Thoughts: Becoming Myself, Chapter 5

four queensI’m a week behind. So I’ll be brief, to catch up. In Chapter 5, “Our Mothers, Ourselves, part 2,” Stasi continues to explore the wounds dealt to us in our past and how we might find release and healing from them. As I stated in the post on part 1 of this topic, I choose to keep these families matters between God, my mom, and myself, so I’ll skip to …

Favorite Quotes

 “… what we receive from our mothers is similar to being dealt a hand of cards. What we received is formative and foundational, but this “hand” is not our destiny. If you didn’t get dealt a great hand, or your cards are torn and bloody, folded or lousy or even missing, this is where the healing presence of Jesus Christ can come in and wash your cards clean. He gives you the cards he intended for you to have. He restores. … We bring him the hand we were dealt and ask for his healing. … He wants to heal us! … He has the power to bless who we are and who we are becoming.

In order to receive the healing that God has for us regarding our mother wounds, we need to know what we need healing from and for. Specifically. We need to remember what happened in the story of our lives and invite the healing presence of Jesus there. For healing to come, we actually have to go back and remember and even access the emotion of the wound.

… he restores us to the truth of who we are and the reality of the life we are living and meant to live. … We are loved, wanted, seen, delighted in, provided for, cherished, chosen, known, and planned on. We are set apart, invited, valued, of immeasurable worth, and blessed.”

(Becoming Myself, p. 85-86)

Is this just a pep talk? How valuable am I, really? Through a poet, God tells me.

“all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:16

God was looking forward to the moment when I would exist, and he cares about every detail of my life:

O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Psalm 139:1-5

Of course a God like this would want us to be healed from those things that hurt us. And as far as mothers go, I was dealt an extraordinary hand. I’m pretty confident I can sweep the pot.

Advertisements

Thoughts: Becoming Myself, Chapter 4

Mothers. The hand that rocks the cradle moves the world.

In Chapter 4 of Becoming Myself, “Our Mothers, Ourselves: part 1,” Stasi discusses the Father Wound and Mother Wound, focusing mostly on the latter. I know my mother reads this blog, so I need to let her know that I have identified and dealt with my Mother Wound. Years ago, actually, so exploring this chapter has been a good reminder of healthy progress, more than a painful journey of discovery. I won’t go into detail because, I feel, this issue lies between my mom and me.

Part of the healing came when I resolved to stand up for myself. Part of it came from going on an extended trip with my mother to Europe. If you need resolution on some things, take a month-long trip through a country where the only person who speaks your language is your mother, and see if things don’t change a bit.

In 2009, while we were in Paris, about Week 2 of what really was a stressful trip, I finally had an emotional breakdown. I got stuck in the subway station, in Paris’s version of a turn-style; the party I was with chose to walk from our hotel to the touristy areas instead of take the very competent and very available buses; with all the glorious food Paris offers, all I had to eat that day was a hotdog on a dry baguette; and that night, when I was exhausted, hungry, sweaty, sooty, and footsore, I got locked out of my hotel room. I lost it. My mother caught the full brunt of my rage. She saw me at my worst. She spoke to me in my language, words I had never heard her use, which aren’t clean enough to quote here, but it was like a slap to the face. In the middle of my sobbing, I started laughing. I sobbed a bit more, took a shower, and apologized. She apologized. It was stiff and awkward for both of us. For the rest of that evening, things remained tense between she and I, between the rest of our party. It was just not a happy situation.

snapshot, Mom and Me, Notre DameWe got a good night’s sleep and rose early the next morning to resume our touristy activities. I insisted we take the bus. Oh, yes, the buses in Paris are worth every euro. Mom and I still hadn’t really looked at each other after our tiff. Then when we were standing in front of Notre Dame’s iconic façade,  a member of our party asked for my mom and I to stand together for a picture. I remember smiling at her, risking, hoping. And thank God, she smiled back. A tentative smile at first, then genuine. It was like forgiveness. It was like her saying, “I still love you—with all the stuff I don’t understand about you.” In the picture our arms are wrapped around each other, and we actually mean it.

We came away from that month-long trip with a new sense of camaraderie. The kind that doesn’t have to be spoken. Our relationship just seemed … easier … after that. We had endured each other, we had connected, and gained what I hope is deeper understanding.

FAVORITE QUOTE

“Mothers bestow self-worth, and they have the ability to withhold it. Intentionally, but more often unintentionally. A mother cannot pass on what she does not possess…. Mothers have the ability to withhold acceptance, value, love. Our mothers failed us when, without meaning to, they passed on to us low self-esteem. Or based our self-worth on anything other than the fact that we exist.

God does not do that.

Our worth is not based on what we do, which life path we choose, or what we believe. Our worth is inherent in the fact that we are image bearers of the living God. Our worth is based on the fact that we are alive. We are human beings. Our worth is immeasurable. …

We are all hostages of such value that it took the blood of God himself to pay our price. You have worth beyond counting.”

(Becoming Myself, 76)

Thoughts: Becoming Myself, Chapter 3, Part 1

estrogen molecule

Estrogen Molecule, wonderful and not-so-wonderful, depending on the day

The first half of Chapter 3 of Stasi Eldredge’s Becoming Myself, “The Landscape of our Lives,” has been my favorite section of the book so far. It talks about hormones. Thank God. Somebody, please talk openly and honestly about hormones!

I’ve heard other women say that PMS and other hormonal fluctuations resulting in erratic emotions are a myth. And my reaction to this has always been an adrenal rush of, ahem, hormones, and a sharp, “Excuse me?” I’m happy for those women who, by some miracle, managed to escape the monthly roller coaster. I am not one of them.

I married an even-tempered man who comes from a (mostly) even-tempered family. This has made about four days out of every month sheer hell for both of us. As the years progressed and his frustration increased, the arguments started out with, “You were fine a minute ago. What did I say?” but soon became “What’s wrong with you?” which became “You’re crazy. You need medication.”

So reading Stasi’s few pages about hormonal cycles was a breath of fresh air, to quote the cliché, but that’s exactly what it felt like. Reading these pages allowed me to take a deep breath of relief. I’d always understood that I had extreme hormonal swings, and this chapter backed me up, provided valuable arguments in my favor.

It’s not okay that I fly off the handle and say cruel things to my husband during these times. It’s not okay that I want to lose my temper at people in line at the grocery store. It’s not okay that I hate myself and repeat the lies that my Enemy wants me to believe about myself.

It is okay that I tell my loved ones, “I need to be alone today.” It is okay that I don’t feel like smiling and go to a friend’s house for dinner. And it’s okay that I take a nap instead of press on with the next chapter of my novel. I don’t have to feel guilty. I refuse to believe that I’m lazy or worthless, a mooch who contributes nothing to the finances because she can’t get a book deal, a good-for-nothing woman who can’t control her emotional outbursts and is fit only for a mental institution. How Victorian is that? What century do we live in anyway?

After reading this chapter, I told my husband, “You’re not allowed to call me crazy anymore. I’m not allowed to call myself crazy either. I’m not crazy, I’m just in my third week. Go find something to do that doesn’t involve me. I’m curling up with a cheesy romance movie and a cuppa coffee.”

Favorite Quotes from Chapter 3, part 1:

“There is an internal reality playing havoc with my world, but it is neither woundedness, nor sin, nor immaturity—not even a touch of insanity. There are powerful feminine tides washing to and fro inside each of us, and they are having an enormous influence on our lives—and on the way we perceive our lives.”

(Becoming Myself, 46)

But who wants to be a slave to these tides? Not I. From whence cometh my help? A pill? No thanks. This is the time to:

“…lean into God. Press in. The difficult days of each month can become a respite of hiding our hearts in our God, who always understands us and loves us endlessly. There is grace here. There is mercy here.”

(Becoming Myself, 52)

There had better be understanding, grace, and mercy! God created the female as his final act of creation, didn’t he? That means all the hormones included. Of course he understands, and he finds me utterly beautiful.