I can’t say that my childhood is something I reflect upon with feelings of warmth. Instead, when I look back I see pain, hurt and loneliness. I was raised by a single mother. My father left us when I was five years old because he fell in love with someone else. Growing up my mother never let me forget that my father didn’t love us enough to stay. Am I bitter because of my childhood? No, I believe in the power of choice and moving on.
My mother had to work two jobs just to meet our most basic needs. She also attended school full time so we could have a better life. With that kind of a schedule she was often tired and overwhelmed. My sister and I did the best we could to make life easy for her. We took care of the house and studied with her late into the night. Yet, her frustrations were taken out on my sister and me. Many times we didn’t understand why.
Do I hate my mother? No, I don’t. I love her very much and can see her now for who she is. She too was raised by an abusive mother and carried anger and resentment all her life. She chose to let her childhood shape the kind of mother she was. I am thankful for the gifts she gave me. I have become the mother I am because of her. I love my children and thank God everyday for the precious gifts He has entrusted me with. Do I get frustrated with my children? Of course I do. Sometimes I want to scream at them, but I look back on my own childhood and know I want my children to be raised with love and kindness, not hurt and fear.
I could blame her for all of my shortcomings. I could use my childhood as a crutch. Instead I believe that we have to forgive and move on. I believe that everything happens for a reason. One recent Sunday my pastor was giving a sermon on enduring trials in our life. He said, “God is more concerned with our character than our comfort.” This stuck with me because growing up I often wondered why God let others hurt us. But now I know that God cares greatly for us, and like a parent he lets us experience pain in order to shape us into better people.
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