Dysfunctional Mothers Can’t Rock the Boat

Kids never grow up—they just become parents.

Dysfunctional Mothers – Audio Story

Era, a new mother, asked, “What makes a good mother?” It was a hard question and took me a minute of thought before it became clear. But instead of answering, I said, “I’ll get back to you.”

Wanting to be absolutely sure about my observations, I sought clarification by questioning Kirti, my eldest daughter. “What makes a good mother?” Kirti loves to explain with visions and dreams, so she got right into it:

“One day when my three kids were all still very young, they were screaming and noisy and fighting and happily driving me out of my mind. I was ready to tear my hair out.”

Kirti paused. “Have I already told you this?”

“NO, please continue.”

“So, in order to control my three rascals, I shoved them into their room and yelled in a most unmotherly way, ‘Go to sleep!’ I slammed the door, fell to the floor, crumpled into a foetal position and cried. A few pitiful sobs later I came to my senses, realizing I was the tantrum-throwing-toddler. My kids were dutifully sleeping—or at least silent.

My sobbing changed its tune and turned into a soulful cry‘God how can I be such a dysfunctional mother?’ You’ll never believe what happened next.

I looked up and there before my eyes was God, looking quite improper. He was dancing! The only way to describe it is wholly undignified. As I watched, God appeared to be teasing me, saying, “I can become even more undignified than this!”

It was crazy! He was having such a good time! It was God’s reckless joy in the purest form I’d ever experienced. And suddenly, I understood: There was nothing I could do to rock God’s boat. I called on God and he was right there, rejoicing over me. God was going to have a good time no matter what state I was in. He wasn’t judging me, He was rejoicing over me. He was loving me. That was His answer to a dysfunctional mother.”

“Yep,” I said, “that’s the answer. LOVE. Thanks for clarifying.”

I decided it was time to disclose a motherhood lapse of my own.

My son, Asher, was about 7 when he told me, “My heart hurts sometimes.” I didn’t think twice about his statement, though there was every reason for concern. I was a busy, worn-out Mom, barely mustering enough strength to accomplish everything necessary to get by on a daily basis. I didn’t have time to think. Or listen.

(My brood minus the eldest, Asher on the right.)

Why hadn’t I listened to Asher? I was born with a heart condition which ended up in open heart surgery when I was 7. Furthermore, Asher’s birth turned into an emergency when his foetal heart-beat was weakening. I was rushed into the operation theatre. When he was delivered, he was not breathing, and was rushed out of the room to be resuscitated. Years later, the doctor confided that she suspected Asher may develop heart problems. Knowing that, I still wasn’t listening when Asher said his heart hurt. “Hearts hurting” sounded like a child’s ploy for attention.

When Asher was a baby I listened to every cry, and watched his little chest rise and fall in gentle sleep. I anticipated his needs. But once kids reach the age of speaking, they’re masters at getting their needs met by their parents. Likewise, parents listening skills go downhill.

When Asher said his heart hurt, I didn’t even listen. I was so overwhelmed with motherly duties, I neglected my children. How does that even make sense?

Months later our family travelled to England, where we were invited to attend a conference. There was food and tents with activities for all ages. My husband and I went one way, while our kids chose a children’s worship tent.

Afterwards, I asked Asher what he thought of the meeting.

“It was really good. We had a lot of fun and learned some silly songs.”

“Sounds fun.”

“Yeah, it was. And afterwards, they asked if any of us wanted prayer. So, I went up to be prayed for. I told them my heart hurts.” Now I was listening.

“They prayed for me and I was healed.”

I was stabbed with guilt and remorse. I had listened when Asher first told me, but didn’t act on it. There’s only one thing to do with guilt: Give it to God with an apology. I did just that.

Instead of showing me His uninhibited dancing, God chose another way to “dance” with me. He ignored my negligence and healed Asher. For my sake, and because he is Asher’s Dad.

It was Love.

Yes, the picture was very clear, all the answers were in place.

Which brings us back to Era’s question, “What makes a good mother?”

It is clearly Love, LOVE, and MORE LOVE. That is the way to pull all the wrongs together to come out with a right.

(Era and her kangaroo pouch son, Sean.)

Babies, gorgeous, loveable, and adorable, are born out of love, and have superpowers to squeeze out every bit of Mom and Dad’s sympathy and protective instincts to make themselves understood. As for God, who revels in wild, uninhibited, dancing, He already saw parent’s hands-deep in poopy diapers, experiencing wild tantrums. Our boats tend to rock, but dysfunctional mothers can’t rock His boat; He flips the problem and calms the storm.

Cayden and his Crumbs

(My son Asher with his son Cayden)

Lullaby for Era

Love wells up and overflows, for nine whole months, as baby grows. Barely able to endure, anticipation… a boy? A girl?
What mystery will be revealed? A miracle to be unveiled…
The cry of love is heard across the earth in every birth.
He crowns our heads with hand-picked pearls, precious gems, diadems. The crown he wore—he chose… ‘twas made of thorns from which he bled. Love wells up and over flows for nine whole months as baby grows.

God’s plan was to fill parents with love, even though they might not have a clue about raising children. Still, God endows us with everything we need, expecting us to be good parents.

The Sun Came Searching
By Kim Balke

The sun came searching
for lost little me
stuck in anxiety’s thorny brambles.
A parent, flashlight in hand,
pushed back with light
the fog and uncertain grays
all the way to the mountains.

Now a warming stroll awaits me
along familiar paths
making them dear and new again.
The ducks in the pond quack agreement
while eagle eyes take in
child’s play – running, climbing,
laughter swinging in the air.
Even the first pussy willows sun themselves
content as cats in a picture window.

I imagine I take off my socks and shoes,
watch the worry boats float down the river
as Jesus washes my feet.

Centennial Beach wanderings, Tsawwassen, BC, Jan. 22/22

2 replies on “Dysfunctional Mothers Can’t Rock the Boat”

Thank you so much for this! It’s beautiful! The part where you said while you were overwhelmed with motherly duties you neglected your children, made a lot of sense. We tend to keep things perfect forgetting that raising kids is a messy business. I try to keep my chores on lower priority than having a good time with Sean. Messy house happy family 😀 Thank you so much Aunty 🥰

I love these stories. They are such an encouragement and an inspiration when I forget to look up! Our loving Father never stops rejoicing over us – His creation.

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