• Chiquta Harris

The Freedom of Forgiveness

As you know by now, I was raised by my grandmother. She raised me from 6 months until I married. She was truly Heaven sent and was just who I needed for this moment in my life.

When I was younger my relationships with my biological parents were really rocky. To make a long story short, we all had areas where we needed to grow in order to have a better understanding of one another. At the age of 19, my dad and I were able to make the first steps of repairing our relationship. It was hard for me at first but I am thankful that God continued to work on me so that I did not miss an opportunity to have a relationship with him.

My relations with my mother was a different story. My grandmother that raised me was related to my mother so I was able to have more frequent contact with my mother. However, we still did not have the best mother-daughter relationship throughout the years. Sadly, because of this, my mother and I spent numerous years not talking to one another. I visited her in 2017 and this was the first time she had seen my children (who were at the time 5, 2 and a newborn). Also, last year was the first time she had ever visited and stayed with me. It was a new experience for us both but it was something that was needed.

When I first became a mother, I would always long to have a better relationship with my children. I remember being so nervous about being a new mom. I actually went to counseling for 4 years in order to deal with factors I considered would hinder my ability to do so. During counseling, I understood that there may have been things that my mother experienced that she had not dealt with or was unable to deal with. That she too had her own story. Her own hurt and her own pain. Unfortunately, that hurt and pain had been passed down to me but I was in a position to break the cycle. I chose to do so. On Christmas in 2012, I remember calling my mother and telling her that I forgave her for all of the hurt and pain that she caused me. As much as I wanted her to ask me to forgive her, I understood that she was not in a place to do so. I remember thinking and preparing myself to be okay with granting forgiveness even though it had not been requested. It was hard but I was determined to no allow this pain to dictate my life any further nor to be passed on to my children. I wanted a release. I wanted to be a better mother to my children.

Did things become 100% better from then? Nope. Did it become worse? Nope. I decided to trust God's timing. I did not want to force or rush it. I just wanted to trust Him because this was too big for little ole me to handle. Then one Saturday she called me and we talked for about an hour. I remember her being so excited when I let her talk to my kids for the first time. After we talked, I remember crying throughout the rest of the day. It was so refreshing. I felt at ease talking to her. I wasn't guarded. I wasn't upset. I didn't even have prepared responses. I just allowed God to be God.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. My mother called me super excited about a new job offer she received to which I was equally excited. She was so grateful and was super excited about all she would be able to do because of her job. I was so genuinely happy for her. Then toward the end of the conversation, she said something so striking, "I remember you telling me about 10 years ago that if I were to become sober that you and I would become the best of friends." Honestly, I don’t even remember telling her this. Hahaha. But when I tell you my heart leaped! I am almost in tears again just thinking about those words and the feelings from that moment. It was then that I understood the saying of "Forgiveness is not for them. It's for you." Had I not asked God to help me to forgive my mother and honestly forgiven her, I could have easily missed this moment or worse, it would have never happened.

I have experienced so many events in my life where I wished my mother would have been present but I also understand and have to trust that God was protecting me for a reason. Had she been at those events during our broken states, there is no telling how things could have gone. If I would have forced something between my mother out of my own selfish desires during a time that wasn't right, it wouldn't have worked. It could have potentially resulted in more hurt, pain and frustration. I say this to say that God's timing is so perfect. I am not sure where our relationship will go, but I am hopeful. I trust God because only He can truly heal hurt.

Instead of focusing on the pain and anger, I decided to focus on Christ and to see our relationship from a different perspective.

I made the decision to forgive my mother; even without an apology. I instead decided to pray for her and ask for God's grace, love and mercy to encompass her. Growing up, I can honestly say that I hated my mom (it wasn't right but I'm being 100% transparent) and I remember my grandmother always telling me, "No matter what she does or says, at the end of the day she's still your mother and as her child you have a responsibility of honoring your mother." I would think, "Honor her for what? She doesn't deserve to be honored." But thinking about that, I understand that the Bible does not say "Honor your parents if you believe they deserve it." Instead it instructs me to honor my parents as this is the first command with promise.

I thank God always for my grandmother because she instilled so much foundational wisdom into me that didn’t make sense at the time, but is now worth more than a pot of gold. I believe that because I honored my mother, God honored my prayers.

Today, I can say that I am thankful for my mother. Is she perfect? Absolutely not. None of us are. Does she do things that I agree with? Who cares? She still is and will always be, my mother. As her daughter, I am charged with the responsibility of constantly praying for her, for her peace, her happiness and most importantly her relationship with Christ. I pray that she recognizes He is all that she will ever need. I pray that God fills all of the voids that her past experiences and hurts have caused her. I pray that she understands that she is loved beyond comparison and that God never left her side and is always with her.

I hope my lifelong experience (some still current) of forgiveness encourages someone else.

To all of the beautiful Mothers reading this post, I pray that God continues to give you the strength to continue raising your littles to the best of your abilities. We are not perfect but we are just what our children need as their mothers here on Earth. I also pray you feel encouraged and especially loved on today and everyday.

Happy {belated} Mother's Day!! (Is it too late to say Happy Mother's Day?!?)

XOXO - Queda



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