My entire life, my mom was an addict. It wasn’t a secret.
I spent most of my childhood visiting her in and out of prison. There were moments when she would pop up into my life, sometimes for as long as a year, and then disappear for two to three years.
However, not once did she ever do drugs around me. That is, up until a moment ten years ago.
That’s when my hatred for her began.
I’m thankful I’m not in that space anymore, but it took a while to get to where I am now. So before we get to the good and joyful parts of this story, it’s important to note that this trauma still impacts me today, and there isn’t a perfect ending to this.
I constantly have to be aware of the things that trigger me, and it’s been a long and difficult battle. But God has been good and faithful to me in a time when I thought there was definitely no light at the end of the tunnel.
Okay - back to what happened about a decade ago.
I was 15 years old. It was a ‘normal’ weekend visiting my biological mom. I vividly remember hanging out in the living room, binge-watching One Tree Hill. Go figure.
She came out of her room and told me, “I’m going to take some of my stuff.” She was referring to crack cocaine.
In complete shock, I looked at her and said, “Okay.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. What are you supposed to say at that moment?
She proceeded to go back into her room. When she came out, I saw a look on her face that I had never seen before. She was high. It was so clear.
That was when I started to build hatred and bitterness towards her.
Now, the feelings I felt weren’t just because of this moment. It was a culmination of the abandonment, rejection, neglect, and abuse I experienced throughout my entire childhood because of her actions.
As I mentioned, I knew she was an addict. But this time was different. The fact that she did it in front of me, seemingly unashamedly, hurt me so badly. As if she didn’t care how it affected me.
The person who should have taken care of me made a choice that made me feel unsafe. I couldn’t fathom how my own mother could do such a thing.
To be a child and to experience the things I did in my home had a grave impact on me. Trauma is real, and I’ve lived it.
My heart became hard towards her. I couldn’t stand the sight of her presence. There wasn’t a huge part of me that wanted to continue being in a relationship with her.
Okay, now we get to the good part. And as you may have guessed, it started when I made the decision to start following Jesus.
Now, everything wasn’t sunshine and rainbows immediately. And it still isn’t. I was actually at my lowest of lows when I made that decision.
But I was given a glimmer of hope - which began the long process of healing and showing me the truth and meaning I had been craving my whole life.
Soon before that decision to follow Jesus, I remember finding myself in a very vulnerable place. My childhood trauma was having a significant impact on my mental health, and I was making a ton of poor choices. I consistently found myself at bars and in the party scene, trying to escape the memories that haunted me.
Eventually, I remember feeling this nudge to start going to church. What I was doing wasn’t working, and I needed to try something else.
Somehow I ended up in the auditorium of a thriving, young church. It was in that space where for the first time, I heard about a God who loved me so much that he gave his life so that I would be free from sin and the shame that I felt.
I learned that not only could I be healed from my trauma, but that’s what God wanted for me. And this is why I find the message of Jesus so attractive: because he suffered.
He endured a level of pain on the cross that is incomprehensible. And He did it as much for my biological mom as he did for me.
That truth took time for me to understand. He not only offered me forgiveness (and believe me, I needed it) but also to my mom. Someone who was not seeking forgiveness and had scarred me in so many ways.
I was experiencing the love of God for the first time, and his love was so palpable in my life that it compelled me to make a choice:
To choose hate or to choose love.
I couldn’t love God and hate my bio-mom (The Bible says so in 1 John 4:20!). And without God’s grace, I would never have been able to get to a place of forgiveness, to begin with.
I knew what I had to do - what I needed to do - what would be so good for me.
After many tears, many hard conversations, and a ton of cries out to God, I was able to forgive my mom.
And the story gets even better - all because of the power of love (God’s love, that is).
Over the last few years, as our relationship began to restore bit by bit, my bio-mom began to witness the love of God in my life. And she started to crave it for herself.
So much so that last year she called me asking that I would baptize her. And I said yes.
In a million years, I could not have imagined this happening. I couldn’t even imagine myself getting baptized, let alone getting to baptize my bio-mom. There was a time when I couldn’t stand the sight of her.
And then, all in one moment, we’re in the same water together - I’m getting to help her be symbolically washed by Jesus - and healing starts to embrace me all the more.
We live in a world that is divided. Hatred and bitterness tend to be the natural inclination for most people. It’s easier to hate; it’s easy to be bitter. Yet it’s so damaging to our souls.
Hate was a poison in my life. And so many today are drinking from the same cup of bitterness that I was for years. Maybe you are right now. I get it.
I know some have experienced really difficult things in their lives, but when we choose to drink from the cup of forgiveness and love, the same love that Jesus extends to us, we find healing for our souls.
But we have to make the choice.
This doesn’t mean that we have to be best friends with the people that hurt us. It’s good to have healthy boundaries; I’ve created boundaries in my relationship with my bio-mom.
And it’s a choice that isn’t just about reconciling with a person. I believe it’s about being set free from the evil and hurt inside of us. And drinking the healing power of Jesus into our souls instead of that cup of bitterness.
I believe He can do the same for you. The beginning is typically the messiest - my story can attest to that - but it has to start somewhere.
God is ready for your honesty and prayers. That’s where my journey began.
And I’m so thankful I chose love instead of hate.
Disclaimer: This article is 100% human-generated.