“Just xx more years until I can move out…” This phrase was my mantra growing up.
My relationship with my family has always been tumultuous. My mother could be verbally and physically abusive: throwing knives at me, beating me until my flesh was exposed, and constantly degrading me publicly. She unceasingly reminded me that I was born so that my older brother would not be an only child, and she never wanted me. Since that was my only experience of parental love, my idea of what love entailed remained transactional — to be loved, I had to earn it. The fear of not being ‘enough’ to receive my parents’ love made me feel like I was constantly walking on eggshells. All I wanted was to escape, so I looked forward to going to university and being able to stay on campus. That seemed to be the only way to avoid the fights and find some peace.
As I grew older, I realised that my view towards my family started to affect my relationship with those around me. Since my concept of love had always been transactional, I did things for people expecting them to give me something in return. My relationship with my family also affected my view of God. I couldn’t understand His unconditional love, and how He could be a good father. I didn’t choose to be a part of this family, and it was easy to blame God for putting me in this position. I even
asked why God hated me so such that He would place me in this family.
Through prayer and reflection, God helped me see that He did not place me here by mistake. He impressed upon my heart a desire to discover what my role in this family was, and to mend my relationship with my mother in particular.
God spoke to me through Exodus 20:12 to honour my parents. I wondered if I was disobeying God by being resentful towards my family. I decided to submit this relationship to God, to trust in His power to heal it, and trust that I would be able to love them like God has loved me. Though there wasn’t any obvious change in my family, I started to see a change in my heart.
This journey has not been easy. Despite my best efforts, there are moments when I feel like I’m back at square one. For example, after a recent argument with my mother, my anger was so overwhelming, and I caught myself spiralling into past memories of all the ways she had hurt me before. The years of trying to improve our relationship felt like it had been in vain.
But through the years of submitting our relationship to God and growing active communication with my mother, I see that our relationship is much better than before. It is only through God’s unwavering love and power that I have been able to see such healing and breakthrough in our relationship, no matter how deep the hurt has been. No matter what challenges may come, I know that I can continue to lean on God’s strength and healing power in this journey of reconciliation.