Trust and Forgivenessposted on March 29th, 2010 / by Crystal Dodson / 18 Comments
Growing up was a tough time in my life. I was born to a single mother of 16. She was young, rebellious and just plain sassy. She was free spirit and hated to be tied down. Everyone tells me to this day that they admired her freedom to be who she was.
Eventually who she became was not something to be admired. She found herself spiraling into drugs, alcohol and abusive men. She shacked up with men of all sorts and gave herself away many times. In the middle of all of this was me- this young girl who longed to be loved by someone. Anyone. Eventually she had more children and I had someone to love and to love me back. I remember making bottles for my brother, who was 3 years younger than me, and then changing diapers and making bottles for my sister who came along 6 years later.
My life as a mom started at a very young age.
We grew up poor. Not the kind of poor that most kids think they are when they don’t get every single thing they want, but the kind of poor that makes you ashamed of the fact that you live in your car. The kind of poor that makes you wish you could hide away and pretend your life was amazing.
In our life, we were witness to all sorts of acts of violence. My mom was abused by a man for over 10 years and we suffered abuse by him as well. I can remember moments where we would be hiding in the pantry while he ran through the house yelling our names and saying he would kill us as soon as he found us. Needless to say, this did not do good thing for our daddy issues.
I can remember the police arriving and taking him away; only to find my mother 5 hrs later picking him up from the police station and bringing him back into our home. The place that was supposed to be our sanctuary. The place where we came to find safety, reassurance and comfort. But instead we found fear, rejection, abuse and many other unhealthy things. Fighting was a common occurrence in our home and soon it became the norm. We knew that if we made a noise at night and woke him up, that we would find ourselves smacked across the back or head and told to get back bed. There was no love in our home. Just fear.
My mom always chose other things over us. Drugs, alcohol, men, women, and many other things. We were left for weeks at a time to fend for ourselves and that meant I was the one in charge. I was the mom and these were my children.
Eventually I grew up and started to live my own life. Jesus found me at 17. Broken, hurt, emotionally unstable and in a constant state of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of men, fear of myself, of love, of anything that was good. I felt unworthy and unloved.
Thankfully Jesus took the time to heal those things and make me the woman I am today. My relationship with my mom even began to heal.
Eventually I married and found myself pregnant with our first child. I was overjoyed! I knew that my heart was meant to hold lots of love for lots of children and I couldn’t believe that this was finally my chance to be a mom!
Our son Ethan was born on October 27th, 2006. He was perfect! Beautiful. As I held him in my arms, I felt something I never expected to feel at the birth of my first child …
All of these memories of my childhood came flooding back.
I began to cry out and ask God
“How could she do this to me? How could she look at me as a beautiful child and choose the life she gave me? WHY?”
I was overwhelmed by love for my son but overwhelmed by anger towards my mother. I was her child. How on earth could she do that to me? I could never imagine putting this perfect little boy through the things I lived through.
The thought was unfathomable to me!
And it was in that moment of adoring my son and hating my mom that God came to me and asked
“Crystal, are you willing to forgive her.
Not for her or for me, but for Ethan.
Are you willing to trust ME to heal those places and to bring wholeness?
Could I walk out of that hospital room a mother and no longer the child who was put through unthinkable acts?
I knew I had to do it- if only for Ethan.
And I did. In the midst of loving my son and hating my mother, I chose forgiveness. I chose to move on, to love and to cherish the mother I had, despite her failings. It was then that the feelings of anger were overcome by the feelings of love.
For my son – for my mother.
Since the birth of my 1st son, my relationship with my mom has become more and more incredible. She has been clean and sober for almost 2 years and has accepted Christ! Talk about redemption! We talk weekly (as I live in Australia and she lives in California) and find ourselves moving past the past and towards the future.
Forgiveness can be many things and it can be the very thing we least expect it to be. For me it was the freedom to be the mother I never had. It was choosing love and forgiveness over bitterness and anger. It meant letting go so I could live my life as a mother and love my children fully and without restriction
I encourage you to choose forgiveness. To choose to love. To choose to trust God. Even in those moments when it doesn’t feel possible, ask for God to help you. His heart is moved by forgiveness and healing can begin. It’s about love. Loving your family /life/self/God and others enough to move past the hurt and choose the life that can only be found in forgiveness.
Mother Teresa said
” If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”
Crystal is a wife to an Australian hottie and mother of 2 cheeky boys with baby #3 on the way! She has lived in Australia with her little family for the past 5 years and loves every minute of it! Staying at home with her kiddos allows her to dabble in all sorts of jobs. nurse, chef, professional laundry lady, cleaner, and when she gets a moment she likes to grab her camera and moonlight as a photographer. She loves anything to do with cupcakes and dinner parties. Most Friday nights you will find her with a nose in a new cookbook or eyes scanning a cooking website. Most of all she loves Jesus and walks in the confidence of who He created her to be.