THE ENTRY I MADE THE EVENING OF HER PASSING ON APRIL 5 OF 2013 WAS AN EMOTIONAL ONE…

My Momma.

Now that she’s gone to Heaven, it’s a strange mix of emotions.

Bittersweet.

I think of how this all turned out, and, as that song goes, baby I’m amazed.

My Momma and I were never close. I was her nemesis. She always wanted me to be like my big brother, Jim…the perfect child. Compliant, quiet, studious.

Unfortunately, she never got from me what she wanted. I was head-strong, boisterous, adventurous, and talkative. Try as she may, she just could not contain me, and I know that made her life of motherhood a serious challenge.

My Momma was a perfectionist. Everything had to be just so, and I never really tried very hard to meet those expectations. Yep, I was a rebel…her wild child.

No wonder we were never that close…I never felt like I could measure up, and she never felt like I was trying hard enough (which was true!).

My time in captivity, where we were erroneously encouraged to “hate your father, mother, sister, brother, spouse, children, and even your own life if you want to be My disciple…” based on Luke 14:26 (completely out of context), resulted in an even larger wall between us. The most hurtful sin against her was when I was counseled to send her a card when my Dad passed away quoting the scripture about

“let the dead bury the dead…you must follow Me”

as my justification for not flying out when he was near death or attending the ensuing memorial service.

By the time I was delivered from those 12 years of deception, her Alzheimer’s was so far advanced that she really did not remember me. Right before I came down to Texas to visit in January, 2012, I watched the movie “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”… I had no idea what it was about, and thought it was kinda weird…but as the story progressed I watched a realization unfold in the daughter about a time in her life when her mother was having a nervous breakdown, but all she felt at the time was that her Mom was mean and (to her) abusive. What an epiphany she had when she realized what she perceived as abuse was really her Mom going through an emotionally devastating time in her life.

God used that movie to minister so much to me…to help me see that all the negative, nagging, pushing for perfection she aimed at me was not her attempt to hurt me…she was doing the best she knew how, with a precocious and high maintenance daughter who was born driven…in fact my Dad always used to say,

“Athena wants….and she wants HARD!”

I cannot imagine what it was like for her to have a daughter like me!

When the opportunity arose for me to come down to help my brother care for her after she took a fall just before Thanksgiving last year, I was blessed with some prayer ministry at my friend Gaye Lewis’s place called The Hill. Any residual unforgiveness I carried towards my Momma was released completely. I was equipped with a new overflowing of the Spirit of God to come and lay my life down for her in any way that was needed.

These last five months have been a wonderful time of bonding with her. God has taught me so many things as a result of this time…from the first weekend here where God opened up a window of lucidity for me to share the gospel with her, to many precious moments painting her nails, changing her diaper, brushing her hair, spoon feeding her, and so many other simple things that God used to remind me of His unending grace, His everlasting mercy, His unconditional love.

I am not the same person I was when I arrived here on November 29th. My heart and the depth of compassion I feel for others have grown in ways I cannot even express. As painful as many moments have been over this time, I would not trade it for anything. I made my peace with my Momma, with my perfect older brother, Jim, and she made peace with God, so I know I’ll see her again one of these days.

When I prayed that God would restore my life after the devastation I endured, I had no idea this would be one of the ways He would bring restoration, and how much it would mean to me.

What a good God He is…I can only rejoice in the privilege I’ve had to finally become the daughter my Momma always wanted me to be.

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