I was a child and living in his household, I had no control over my life. I certainly couldn’t openly disagree with him because I feared what he would do to me.

When I reached adulthood and lived on my own, I knew he could no longer physically hurt me or ‘punish’ me, so I took every opportunity I could to push his buttons. What I didn’t realize was that in acting immaturely with and toward him, I did nothing to earn his respect. And, so despite my thinking otherwise, my father continued to punish me by withholding his love and approval. Regardless of how much I claimed to hate him, I really did want to know my father loved me.

In this case, the boundaries I set had more to do with my behavior than it did with his. While I wanted my father to respect my abilities and my decisions, I needed to also recognize when I was acting with disrespect, my father shut me out. He was then incapable of hearing any truth in my words, regardless of how well informed I might be. It took a lot of self-restraint on my part. And, a great deal of biting my tongue!

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In the end, boundaries really have to do with trust. The less we trust someone, the stronger and bigger the boundaries need to be. And, whether or not the boundaries ever come down is not dependent on time or distance…it should only be dependent upon whether trust is restored.

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The Healing Power of Forgiveness – Part 1

In 1988 my life went through a major upheaval. Although I had regularly attended church as a child and had even accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior at age 17, I didn’t really mature as a Christian until I was much older. I had to go through a personal health crisis to really understand letting go of my control and turning everything over to Christ. And through that came a realization that healing of my soul and spirit would come only through forgiveness.

ImageAt 37 I was happily married with two children. (I had been married previously with disastrous results.) Bob and I felt that our life was really perfect. We got along beautifully, doing almost everything together. We both had good jobs and were fairly secure financially. Our children were good kids. We had lots of friends and entertained frequently. We even had a nice “nest egg” of savings to help in an emergency.

Bob had also supported me and loved me in ways I had never had from any man in my life. His shoulders were broad enough to carry the emotional baggage I had brought into our marriage.

We did not go to church, however. While I often hungered to be closer to God, Bob did not have the same feelings. Having been raised in the Catholic Church, his only experience with religion was of a stern and punishing God. Church was always a chore to him and he had no desire to be closer to God.

In addition, Bob is one of these people who always tried to do the right thing. He is “just and fair”, so he felt that being a “good person” was enough. Because he didn’t understand the concept of “grace” as opposed to “works”, he didn’t know that his being a good person was not sufficient for salvation. And, unfortunately, I wasn’t knowledgeable enough myself or mature enough in my Christian walk to explain the difference to him.

While Bob didn’t prohibit my going to the church of my choice — he did not encourage it either. And, because of our lifestyle of doing everything together, it just didn’t seem right to go without him.

Then God decided to wake me up a bit.

On March 15, 1988, both Bob and I came down with what we thought was the flu. The difference was that Bob recovered and got well, I did not.

Over the next several months, my health rapidly deteriorated to a point that I was almost completely bedridden. Whenever we did go out, I was frequently in a wheelchair because I was too frail to walk any distance.

I was hospitalized on several occasions. Twice I was put in the intensive care unit; once I was in the coronary care unit. Various parts of my body, to include my heart and kidneys, progressively shut down. I had every imaginable invasive procedure done in an attempt to reach a diagnosis. I was tested for every known virus. I had specialists for every function of my body. It was all to no avail. My internist later told me that I was literally dying in front of his eyes and he was unable to help me.

Our “perfect life” slowly became unraveled by my illness. Every activity hinged on whether or not I would be up to participating. My children would kiss me good-bye in the morning as they left for school and then return in the afternoon to find me just as they left me – lying in bed. Our savings was rapidly dwindling.

Six months after I first became ill, I found myself again in the intensive care unit. I had experienced a grand mal seizure and my condition was critical. As I lay there I made what I call my “foxhole promise” to God. I promised Him that if I was ever well enough, I would return to church and begin my journey back to Him. (Although it may seem insignificant, this was no small promise. I was so disabled that I had no idea how I would get myself to church. I didn’t think that Bob would take me. But I had faith that God would work it out.)

Three weeks later I sat in my doctor’s office almost completely recovered!! Dr. Emery looked at me and said that he didn’t recognize me as the same woman who had been in the hospital three weeks earlier and who had been coming to him almost daily for months. I looked and felt well. I told him that God had healed me. This man of science stared at me and said that he couldn’t disagree. He went on to say that there was nothing that he or any of the specialists had done, no procedure that they had performed, no treatment, no medication, that could account for my recovery. If I said it was a miracle, he was not going to doubt me.

A few weeks later, I went to Calvary Bible Church to fulfill my promise to God. My daughter was already involved in the High School ministry there and I figured that Calvary was as good a place as any to start. A few months later, our son starting coming to church and less that two years later, Bob joined us and subsequently accepted Christ as his own personal Savior. We were active in the Calvary family for almost 13 years.

If the story ended here, it would be a tremendous testimony to God’s healing power and grace. However, while I had asked for God to heal my body, God also knew that there was a hurt, angry, little girl inside of me who was tremendously in need of healing as well.Image

You see, I was abused as a child. My father was violent man who often beat my mother, brother and me. In addition, my grandfather also sexually abused me off and on from before the age of 5 until age 16.. As a result of this, to this day I have blocked out almost all memories of my childhood – even the good ones. I spent most of my life building up walls so that people could not know the real me. I knew that if they found out about the real me, they would be as disgusted with me as I was. I still have difficulty with being physically touched. Even when Bob and I first married, I kept waiting for him to betray and hurt me. Every man that I had ever loved had done so, so I expected that Bob would do the same. It took him years to gain my trust.

During my illness, my relationship with my father, while always volatile, had exacerbated to a point that we could barely tolerate one another. Most encounters ended up with a screaming match. Phone calls ended with one of us hanging up on the other. It had reached a point that I was consumed with rage against him – even when we weren’t speaking. While I am unable to remember most of my childhood, I was somehow able to remember every “wrong” – real or imagined. And I kept a mental list of these wrongs that I kept checking off as if it were a some evidence proving why I was the injured party in this relationship. I had finally decided that I was going to make a break from my father, conclusively, and tell him that he was “dead to me”. I was actually looking forward to the confrontation which I knew would happen soon.Image

This was where I was mentally and emotionally that morning I went to Calvary the first time, in fulfillment of my promise to God. It was very hard for me to go without Bob. He was my emotional support and my rock. I sat alone in the Worship Center – not really knowing a soul. And, who should be preaching but Dewey Bertolini. Dewey was formally the Youth Pastor at Calvary and he had gone on to be an inspirational speaker – particularly with youth groups. This particular morning, he was sharing his personal testimony.

Like me, Dewey had grown up with a controlling, horribly abusive father. Dewey and I had also accepted Christ as our personal savior at about the same age – our late teens. But unlike me, Dewey had grown in his walk with the Lord. He had actively sought to learn and become close to God. In his quest for truth, he had learned that he could not begin to accept the love and forgiveness of his heavenly Father until he was willing to love and forgive his earthly father.

I was so convicted by those words. On one hand, I was sharing with anyone who would listen that God had worked a miracle in my life and had healed me. On the other, I spoke with venomous rage and hatred against my own father. I was the worse possible witness to the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. That morning as I listened to Dewey, I was so ashamed that I cried. But this time, I was not ashamed because of the things that had happened to me. Rather I was ashamed of my own faults – the wrongs I had committed to others – and the hatred that I had harbored and nurtured in my heart. That morning, I was crucified along with Christ for the sins I had committed.

I cried as Dewey spoke about letting go of the cross of anger. He went further to speak about how sometimes we view our anger as a source of pride – a badge of honor. I felt that God was speaking directly to me through Dewey, and I was humbled by his words. Dewey explained that it could take years for us to fully forgive those who had hurt us, but that we should remember that we were already forgiven in that moment that Christ paid for our own sins on the cross.Image

That morning, I surrendered my anger and placed it at the foot of God. I realized that the abuse was not who I was. I was the one who had made it my identity. It may have been something that happened to me, but it was not how Christ saw me. And that morning, when I came to church to fulfill my promise to God for healing my body, the first step was taken in healing my heart and soul. The first step was taken that I might let go of my past and live.

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From that point, I changed how I reacted to my father. While I could not change him, I could change how I responded to him. No longer would I argue. One person can’t fight alone and my father and I couldn’t have a fight unless I was a willing participant. As my responses to him changed, so did his responses to me. It didn’t happen overnight. I would often return to my old behavior, but I now knew how to stop myself and surrender the anger to God.

It only took a few months for my physical body to return to health. But even after 20 years, there is still much work to do with my fragile heart and soul. I realized that I must also forgive my grandfather (who died years ago) for his abuse and my first husband for his betrayal of me. That is still a work in progress.

I am humbled daily when I see how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go. I know that I will never be deserving of the sacrifice that God made for me when he sent his Son to the cross

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But, remember when I said that my father and I used to end most conversations in anger? That too changed over time.

In 1998 my father had quadruple bypass surgery. While always an active man, he never fully recovered from that surgery. One Saturday while we were visiting him, he and I had some time alone together. For the first time in my life, he told me just how proud he was of me and of what I had accomplished. We parted saying goodbye in a new way. He said, “I love you, Baby.” And I said, “I love you, Daddy.”

He passed away gently in his sleep two days later.

Weekend DIY – Family Inspired Wall Grouping

My walls and every free surface in my home are covered with photos of my family. I have numerous pictures of our parents, children, and grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews. There are even a few pictures of my husband and I. (I hate pictures of myself.)

Inspired by several Pinterest pins, I wanted to do a grouping that was family inspired, but not necessarily pictures of family. And, I wanted it to do it cheaply. I was able to complete the grouping below for approximately $30.00. And, I think it’s fabulous.

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First, I got the 3 foot long Pottery Barn shelf for $5.00 off a community resale site. There were a few nicks in the black paint which we filled in with black permanent marker pen. The nicks are now totally invisible. This shelf was so easy to hang that I might even have been willing to pay full-price for it. (Nah…only kidding.)

For the next step, I was inspired by Whitney at the Shabby2Chic blog. (http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2011/11/letter-photo-art-for-christmas.html).

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Whitney did a craft of her children’s name which she called “Letter Photo Art”. She got frames at the dollar store, painted them an off white and removed the glass and backing. She added the letter art in the frames and mounted them on a board she painted pink. That’s pretty simple. But, the best part is where she got the letter art. Whitney found a GREAT flickr photo site by Leo Reynolds. He has posted hundreds of photos of each and every letter. You can access the site by going to the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/collections/72157594587080023/. Leo has offered his letter art for free as long as it’s used for non-commercial purposes. Thank you, Leo!!

So, I took Whitney’s idea and did the following grouping of frames:

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“Raub” is our last name. I purchased the 4″ X 6″ black frames at Walmart for $1.97 each. Like Whitney, I decided to go with the black/white/grey color scheme for my letters. And, I also uploaded the letters to my computer and then sent them off to Walgreen’s photo department. Total cost for the glossy prints was 20 cents each or a total of 80 CENTS!!

Just an aside note, Whitney and I decided to go with the monochrome colors for our letters, but, there are letters available in every color and font, as well as upper and lower case.

When I bought the frames, I also found the following plaque at Walmart for only $6.00.

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 And the following plaque came from the Family Christian Store for half-price at $9.00. I wanted there to be a spiritual quote or symbol in the grouping because that is very important to us as a family.

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Lastly, I found the following moveable wall sticker at the Dollar Store! I thought it tied everything together.

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So here is the entire grouping again. I hope this inspires you to do something for your own family.

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DIY Saturday – PVC Tote Storage Organizer

When I started this blog I said that I would include different kinds of posts…including craft ideas. This will be my first post of something my hubby and I actually did in our garage. It was one of the first ideas I pinned from Pinterest and it was inspired by the following picture:

by Studio 5

by Studio 5


This seemed like a perfect solution to our problem. We have over 50 totes of various sizes stacked in our garage…most of them holding Christmas decorations. (I go a little crazy at Christmas time.) Anyway, it never failed. Regardless of how we planned, we would always need the tote at the bottom of the stack. At the end of Christmas, we would take extra time and put the totes back in a particular order…knowing how we typically decorate the house. It didn’t matter…we would still need totes at the bottom of the stack. With a system similar to the above, we could access every single tote individually…whenever we needed it.

Now, the above picture looks wonderful because all the totes are the same size (and color). My totes all hold approximately the same capacity (18 gallons), but since they were all purchased at different times and from different manufacturers, they are different colors and their outside dimensions varied. And, even as OCD as I am, I wasn’t about to go out and purchase brand new matching totes. So, I needed to come up with a universal ‘cube’ which accommodated all of my totes. And I did!!

However, I want to explain that the above system is not cheap but it is extremely easy to assemble. Using 3/4″ PVC, the pipe by itself cost under $100 and we ended up with two large completed racks on both sides of our garage. What cost over $400 were the various connectors. Our local Lowe’s and Home Depot did not carry the connectors we needed. They did have alternatives but we calculated that they would cost approximately the same as we would be using two for every one in our design. And we would have been making many more ‘cuts’ in the PVC. We even went to a local plumbing supplier and while they could have gotten us what we needed, it would have cost over double what we paid from our supplier online. I’ll talk more about the connector’s later but search for your connectors online as that will be the cheapest way to go. But, if you aren’t a carpenter or experienced building shelving with wood, this is a comparable alternative to wood shelves.

My plan was designed as a cube with a connector in every corner. It was 17″ high by 17″ wide by 13″ deep. The cube is shorter in depth because you want the totes to rest on the bottom edges. Here is a picture of how it started and how it progressed.

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As you can see, there is a connector in every corner. Some are 3-way connectors, some are 4-way and some are 5-way. For me to calculate what I would need, I actually made a diagram on paper and calculated quantities for each one. I had to put it down on paper or I couldn’t visualize it. I would suggest that you do the same. Measure your space and work accordingly.

Here are pictures of what I mean by 3-way, 4-way, and 5-way connectors:

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These did the trick. I’m sure by looking at them, you can see how and where they would be used. And, the wonderful thing about this PVC project is that you don’t have to glue anything. Everything snaps into place, but it can be taken apart if you want to adjust your bins or take it with you when you move. And because we only had two sizes to cut of the PVC pipe (17″ and 13″), hubby was able to cut it all at once with a chop saw, and then we could just assemble. The assembly went VERY fast. Here is a picture of the finished product:

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Now we did one last thing. We had originally written on the totes what was inside using permanent marker. And, sometimes we changed what was inside so that meant we had to scratch it out and write something new. I wanted everything to look as neat and consistent as possible. So, first we took some elbow grease…okay…a LOT of elbow grease… and scrubbed off the markings. (Note: Even permanent marker can be removed. You can Google “how to remove permanent marker from plastic totes’ for hints on how to do this.)

Then, we attached some adhesive pocket sleeves on the front of each tote. I found these at Gaylord Brothers (www.gaylord.com).
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The ones I selected were 2″ high by 3-1/2″ wide and were about $23.00 for 250 of them. This was much cheaper than any of the file drawer labels or brackets that I found.

Using my label maker and some 3 X 5 file cards cut to fit the sleeve, I labeled each tote. To be sure that these sleeves line up, I measured from the bottom of the tote. When you have different size totes like we have, the top will be at various heights. But the bottom will always be the same. And the best part…if I need to relabel what’s in a tote, I can just change out the card.

Here is some pictures of the finished product:

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As you can see, we actually adjusted one column of cubes to accommodate one of our Christmas trees. Originally, we had planned for this to go horizontally, but the cubes on top of it started bowing. Once we changed it to a vertical set-up, it worked perfectly. That’s what so wonderful about this system. You can take it apart and adjust it as needed.

I hope I’ve inspired you to organize some of your totes. Thanks for visiting my first DIY Saturday project.

The Gift of Mentoring

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I have been blessed to have had many women mentors in my life. I would not be the woman I am today if not for these generous spirits. Mother Teresa said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” Winston Churchill declared, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” And from Maya Angelou we have, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A mentor is defined as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. A mentor can also be an influential senior sponsor or supporter. I’m had mentors who impacted me both professionally as well as spiritually. They have been older and younger than me. They have come from a variety of cultural, educational, ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds. What every one of them shared was an open and giving nature.

Unlike some women, I have always loved working with women. Perhaps it’s because I had such a close relationship with my own mother. She was my first mentor, although I don’t think either one of us realized it at the time. She believed that I could do anything and be anything that I wanted. She never pushed me…but she did encourage me. She originally worked to support the family, but later because she discovered her passion. But, she didn’t have a strong female manager encouraging her in the workplace simply because they were few and far between. She had to depend on staying in the good graces of her male superiors. And that required that she sometimes bite her tongue and pretend to be stupider than she really was. But, my mother gave many women employment opportunities they wouldn’t have normally had.

Professionally, I have had the most amazing women direct my career, support and encourage me. And teach me. But once I had a female director who did everything she could to keep me in the background. She had me prepare all the reports, charts, and hand-outs for her quarterly presentations to the board of directors of a large corporation. On two occasions, she was asked questions for which she didn’t have the answer. It required that I bring her the needed information into the meeting. It infuriated her that I would have to even come into the meeting. As far as she was concerned, she preferred that I was invisible to anyone in authority. After two years of dealing with her, I felt suffocated and couldn’t wait to transfer out of her department. What was unfortunate was that we both lost out on what could have been a good relationship. I vowed then and there that I would do anything I could to promote and encourage the women I worked with and for.

I have also been mentored by the most generous women in my spiritual walk. They have encouraged me, supported me, and helped me mature. Some of them had no idea that they were doing this. They influenced me by their gentle, calm, and godly example. But the one who shaped me the most was a woman named Sally Beckwith.

Sally was the most generous person I have ever met. She was married to the love of her life, the mother of 7 children, and the grandmother to more than I could count. Her main goal in life was to take care of her family and to ease their way in life. And yet, she seemed to do that for everyone around her as well. I chaired a couple of annual women’s conferences at our church and Sally was the first to volunteer to serve on my committee. My events were a success because I had Sally beside me making sure every “t” was crossed and every “i” was dotted. There wasn’t a task that was too lowly or a job too menial. Whatever needed to be done, she rolled up her sleeves and dug in. In fact, she had an incredible ability to see what needed to be done before it even needed doing.

When my son started high school, Sally volunteered to be on his emergency contact form because she lived a block from the school and she knew I worked. The first time he needed to go home because he sick, he was released to Sally. When I got home that night he told me, “Mom, Sally is famous. When I told the nurse she could release me to her, she replied, “Oh Sally, that’s okay then.” Not only had Sally sent seven children through that same high school, she had been the emergency contact for other families as well as mine. Of course the school nurse knew her well.

Sadly, Sally was taken from us too soon. She was diagnosed with ALS when she was 56 years old and she died two years later. At her memorial service, several women spoke about their special friendship with Sally. Than, one woman got up and said that she too had been prepared to talk about how she was a special friend of Sally’s. But after hearing so many speak, she realized that Sally’s gift was the ability to make everyone feel like a special friend. I was no exception.

I ran into Sally’s husband a few years later and he introduced me to his new wife as one of Sally’s dear friends. That touched me because I still missed Sally so much. But, I also liked how I could tell that this new wife wasn’t threatened by the casual mention of a first wife. Maybe the new wife knew that it was useless to pretend Sally hadn’t existed or maybe, she had heard enough about Sally that she knew she would have been one of her special friends too. I’m pretty sure it would have been the latter.

Sally was the truest definition of a mentor and I doubt she would have even known it.  A true mentor is one who serves.   Mark 10:45 says “Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” I would be pleased if I could be a fraction of the mentor to others that Sally was to so many.

Stay Calm and Mother On

Motherhood…now that’s a heavy topic. As mothers we are to know all, do all, and be all. Of all the female roles, I have loved motherhood the best. Even if I wasn’t the best mother, I just loved being a mother. As a little girl I didn’t dream about when I would have my own children as other little girls do. I don’t know that I gave it much thought but it has impacted me more than anything else that has happened in my life.

I can remember when my daughter was put in my arms for the first time. I won’t say that I remember it like yesterday, but I remember all the details quite vividly. I had delivered her in the late evening. In those days, babies were swept off to the nursery and they were brought to you at feeding times only. Since I had lost a baby before she was born, I was anxious and apprehensive to hold her. I didn’t believe it would be real until I could hold her in my arms. The nurse told me if I was awake for the 5:00 a.m. feeding, I could have her at that time. I’m sure she thought I would be too tired after having been in labor for so long. But, I stayed awake all night so I wouldn’t miss that opportunity.

When she was placed in my arms, it truly was a magical moment. I stared at this little face that looked like me. I unwrapped her and examined every finger and toe. I did the same thing several years later when my son was born. I know it sounds trite, but babies are miraculous. I pretty much thought that most women felt that way when given their child for the first time…even if they adopted their children.

However, reality star and singer, Tamar Braxton, recently announced that she didn’t connect with her son when he was first born. It wasn’t as if she was depressed…she said she just felt unattached to him. That did change once her baby finally got the knack of breast feeding and they eventually bonded. But, the ‘being a mother’ didn’t come to her immediately. Mental health experts like psychologist Stacy Kaiser say Braxton’s experience is common. “The research says that 20 to 30 percent of moms feel this way. And I actually think it’s higher. It’s just that most moms are too embarrassed to admit it,” Kaiser said. TWENTY TO THIRTY PERCENT? Who knew?

How sad is this that mothers feel isolated and ashamed to discuss their feelings…even though they are apparently not that unique. We have become more aware of those mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, but how many of us have ever heard of a mother who just didn’t immediate connect with her child? This just reminds me that we all struggle with motherhood and feeling that we are never adequate. I saw the following cartoon on Pinterest and it made me laugh.

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Something tells me that these moms who are doing everything, are actually barely hanging on. And, they are probably stressing out about dropping all the balls they are juggling.

As much as I loved being a mom, that doesn’t mean I was without my moments of complete maternal failure. I’m ashamed to admit that I was a ‘screamer. I wasn’t the mom who calmly expressed my displeasure when my children didn’t do what I wanted then to do. I just yelled.

In addition, after her father and I divorced, my daughter repeatedly told me that she wanted to go live with him…usually when I didn’t give her what she wanted. However, when she reached those difficult teen years, I confess I was waiting for her to express that desire because I was going to help her pack! As much as I loved her, i was ready to throw up my hands in despair and send her on her way. She must have sensed that…because she never made that request again.

I’m sure most moms (and dads) have had it with their children at one time or another. We may love our children, but sometimes we just don’t like them much. That is a hard realization when you aren’t liking your child. Of course, it usually doesn’t last long. And luckily, it probably isn’t as often as your child doesn’t like you. That doesn’t last long either. When my daughter had her first child, she told me that she finally ‘got me’. It took her becoming a mother to really understand me being a mother.

I am a Christian woman and there is a Bible verse I remind myself when I’m feeling too sanctimonious or judgmental. Romans 3:23 says ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. As Christians, we aren’t perfect, not do we (usually) think we are. We are just forgiven. There are no perfect mothers. I think this verse could be tweaked slightly if we start looking down our nose if someone isn’t mothering up to our standards. How about, “for all have failed and fall short of the perfection of motherhood”?