Developing a youth ministry here in Florida is exciting. Our tiny leadership team is constantly reminded that as it booms, nothing is from us. We’re partaking, by the grace of God, in a bountiful harvest. Last week, as we all met together for food and extended worship I was approached. I was approached by the uncommonly chipper, high-voiced, and awkward but joyful laugher after every worship song. The one that always contributes encouragement right as the person teaching takes a breath. And does so, in the most vibrant way, waving her hands in the air as the light catches her ginormous purity ring that glares into my eye.
This is what she said:
“I need prayer, Jessica. You know me. I’m so happy. I can get along with anyone. I could get along with Hitler if you let me.” which is very true. “But my relationship with my mom is so broken. Jessica I would give up all my other great relationships just to have a good one with her.”
Instantly I’m tearing up as I flash back to me at her age. I am a couple months from graduating, right at that point where mothers grasp on for dear life as their child is about to depart from them and the fear of this annihilates any potential for a functional, loving relationship between mother and child. My mother and I have been fighting for months and I am exhausted from it and the breaking point is just about to hit as my mother accuses me, in the most classically manipulative way possible, “You don’t even want to go to Bible College in England do you?”
There was too much jammed packed into that one sentence to explain all here, but let me tell you, that little sentence violated my seventeen year old heart on levels my now twenty three year old self could probably no longer comprehend.
And out of my mouth it came, seventeen years of fighting and build up into two little words, “You bitch!” I responded.
That was the first time I had ever cursed at my mother.
That was also the last time I ever cursed at my mother.
But it wasn’t enough, I then threw the fork I was holding down the hall and stormed off to my room. As I entered my room, there the fork was, sticking straight up in my step dad’s beloved hard wood flooring. The utter fear of damaging the hard wood floors knocked me out of my tirade and into an almost simultaneous apology, which at his point was so ridiculous it was comical.
The memory began to push back into my subconscious and as I came into real time again with my student, the only thing I could stammer out was, “There’s hope! I promise there’s hope!”
I clenched the necklace around my neck that my mother had recently sent me in the mail and affirmed on and on and on and on about how God had completely restored my relationship with her. Fifty percent of that all resting on simply just moving out of my parent’s house and the other fifty resting on the liberating punch in the face of the gospel.
In 1 John 4:8 it says:
He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.
A couple years out of high school, I desired God more and more, but that is simply biblically impossible apart from tangibly loving and treating everyone in my life appropriately. Knowing this one thing, through the Spirit I was actually able to accomplish it.
As cliché as it gets, seriously, my mom is now one of my best friends.
There is hope.