Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The entry below is cowritten by Jackie Daly and her son, Sean.
When I think of my life, I don’t see a childhood flourished in love and healthy relationships. I see ugly, nasty trauma. Trauma started when I was in my mother’s womb and she wanted to take my life along with her own. She was in a very dark place. I’m not going to sugarcoat this…my childhood was dark and heavy. I was subjected to things a little girl should have never experienced. Thankfully my mother was a spiritual person, not a Christian, but she was in tune with God and taught me that there is something to learn and grow from in EVERY life experience…good or bad, happy or sad. I’m very grateful to her for that. One of the biggest lessons I took from my childhood, was that I needed to break the pattern. There was no way I would raise my own children in the trauma that was bestowed upon me. I have done this to a certain point, but life happens…trauma that is out of your grasp happens no matter how hard you try to protect your children. God’s plans are always bigger and win over our own and yes…that includes the icky stuff.
My children and I became Christians 10 years ago when we first started attending New Day. Praise God for leading us to this church. I mean that with all sincerity. New Day has been my backbone and home. They were both very active in the youth group until high school hit and then they started trailing off. We all know that’s when kids need Jesus the most, so this has been a disheartening journey for me. I have a ton of self-blame and I feel like a total failure as a parent. The good news is, God is not done with them yet, nor is he done with me as a parent to them. They need their own journey and I have full faith that He is at work in their lives. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
The years of 2008-2009 were horrible. In May of 2008 my children watched their own father get arrested right in front of them and lost out on that relationship for quite some time. They had to change schools overnight, we had to move and they were put through what seemed like endless legal trauma to boot. They were only 8 and 10 years old. In February of 2009, my husband/their step-father, killed himself. They lost another Dad. That October I broke both of my ankles, that Christmas I had to have an emergency hysterectomy due to cancer issues, and then that December, my mother died unexpectedly. Life was rough. I’m just trying to give a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of tragedy that has struck our family because I want to talk about my amazing son.
My boy and I had always had an unbreakable bond until he hit 15. Then that bond seemed lost forever. He hated me, and I mean a sincere hate. I was devastated. He became very self-destructive and angry. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle him. I was scared and I was utterly devastated. I felt like my heart was literally torn out of my chest. What he doesn’t know is that during his time of self-destructiveness, I also entered into my own. I didn’t want to live anymore. I drank heavily and put myself in terrible situations. I did not care if I lived or died. My children were my entire life and I felt like I didn’t want to live without even just one of them. Very selfish thinking on my part, but it’s where I was. I’m not going to go into details to protect my son, but things got bad and court interventions happened. The great thing about court, was that there was mandated therapy. We had in home therapy and the healing process started.
This healing process brought me to letting go of my son. I got down on my knees, bowed my head and prayed. I cried and cried and cried and gave him back to God. I LET HIM GO. He needed to be freed from my chains that I had placed on him. This was equally hard to do. I was so scared…I still am.
I would like tell you that we have an amazing relationship now, but that would be a lie. It’s getting better. We still struggle, but so much healing has taken place in our lives and I am hopeful again that our special bond is still there. I feel those shattered pieces being put back together. Forgiveness has happened on both parts and that’s so huge. The hard part was never forgiving my boy. The hard part was forgiving myself.
My testimony is that Christ is bigger than ALL of this. He is the glue to our family. We can push him away, but he never leaves us. He is always waiting for us to run back to his arms just as I waited for my son to come back to me. We gave ourselves to Him 10 years ago and that was a forever decision. Today I am more confident as a parent and that is only because of Christ and the support I get from Him. Take your life to the cross, forgive yourself and give it all to Jesus.
The great Mariah Carey once said, “Never imagined I’d be sitting here beside myself.” This is how you will feel if you don’t learn to forgive people. Everyone makes mistakes every once in a while, including youreself. To be mad at someone for making a mistatke is a mistake in itself. No one wants to be alone.
I’ve learned to accept this principle and admire/honor it. It’s one of the greatest principles I know. I’ve learned this principle through seeing how it affected others around me, and how it affected me. The story I will share is one of how I had to learn this principle in a long timeline.
When I would argue with my mom as a kid, or even a teen, I would often tell her that I was done with her. That I hated her and I wasn’t going to ever talk to her again. I think a lot of kids say this, but won’t carry it out. In this time of my life I was very angry and I was ready to carry my words through.
It was winter of 2015, my sophomore year in high school. My mom and I were going through a very tough time with each other. She recently discovered that I had been doing things that she didn’t want me to do. We fought and argued for a few weeks, typical arguments.
One night I became very angry and lost control of my emotions (If you want to know more about the incident, then I can tell you in person, face to face). My mom did something that she says she felt was to defend herself. She said she didn’t know what else to do. This made me very angry. I told her that I couldn’t believe she would do this to me and that I was not going to be her son for a while. Until I saw that she changed. Until she felt the pain and sadness I felt at the time. I didn’t only say these things to my mom, I was ready to carry through with them. This felt like the final straw for me. I was ready to hate my mom.
I started carrying this out for a while. I wouldn’t talk to my mom unless I needed something from her, and when I talked to her it was very disrespectful. I became nasty and rude and I could see how much it hurt her.
This was going on for a few months (December to the begining of May). In this time I remember feeling very lonely and sad. I would spend a lot of time by myself. My friends even started to notice something different in my attitude. I seemed to lose part of my joy for life. At the time, I was training for football a lot, so I had a purpose. Other than training I was lost and lonely. Like I wrote, I would spend a lot of time by myself.
My mom would come to me a lot in this period. She would apoligize, she would cry and tell me that she didn’t know what to do anymore. She would tell me that she felt she lost her son. These things hurt me and made me sad, but like I wrote, I was ready to carry it out. I wasn’t going to give in. I just held on to what my mom did to me. This was one of my biggest mistakes in life, but I’m glad I learned it young.
So this went on til May 6, 2016, when I was headed to court with my mom (Again, if you want to know more, then I can tell you in person). I had done enough damage to my mom, and unknowingly, myself. I was done being rude. I need my mom. I love my mom. She works so hard for my sister and I. She made a mistake that made me angry and gave me resentment, but I had to forgive. If I didn’t, then this would start to become a habbit, and in the end, I’d end up alone. I already forgave her, the first step to anything, so now all I had to do was apoligize for my wrong actions, and ask that she forgive me.
It went well. I apoligized, and so did she. We talked for a bit on our way. It felt good, but different. I knew that it would take some time to get what he had before, but I was ready to endure it. I had courage to apoligize, and I had hope for the future relationship with my mom.
After we made up, everything wasn’t back to normal. We would still argue a bit (mainly in counseling sesions), but we were progessesing to a better relationship.
After a while I started to realize that our relationship was better than before. It was stronger, and we started being more mature with each other, and respecting each other more. We were both working hard to gain our relationship back and in the end it worked.
Now a days my mom and I are confident in each other. I have confidence that she will continue to work hard for me. She has confidence that I will do something with my life. I will give her back what she gave to me. I will work hard and get paid, so I can spoil her.
In the end it wasn’t the best decision to cut my mom out of my life, but we are stronger than we ever were. I think about my mom everyday, and all the grinding I do is partly for her. She shows me by example everyday that there’s no slacking in life. You gotta keep going and stay strong. I’m still learning and improving, and I hope that my relationship with my mom will continue to strengthen. Like Boyz II Men say in their song titled, “A song for Mama,” I can truly say to my mom that, “no one else can be what you have been to me.”