Raw Mother’s Day Thoughts

It’s Mother’s Day. And the emotions across the nations, wherever this is celebrated, range from peaceful, to defeated, to devastated, to lonely and confused, to hate and grif and everything beyond and in between. These emotions belong to the mothers. To the daughters and sons. And to the husbands. And we could add many more emotions… many unnamed emotions, both positive and negative.

Today is one of the best days. It is one of the most painful. It is forgotten. It is monopolized and commercialized, each market pretending to cater to the love of mothers, and helping those closest to her express that love well. When in reality it is about competing for sales and pressuring the husband, son or daughter to look the best they can, all so the particular industry – whether flowers, chocolate or binoculars (this was my delightful gift today, for bird watching) – can get their ‘cut’ on this emotional experience. And the mothers, most of us (I think… I hope…) really care little about that commercial expression. Or maybe it’s just a few of us, but mostly I doubt that. (Though, I dare say, Tim impressed me beyond words with the binoculars. I love birds! They bring me so much joy!) Even so, life is far to beautiful, too ‘real’, and too raw – both good and painful – for such a thing to begin to touch on the reality of motherhood.

The forgotten mother spends this day in absolute grief and defeat, having failed to win the hearts of her children. She compares with other mothers. The ones whose children all come home, offering hugs and love and affection – accompanied by gifts of flowers and breakfast in bed. She compares with the mother of the pastor who preaches a sermon honouring her, and his wife, because she’s just amazing and has it together – she observes her at church and see her children all behave ‘just so’; each playing some significant role in the function of the church. And she wonders how she went so wrong.

She recalls her failures. She remembers raising her own children, and the love she felt. She remembers the fear she wouldn’t do it right. She remembers yelling at her children and falling on her knees, begging God to fix her, to help her be a good mom. To “please, please, please help” her be the mom her children need to do well in life. And failing. Again. And again. And again. She remembers feeling forgotten by God… If He loves her so much, and wants the best for her, why won’t He fix whatever is broken inside and heal her, for their sake. Forgotten, abandoned by God.

She remembers her own mother, distant and disconnected. And wonders again, how the lot fell on her to never know the love of a mother, and fail at showing love to her children in a way they needed it, or winning the love of her children. She compares, and grows continually more defeated. The mother who was a drunk and on drugs… she knows that mom. Her children are home. The mother who left for years and came back. her children surround her.

On this Mother’s Day, she chooses to stay home. Alone. Her husband left her long ago. If not in body, then in soul and heart. The pain of facing all those ‘together’ people at church is just too much.

But she doesn’t know that the pews are filled with other mothers who feel just like her. The pastor’s wife listens to him preach and forces herself to stay composed. Last week he berated her, told her he wished he’d never met her, that she’s an unfit mother. Any godly pastor’s wife would support her husband, and be understanding of his porn addiction. Ministry is hard.

She doesn’t know that the woman whose children all come home with gifts and breakfast in bed, and hugs and kisses, do so out of tradition and obligation. They fear being cut out of The Will if they don’t cater to her. They’ve had this threat before. And on Monday they have their appointments with counsellors to work through the aftermath of a day filled with the same dysfunction.

She doesn’t know that even the mother who did it well, whose children are genuinely close to her, even she questions herself at times and compares. Because no mother is anything more than human and flawed. There is no perfect mother. There is no perfect child. There is no perfect husband. There is no perfect relationship. Each one carries scars – acknowledged or not acknowledged.

I usually write a Mother’s Day blog, but truth is, I don’t like writing them. I think of all of these things every mother’s day. Year after year. Every Mother’s Day I feel a range of emotions. I think of my ‘childless mother’ friends; those whose hearts are so motherly and the desire to be a mother so strong, yet never being blessed with children. I think of their grief. I think of the mothers whose babies died, either in miscarriage or through stillbirth or later in life, and who are left with empty arms. I think of their grief. I think of mothers who have abandoned their children, or been abandoned by them. I think of their grief. I think of my own mother. I think of my closest friends. I am keenly aware of my own story. And I think of the many reasons why Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for a large percentage of our population, while some live in the thrill of the day. And I don’t know what to write, what to say, that both honours mothers and acknowledges this reality.

As I contemplated all of this earlier this morning, I thought of Mary the mother of Jesus. And I wondered, Mary, did you ever feel like a complete failure? Did you ever wonder why God allowed you to be the mother of Jesus? And I wished I could pour her a cup of coffee and talk with her. Maybe if God’s mother told me she felt defeated, maybe I’d have something to write about that might speak to us all. Maybe if she said she felt like a failure the day her 12-year-old disappeared and they had to scramble to find him. Like, seriously! What mother loses her child in a crowd like that? Never mind… Jesus’ mother. And it happened to us too, at a store. Twice. Where one of our kids took off and scared the life out of us. And what mother speaks with pride of her homeless son who doesn’t even have a pillow to call his own? Right… that was Jesus’ mother again. He had no place to call His own, no place to lay His head. Jesus was a wanderer. He was despised by many. Rejected by the masses. He was eccentric. He disrupted the world, the religious community and broke the rules.

No pastor, if that was his son and he felt the mother was the influence, would stand up and preach how proud he is of how his wife encouraged her son in this path. No mother would feel deserving of honour, if image and church standards were the measuring stick. And without an awareness of His higher purpose, not one of us would compare ourselves with her and her Son and say, “I wish my son had turned out like that! I wish I had been His mother.”

A mother recently recounted her experience of praying for her child who seemed to be struggling deeply but not open to communicating. Over the years she had told God, probably a thousand time and more, how sorry she was for letting her daughter down, for failing to understand her, for being so messed up and broken that she was oblivious to what was happening to her daughter, right in front of her. And she had begged Him to pursue her daughter’s heart. Whatever it takes for her to heal, do it. Anything at all. And then the most excruciatingly painful thing happened. (The details of which I will not share).  And this mother went to God, angry and feeling deeply betrayed by Him. “How could You do this! How could you let this happen?” Over and over she prayed, screaming at Him in her heart, wishing she could get up on His chest and beat God up…. literally, physically beat Him up. He deserved it, as far as she was concerned. After months and months and months of praying for her daughter and begging for some restoration, it seemed all hell had broken loose, and rather than get better, things got much worse. For several days she ‘beat up’ on God, offering the same broken prayer of anger and blame, until one day when she ended that prayer with “I asked you to heal her and pursue her heart… not THIS!” And in a moment of grief, she paused in stillness, and listened through tears as He spoke, “What do you think I am doing? I am pursing her heart. … And I am pursuing your heart too.” The I Am had spoken.

So, mothers, today don’t compare yourself with others. Trust the I Am to heal… to pursue and to restore. That mother’s story hasn’t changed, and the circumstances remain as they were. But God is pursuing her heart, and her daughter’s heart. Healing may not come in this life in the way a mother longs for and prays for, or in the way a child wishes. But God will pursue hearts. It’s Who He is and what He does. And remember that the ‘evidence’ you see – the smiles, the flowers, the many symbols of celebration – don’t tell the story of the tears, the fights, the prayers, the anger, the lostness. Nor do they tell the story of the I Am who is the Restorer. Cling most tightly to the latter. You are worthy. You are imperfect, yet Perfectly Loved. You fail, but are not a failure. You are forgotten today, but not abandoned.

Today you are honoured by your Heavenly Father who blesses motherhood, who forgives failure, who redeems broken stories and restores losses. He delights in you, and rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17). He called you for a purpose before time began, and that purpose cannot be silenced by your failures or any other thing; the I Am has spoken (Jer. 1:5). And His word, from the beginning of time, have never been empty and always bring Life. Invite Him into your joy today, and invite Him into your tears and grief. He loves you. He receives you. He blesses you.

To be blessed is to by filled with joy. This Mother’s Day, be blessed, no matter what your story.

Happy Mother’s Day!

mother's day


As always…

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018


The Loneliness of Sexual Victimization: Am I the only one?

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The perception that abuse doesn’t happen in Christian or religious circles is a setup for one of the most hopeless and agonizing sufferings; isolation. As if the hopelessness of believing there is no way out, no way through isn’t enough, this loneliness pushes us to the edge of survival and sanity. And, having survived that desire to die–for those of us who do survive–many of us shut down every emotion and live without feeling, without passion and without purpose to avoid ever standing on that cliff again.

God has so much more for us all! He stepped into time and death, to walk with us and enter into our pain and suffering. He cried out on that gruesome cross, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken Me?” He understood our loneliness; that heart-rending ache that screams silently against our pain, longing to be understood. Or at least not to be left so alone.

Representing God with most incredible grace, love and compassion, one couple stepped into my messy world twenty-six years ago. No one had ever dared to touch the unclean thing done against me. I was the only one who had suffered it, I thought. Our family was the only family so messed up and broken. Of this I was certain.

And then the couple dared to enter in… With time I learned that they had helped others, and that their ‘learning’ had come from walking with their own daughter. Their love, apart from any wisdom they shared–and there was that–along with the understanding and listening ear, gave me hope and carried me through the first two years of the most painful part of my life. And it taught me how to care for others.

It’s quite uncomplicated, really. Step into the darkness of a wounded heart, offer a listening ear without any judgment for the struggle, and encourage the victim. Speak life, if you speak at all. Let them know they are not alone. Keep healthy boundaries, because a lack of them will simply add to the victim’s pain, and set you both up for a hard fall. Don’t try to rescue. Don’t be the hero. Simply care.

I do this in the context of faith, and in that context I turn the hearts of victims to their Heavenly Father in relationship. He loves them. He cares for them. He can handle their struggle. And mostly I do this without words, by trying my best to exemplify it. Sometimes I say it for added impact.

My faith in my Heavenly Father, my trust in His unconditional love, and the wonder that He–the Holy One, God, the Creator of the Universe–would dare to get His hands bloody and feet dirty to heal my suffering… That reality has healed my heart, above all. And for that reason I share it.

Ultimately it is relationship without condemnation that draws victims to the Father’s heart in trust. And that is something we all can offer, if we dare. It is something Jesus calls us to offer, because He called us to walk in His footsteps. And the Jesus kind of unconditional Love always heals the wounded heart.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Old Hymns, Sexual Abuse & Does Jesus Love the Children?

It slipped across my Facebook page so quickly I almost missed it. “The Hymns Collection by the Wiebes” caught my eyes. I’ve heard of them, often. I even ‘Liked’ their page, but for some reason never saw the updates. I scrolled back to the post. Hymns

The Hymns Collection cover art

I have a thing about Hymns. I love them. But I can’t listen to them. Okay, let me try that again. I love some of them, and I can’t listen to most of them… unless I’m alone. The powerful connection between hymns and the years of sexual abuse and violence in my life is so intense that I come unraveled easily.  The thing is, the tears are not usually about the abuse. In fact, for most hymns, the tears spill over in thankfulness. They remind me that God was there, then, when the brutality and trauma held me captive. I listen to them now, and realize how His grace kept me in moments when my mind should have gone mad.

My brother Wil and I talked last week, at his home and he said what I’ve often said, “You know, it’s a miracle we didn’t lose our minds,” and shook his head. We should have… would have… But God…

And that’s the story those hymns tell, of a time in days gone by. Granted, there are several that were sung at meetings when false guilt about sins committed against me tormented my soul and I couldn’t find peace for trying. Like ‘Just As I Am’ and ‘Almost Persuaded’… Those hymns I struggle with so that I can hardly listen to them. They tangle my spirit in such a tight wad that I feel like I’ll never get untangled. And then my spirit shuts down completely until I feel dead and numb.

That was the second thing that happened, when I saw the collection of hymns; I felt the risk of my spirit getting all knotted up. And I wanted none of it. But, seeing I was free to sample the sound, curiosity won out, and I clicked play. I anticipated a snippet of a song, like iTunes offers, and then I would return to my own playlist. Having hit play, I returned to reading some blogs I follow, and searching new ones. I read stories and testimonies written by believers. Several atheist’s blogs, and an agnostic/atheist. He wasn’t sure.  He didn’t think there was a God, but wanted to find Him, if He indeed exists…

In the background, the music plays… The sound, peaceful. The words, familiar. My spirit is at rest. ‘Just as I Am’ plays, without tears, without incident. Angela Wiebe’s voice, angelic, sweet and about as heavenly as any I’ve heard, takes the sting right out of the memories.  My spirit does not shut down. Listening to the words, now, I hear the sweetness of response to God’s love; the running into His open arms, ‘just as I am’, to a place of safety. And I realize He was there, then, in those troubled times of guilt and shame. 

I kept reading… Stories of choosing forgiveness, while struggling with grief of the loss sexual abuse brings. Stories of wondering if God noticed at all. Someone frustrated with the loneliness of it all… no one wants to break the silence; not the church, not the media, not anyone, she said. Everyone is content to turn a blind eye.

Don’t I know it! I feel my heart sinking, as the loneliness of what I do stares me in the face. I push it down and keep reading….

And then it happened… Tears blurred my eyes as the words on the page ripped ruthlessly at my heart. Words telling of a child–or was it several children–molested, raped and murdered by their parents. I didn’t read further. The other stories were of overcoming, victory, struggle and reaching for hope. Adults beyond the actual abuse, now dealing with the aftermath. This one was different. It was current. Children…

Oh God, have mercy! My heart choked up on that one sentence and something snapped, and then everything inside me broke. The tears started…

“...Lifted up was He to die, “It is Finished!” was His cry…Hallelujah, what a Saviour” The song plays, victorious, followed by ‘My Jesus I love Thee’, the mournful sound of strings, as if weeping for the children, cries out loud for my heart. And I know Jesus weeps. He loved the children. He loves the children.

That was 10:00pm… Now, here I am, many hours later, the clock moving steadily towards 3:00am, and still the tears fall. Music has always created a deep tenderness in my spirit, far back as I remember. To read of those children when my heart was at it’s most vulnerable, because of those hymns, did a number on me.

I tried to go to sleep, in bed beside Tim, who wrapped his arms around me when he found me crying for the children, so that I could not even speak. I tried to settle down, but the minute my head hit the pillow, I saw them, their little eyes weeping, pleading and frightened. And the tears started again, as my soul cried out, “Oh Jesus… Oh Jesus… be with the children… hold the children…”

It is late, and the hymns are still playing…

“…To our bountiful Father above, we will offer a tribute of praise… for the glorious gift of His love, and the blessings that hallow our days… ”  I lift my tear-stained face to the heavens, and offer praise from a wounded heart to an incredibly faithful Heavenly Father. Arms, scarred and weak, I raise in worship to the One who carried me back then, when the hymns seemed to mock my pain.  The One who carries me still…


I want to pray, but no words form. And then suddenly my heart finds rest.. . He will carry them too.  Jesus will carry the children.

Jesus will carry you.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger