The Unexpected Lesson I Learned From My Mother


Mother’s day has always been a very emotional day for me personally, a day to celebrate this beautiful calling of being a mother and also a day of mourning the absence of my own mother. My mother passed away when I was only 11 years old, she was a beautiful woman and I loved her deeply but she wasn’t perfect and she was far from a godly example of what a mother should be but she was none the less my mother.

Over the last month I have wrestled with my own heart and my own experience with my mother, digging around in this 32 year old wounded and confused heart of mine for some kind of beauty and truth to share with your mother’s heart today but the deeper I dug, the dirtier and darker the soil prooved to be. I finally gave up and decided to just wait on God to uncover something beautiful out of the chaos of my past. Instead He uncovered the dirt from my own heart and gave me a new lens to see my mother through, the lens of grace. The same lens I can only hope and pray my own children will look at me through.

I realized all this time I have been looking at my mother through my pain forgetting that she suffered from her own pain. What she and I both needed was grace, this miraculous gift that has no limits and is no respector of persons. A gift that reaches into time both past and future and covers us in a blanket of His perfect love. The majority of my life has been spent resenting her and as a mother learning from the mistakes she wasn’t given the opportunity to learn from herself.

My mother loved football and drugs and as a child that is what I remember about her. Now as an adult I can finally see her as He wants me to see her and as a child there are things you forget or that you are unable to see until you are an adult. What I have failed to remember about my mother, what I couldn’t see as a child that I can see now as an adult, is that she chose life, dispite her circumstances, she chose love.


She chose me. 

You see 32 years ago she faced probably the hardest decision of her life when she was faced with an unwanted pregnancy that the father wasn’t willing to support her in and that would bring shame upon her. I can only imagine all of the sacrifices she had to make when she made the hard decision that would change her life forever. My mother wasn’t perfect but I believe she was doing the best she knew how to.

I am now for the first time able to look at the only picture I have of my mother with a true residing love and peace in my own heart because I no longer see her through my pain and resentment but through His eyes of grace. She too was a beautiful messy soul and I can finally see the lesson that she taught me, the most important lesson any mother can ever hope to teach her daughter…

She taught me to love, the one thing I couldn’t see as a child. She gave herself away so that I could live. Isn’t that the essence of motherhood? Isn’t that the picture of the gospel? As a mother, I strive to love my children in this same way, to speak the gospel to my children everyday. How did I miss this all these years?

“A trusting heart gives a second chance, it is forgiven and, in return, forgives.” Brennan Manning

Maybe your mother wasn’t perfect either and you have been looking at her through a dirty glass of resentment. Can I encourage you to let God uncover the dirt in your own heart and give you a new lens of grace to see her through, the same grace you hope your children will look at you through one day, the same grace you have already been given, and maybe you will see something you have never seen before. Your mother, as He wants you to see her.

 “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:18)

8 Responses to The Unexpected Lesson I Learned From My Mother
  1. Deb
    May 1, 2013 | 5:27 pm

    Kelli, This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. God’s grace changes the lens through which we look. I have my own story, not with my mother, but one that makes Mother’s Day a hard for me. By God’s grace each year He reminds me to keep my focus on His perfect love and let Him take care of the rest. Your words really touched my heart. Blessings.

  2. Mandy
    May 2, 2013 | 9:34 am

    What a tremendous testament to grace, mercy, and God’s glory! Thanks for sharing this, Kelli.

  3. Vicki
    May 2, 2013 | 9:38 am

    What a powerful story of grace and redemption! Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Missy
    May 2, 2013 | 5:28 pm

    Kelli, this is so poignant. Looking at my mother through the dirty glass of resentment was never fruitful for me. I so appreciate the lens you are now able to look through and the grace that it provides. Such a gift.

  5. Dawn St Amand Paoletta
    May 3, 2013 | 8:13 pm

    Kelli, thank you for being brave and sharing this post. I understand about having God give us grace for our mothers. He really does make everything beautiful in His time…love the quote you chose as well. Perfect for me tonight. A beautiful sharing of your heart.

  6. Jody Rivers
    May 15, 2013 | 2:31 am

    When your heart is filled with praise, you are covered with the protective shield of God’s glory. Your life is ‘hidden’ by His holiness. When you walk in holiness, the blinding light of the presence of God surrounds you. Evil can’t come close to you.

  7. Andrea B. Bruce
    May 19, 2013 | 8:19 am

    Thank you for sharing these words about motherhood. They really bring grace and encouragement. Congratulations to your son and may the Lord continue to bless and direct his steps.

  8. Foster Morton
    May 25, 2013 | 6:19 pm

    You are my heroes. I can’t remember the exact circumstances in which she said it but I’ve spent a lifetime trying to grow into it. Thank you, Momma, for your tireless example of what it means to give yourself away to others. And to all my strong and brave momma friends—-the sun (Son) always shines where you are too. Thank you for living in the light. You are like warm sunshine in a dark, cold world. Hope you had a wonderful day celebrating all the women who have mothered and nurtured you. Keep sharing your heart. Say what you need to say.