John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” and that’s why I wanted to start this post with the scene from Frozen where Anna sacrifices her life for her sister. You see, it’s Anna’s unconditional love for Elsa that finally allows Elsa to feel. Throughout the movie, Elsa is constantly telling herself to NOT feel. Now, I’m not choosing Anna or Elsa to represent as my high concept, instead I’m choosing two people. My biological mom who raised me and my adopted mom that God sent into my life 11 years ago. As I was reading back over my discourses, I realized that I shared a lot stories about my mom and some I think I shared a few about my adopted mom. You may be confused by my use of the term adopted. Ida and her family did not legally adopt me, but they have treated me like a member of their family since I met them.
As you may have inferred from some of my posts, my mom and I had a long, rocky and somewhat difficult road in regards to our relationship. I want to be clear that my mom has always loved me, she and I just communicate very differently and we’ve had to learn how share with each other. My mom had a very difficult childhood. Her mother was an alcoholic and was not a nice alcoholic. Her dad worked a lot in order to support their family and her two older brothers were busy with their own lives. I think in part my mom’s past impacted our relationship. I struggled with never feeling worthy, good enough or smart enough. I don’t know if your familiar with the book called The Seven Love Languages (if not, you should read it) but the book explains that people have a primary love language in which they feel the most loved. For me, my love language is words of affirmation. It took my mom a long time to understand that. Whenever someone raises their voice or yells, I get very quiet. Why? It’s an automatic defense. I shut down in hopes that whatever words are said, won’t wound me as deeply as they could. As a teenager, my mom and I butted heads. I constantly sought her affirmation and no award I won, no test I aced, no good deed I did turned her head. When you take and compound that with the leftover baggage that I had from her leaving my dad and me, well … you can understand how I struggled with believing that she loved me. Since I felt rejected by her, I thought that I was unworthy of love and that there was something terribly wrong or broken inside of me that didn’t allow her to love me.
When I was 21 or 22, I met Ida and her family at a church I was attending with my mom and stepdad. Ida was the first safe place I ever had. With Ida, I knew I could tell her anything about myself and she’d still love me. You see, Ida was the first place that I experienced unconditional love. I didn’t feel like I had to strive or do well or be perfect in order for her to love me. She just saw the broken shell that I was and just loved me where I was at. I truly believe, with all my heart, that God placed this special woman in my life. She is full of wisdom, grace and love. I can’t tell you how many times she’s wiped my tears or the endless hours she spent listening as I poured out my heart and tried to figure out what the right the to do was. Ida is my Elsa and I think for my mom, I am her Elsa. But you see, that’s how God’s wisdom works out in our lives. Through Ida’s love I was able to love my mom again and forgive her for the hurt and pain.
Life is never perfect, but it is what we make of it. We can choose to face our challenges with grace or we can begrudgingly face them, either way, we still have to face them. There is no tear, no laughter, no sorrow and no joy that is ever wasted. Sometimes we need to walk through the fire in order to find out who we truly are in order to forgive where we came from. We are not perfect people. We all have faults, flaws and failures, but it is through those imperfections that we can learn, change and grow. Trust me, you never know what’s around the next river bend!