Immanuel Approach: healing with my mom

Patricia, your mom was so full of love.  Even though she had a rough upbringing, she was connected to us in such a simple way.  She didn’t care about theology.  She just loved to nurture people–with her food preparation, her helping at church especially with the rummage sales every year, being at the parent-participation pre-school.  She dearly loved your creativity and delighted in it. All of her kids were different, and just like we love everyone especially, she loved you especially in the way you wanted to do big projects like play store, hospital, library, restaurant.  She loved the holidays so much, and when you took after her this way by doing your best to extend the holidays before and after, she love that.

Even though she wanted to save money by giving you kids used clothes, since you all hated that she compromised and let you buy new clothes for Easter, Christmas, school and vacations.  But she was thrifty, and that helped you all be financially secure which was a good thing.

As we told you before, she saw you through a lense of being so pure and innocent that she just didn’t see when you started becoming attracted to boys.  In her generation she had no clue as to how to approach this subject, and naively trusted the school and church to impart what she considered to be embarrassing information to you.  She was in denial, it is true.  She was a simple woman, and just not able to emotionally deal with such things, partly because of her hurtful upbringing.

We are so glad that you can forgive your mom and see her for the beautiful person that she was, and see your siblings also with new forgiveness and love.  The time will come when you reconcile with them.  Just keep praying for them and sending them your love.  Don’t forget–you can text H and facebook Donna.  In fact, you can send them this link to this blog post and share with them what you experienced. This will be connecting. don’t be afraid to share this–you can write a disclaimer about how you are just sensing us talking–not that this is written in concrete or anything, or that you are going mad by seeing visions.  Although some day maybe you will see us clearly as Mac did in The Shack book.

Okay, my dear, you can write now about your journey into the past.  We love you with an everlasting love that will never fail.  We are with you always.

After to prayed to Jesus, I went back into the past to a memory I often go to when I want to feel connected to Jesus.  But this time it was more vivid.  It is wonderful that going back to the same memory over and over again helps me to be more present there.  It doesn’t get old.

I asked Jesus to help me heal something in the past.  I sensed that I needed to heal with my mom.  I also sensed that Jesus wanted to give me an even richer experience.  I imagined Jesus, Holy Spirit and Papa at the table at the Shack.  More about that later–but for now I will just say this is what happened in the book The Shack where Mac was sometimes sitting around the table talking to the Trinity.  I found this very natural, comfortable, and loving.

It was like instead of having go back into the past by myself to imagine, I started to talk to the Trinity as if they were loving friends.  I told them about when I was at a church potluck, and a cute boy named Dale Hutchinson?  was spending time with me. I felt thrilled because a cute boy was paying attention to me.  But then he elbowed me and said, “I wonder who that fat woman is over there.  Look at how she is piling up her plate.  No wonder she is so fat. ” 

My face got red, and I felt so embarrassed and even scared. That woman was my mother. I still can’t remember if I told Dale this truth–I don’t think I did at the time.  If I had known non-violent communication, I could have said something like, “When I hear you speak that way about my mother, I feel scared and embarrassed, because I was hoping that you would like my mother.  How do you feel when I say that?’ 

Well, I certainly did not know how to talk in this way so I am sure I bottled up a lot of feelings.  I realized that I was often embarrassed and even disgusted by my mother, including how much she ate, how fat she was, and her hygienic habits.  When my dad would sometimes put her down especially when we were having a big family meal and he would criticize her about not attending to certain details, I would feel torn. On one had I was angry at my dad for being critical. On the other hand I was disappointed with my mom because she would not stand up for herself.

I continued to talk to the three loving friends at the table and also just go through memories which helped me to grieve and cry and feel regret.  The best thing was that I could see my mother in a new light and forgive her for those things which I had still to this day been holding against me. 

I could become more compassionate and understanding about the fact that she did not protect me from having sexual experiences way to early, as well as sexual experiences outside of marriage.  I could see that she assumed that church and school were taking care of that, as well as her seeing me as such an innocent, loving, honest, obedient child.  It was not until I told my parents at age 17 that I wanted to move in with my boyfriend that they realized I was having pre-marital sex.

My parents were so upset and shocked and it seems like they wanted to disown me, but they didn’t.  They forgave me.  But there was a rift between us that has never been healed.  Also, my mom pressured Cliff and I to get a legal marriage.  We did not believe that the state had anything to do with our private lives including marriage.  She thought that this piece of paper would keep us or at least discourage us from getting a divorce.   We got the piece of paper to make her happy.  Years later that decision lead to huge conflict that had profound implications.  Yet now I see that what happened because of that piece of paper was in the long run a good thing. That is another story.  Maybe she knew…maybe God was talking to her.

As I continued to talk to these comforting, unconditional loving friends, tears ran down my face.  It was as if I was transported into the past. Either  I  remembered things that I had heard were true about her, or I  experienced the actual events.  My mom told me at one time that she loved being a mom. She couldn’t understand why it was so hard for me to be tied down to children.  And that reminds me in the present as I write this that I must go back to a memory of when I decided at about age 12 that I would never have children because I didn’t want to treat them the way my parents treated me. 

I felt joyful as I remembered the good things about my mom.  Letting me do all the big projects that I loved to do was really special.  Playing hospital, store, restaurant, and library were my favorites.  I always had a big birthday party that I helped plan, and as I grew older they were sleep overs. 

I felt her love for me as she watched me joyfully engage in these activities.  She had organizing abilities like I did, and she was in charge of the annual church rummage sale fund raiser which was huge.  She loved holidays, as did I.  I know she celebrated the fact that I tried to extend the holidays as long as possible.  I even would bring out the Christmas records in October to start listening to that beautiful Christmas music by great choirs and singers.  I can still see the Firestone and other tire companies’ labels on the records which my parents faithfully bought.  I would learn some of the harmonies by listening. 

Playing restaurant had to be one of the most challenging part of my endeavors.  I would make a huge mess, and I am pretty sure that at times I used up all my energy creating elaborate concoctions like chocolate eclairs or angel food cake.   But she never complained.  I am thinking she liked both the food as well as my creative efforts.

My mom had a brother, Uncle Weston, who I couldn’t stand.  His hair was greasy.  He was over weight and ill-dressed.  I just remember feeling such mixed feelings about him.  I wanted to love my uncle, but he was disgusting in every way.  I know he had some mental problems, and possibly even committed suicide.  But my mom would sometimes have him over for Christmas.  I hated it when we had anyone but immediate family over for Christmas.  But her compassionate heart over ruled my desires.

I recalled how my dad would be away for sometimes 9 months at a time.  I wonder if I will ever know how many long sea trips he took.  My parents didn’t like to talk about the past very much.  When I was older, I would ask my mom about her past as well as my child hood, but she was reluctant to share.  I want to talk to my brother and sisters more.  But I can only imagine that my mom suffered a lot having her man be gone for such long periods.  My parents never talked about my dad being at war, but I think he was in the Korean war.  They would just use such euphemisms as “he went to sea.” He would always bring back exotic presents like giant spoon and fork from the Philipines.  I would get the impression he had a grand old time.

But I realize that my mom suffered greatly, as did my dad.  She was supposed to be the head of the household, discipline us kids on her own, take care of bills, and basically do everything.  I really admire her for that.

As I wandered through time past in relation to my mom, I realized how much care she put into us children.  She along with my dad was very careful with money, and although as the saying goes, we didn’t always get what we wanted, we sure got what we needed.   We consistently had a nice house with a yard in a good neighborhood.  Nothing fancy, but definitely clean and adequate.  Actually, the house in Indiana was superb with a huge yard, spacious house, and the best neighborhood in the world only a few blocks from our wonderful Emerson school.

My mom loved being a mom, and she didn’t send us to pre-school but participated in a parent-cooperative pre-school where we could be with kids as well as our parents.  That was pretty progressive!  She was proud of me in so many ways, but often, I think, could not verbalize her delight.

When I got older, even though I lived 45 minutes away, I chose not to go to holiday gatherings at my parents’ home.  I had childhood wounds that got re-opened when I was with the whole family, and I just could not bring myself to be present at times when I really wanted to celebrate instead of being in pain.  Cliff and I would always host gatherings that welcomed those who had no where to go, and this was very satisfying and joyful to us.  But my mom was crushed.  And my siblings resented me.  This has caused a rift especially between my older sister and I that still keeps a wall between us.

I grieved how much pain my mom felt because of my actions.  How I wished that somehow I could have been aware of my woundings and used the holidays as a time for healing.  My mom’s language of love was to be willing to join her at holidays, and I know she felt this as a great rejection.  I cry even now as I remember.  But I know she never held it against me.

When we moved back to Arkansas I would stay in touch with my mom, but our conversations were never satisfying to me.  It was more of an obligation than a joy to talk to her.  We saw each other a number of times  but I always felt a sense of disappointment from her because of the path I had chose–home schooling, not vaccinating our children, not having any financial security.  My brother said she always loved me, but she did not love me in the way I needed–to give me support on the road less traveled that I took. But now I have great compassion for her. She was a victim of our society that teaches sheep-like obedience to certain paths.  But for much of my upbringing she gave me the freedom I needed to develop my talents.  A loving, nurturing home; connection with our relatives all over the country;  good relationships with the children of my parents’ friends;  raising us in the Methodist Church that, with all its shortcomings, taught us good moral values, and wonderful monthlong vacations where we experienced the beauty of our country were some of the great experienced my mom helped facilitate.  And I now recall the countless camping trips we took which I know enriched my life immensely. 

Sitting in the presence of my beautiful Papa, Jesus, and Holy Spirit and sharing about my mommy was so nurturing.  I felt their unconditional love for me and my mom. Waves of forgiveness for myself and for my mom washed over me and wash over me even in this moment as I feel this love for her.    I now cleanly and whole grieve how I never had the relationship with her that I yearned for. And I can celebrate that even though that experience was denied me, I have learned from the short comings of my mom as well as her strengths.  I now have a daughter with whom I have the most rewarding relationship I could ever ask for. 

How merciful you are, my dear Papa, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, that you could be with me surrounding me with your unconditional amazing love.  That I could now have a daughter where I can have the relationship I always yearned for with my mom and thus heal the generational hurt is a picture of grace.

I have had a hard time really loving my mom.  I now feel a love for her that seems to open up a space in my heart that makes it possible and easier for me to love others. Recently I had a traumatic experience with an older woman where she criticized me in a scathing email that affected me more deeply than I would have thought possible.  The bitterness and anger I felt towards here, even though I wanted to feel compassion, persisted until I went through this Immanuel Experience.  I now can respond to her with compassion and hopefully restore the relationship that up until now seemed broken.

Yesterday I cried for about three hours in the morning. I could not feel God’s presence directly no matter what.  I though he had left me, but now I realize that he was giving me the opportunity to experience the pain of the world.  He just wanted me to open my hardened heart.  He won’t let me feel bitterness, anger, resentment, or judgment–unless of course I choose to.  But as I continue to surrender to him,  I find that if I do hold on to any negative emotions  I am miserable.    I felt like today’s session was a gift and a reminder.  I must do this daily, intentionally, so that I continue to purify my heart and soul and spirit so that I can do the work that God wants me to do. 

Robert really helped me yesterday as he listened to me after I had cried for hours.   His unconditional love and understanding was the human expression of God’s love that I really needed.  I need both, of course–Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as my dear Wellspring Community and others who cross my path. 

I feel such gratitude.




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