How I Learned To Honor My Mother


“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 12:20)

I remember the day I discovered the real Jesus. The One who actually had something to tell me and it started with “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” I was as excited as a child who had discovered a mountain of chocolate with a sign stuck in it instructing “Eat as much as you want” ! In the excitement of my new-found faith I rushed to tell my mom, who with tears streaming down her face, along with confusion, tried to understand what happened to her wild, rebellious, zealous daughter.

I came into Christianity with baggage in hand. Actually dragging a baggage cart is more like it, loaded with an assortment of luggage, full of issues, pains and beliefs that had to be gently unpacked, sorted and released.

One of those issues my God wanted to address, was my tumultuous relationship with my mother.

As I studied His word and sought His truth, it wasn’t long before I started to realize this particular suitcase was full of complex memories, emotions and expectations. It was the bag that was overstuffed, crammed and locked painfully tight. Better left unchecked.

`Not scars, but traces', Parvati Nair, Corner of Charing Cross R

But that is not His way.
I began my Christian walk blissfully ignorant, but with one understanding that would become my saving grace. I believed His word was alive. I believed He was alive and I desired more than anything to know what this meant for me.

I read Exodus 20:12 and asked God how I could do what He asked because I was stumped. I wondered how to honor my mom, when it seemed we offended each other at every turn. At this point I had not met my father and from where I was standing I could see a whole lot of unforgiveness between my relationship with my mother and God’s will for my life.

I had run away from home at 15, because I felt I was a burden to my single mother and couldn’t live with the rejection and pain of feeling unloved anymore. Running away seemed better to my adolescent self.

It was 10 years before I returned home.
Deep rifts of pain and bitterness had set in for both of us. But God is the one who writes history. He had revealed Himself to this daughter in His perfect time and by His grace, mercy and truth set into motion the potential for new beginnings and hope that is eternal. Because I belong to Him, now, there can be no compromise.

God continues to bring healing and growth into my relationship with my mom. He has given us the opportunity to build many new memories of love and laughter while allowing me to learn what it means to honor my mother. I have a long way to go, but because He lives and breathes and moves in me- all things are possible.

God does not always provide us “perfect” circumstances and conditions, but He always empowers us to do as He commands.

 ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)

momand me

My mom and I in the gym on a family day at her workplace.







9 Responses to How I Learned To Honor My Mother
  1. Stacy
    April 21, 2013 | 6:51 am

    Baggage….I think most of us have a lot where our parents, and particularly our mothers are concerned. Mine is a bit different from yours. My mom was an unwed mother in 1964…*gasp!* It was still shameful back then and her parents didn’t allow her to leave the house (expect for medical appts) during her pregnancy. After I was born they basically took over the role of parents so my mom could finish college. As a result, we’ve never had that special mother/daughter bond. I had it with my grandmother instead. I’m 48 and we still don’t have an easy or close relationship, but it’s…Okay. Learning that I can’t control how she is has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. I thank God that what I can control is my reaction to her. It doesn’t matter what she does as long as I do what’s right.

  2. Charis
    April 21, 2013 | 11:06 am

    thank you for sharing your journey. i agree with stacy that most people have some sort of baggage when it comes to relationships with parents – and i imagine our kids will have some baggage from us as well. God is the perfect Father and i am comforted as a mom knowing that He will meet my kids in His perfect love where my imperfect love fails to reach. what a testimony that the love of Jesus has given you vision and the grace to come back to a broken relationship and bring healing with forgiveness and honor and mercy. this is such beautiful good fruit of His real activity in your life. it is beautiful.

  3. Mandy
    April 21, 2013 | 2:01 pm

    What an important topic, Dawn! Thank you for sharing your experience, and for giving hope to those navigating strained relationships.

  4. susie klein
    April 21, 2013 | 4:43 pm

    God’s sweet timing will continue to work it out in you. Your heart is so dang big and open, Dawn! I love that about you. I never ran away from my mom, physically, but I sure did emotionally. Had to for my own sanity and I am glad we made peace before she died. So thankful for that!

  5. denise
    April 21, 2013 | 5:31 pm

    Appreciate your sharing.

  6. Barbie
    April 21, 2013 | 10:11 pm

    My mother is not a Christian. I did not grow up in a Christian home. I cannot say mom and I are close. But I do love her and strive to share Jesus with her every time I see her. I am thankful that God is doing a restoring work. I know that He will perfect it. Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerable heart with us!

  7. Missy
    April 29, 2013 | 3:38 pm

    Dawn, although I can’t relate to the running away part, I could to almost everything else. So much pain and yet, as a child of God, there is just no room for compromise. He died for me! And her. And I remind myself when I am tempted to not open an as yet unopened compartment in the baggage that is my relationship with my own mother.

    I was so thoroughly encouraged by your post here! Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Frances Wolf
    April 29, 2013 | 11:53 pm

    ——————————————————— What I Learned from my mom? – My mother was always giving-love/care/warmth/comforts and everything tochildren’s desire & great values ,great sacrifices never awaiting anything in return. JUST TRUE PIOUS LOVE.

  9. Mari C. Lancaster
    May 10, 2013 | 4:14 am

    When I saw a Praline Recipe in the latest Taste of Home, it inspired my love of flavored coffee creamers.