For as long as I could remember, my mom and I had not gotten along. Differences in opinion. Negative comments toward each other. Even trying to figure out something to do together was a challenge. Our relationship just didn’t work.
I grew distant from her, creating more tension and resentment between us. Most of the time it felt like I didn’t even have a mother, and that feeling only intensified as the years went on.
I’d prayed about other things in my life, and I knew from these other experiences of practicing Christian Science that prayer is effective. So there were times when I really did try to pray about the situation with my mom. Often, my approach was to write down a few ideas from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that would help me think more spiritually and constructively about the situation. Sometimes things would get better for a few days, but the progress didn’t seem to last. It wasn’t until the summer before my sophomore year of high school, when I was back home from boarding school, that I fully committed to addressing this problem with prayer.
Most of the time it felt like I didn’t even have a mother.
I began by praying with this quote from Paul: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (I Corinthians 13:7, New Living Translation). This passage ended up becoming one of my go-tos for whenever my mom and I got in an argument. It reminded me that love—real love that comes from God, divine Love—isn’t flimsy, shaky, or unreliable. It’s solid, because unending, ever-present divine Love is its source. This gave me hope that my mom and I could have a loving relationship.
I also prayed to counter the feeling that I was lacking a mother. One passage that helped me with this was by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. It says, “God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man’s only real relative on earth and in heaven” (Miscellaneous Writings, 1883–1896, p. 151). This clear statement helped me recognize that since God is my Mother, it would actually be impossible to feel like I was lacking a mom. God is omnipresent—a mothering presence that’s always there. And my Father-Mother God can’t leave me any more than I can leave Him, Her. It comforted me to have this spiritual recognition that in reality I’d never been missing anything—that I’d always had everything I needed.
As I prayed steadfastly with these ideas over the course of the summer, my relationship with my mom improved. I started to open up to her a bit more … and complain about her a little less.
I shared this healing-in-progress with my friends who were also Christian Scientists, and they chipped in ideas as well. A passage one of them shared with me was “Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good,—that blesses infinitely one and all?” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 8). The more I realized how true this idea was, the more I felt an overwhelming sense of love. I was able to look back on my life, think about times when I needed a typical mother figure, and recognize that I actually did have that. God’s mothering love had always been there for me. Although this didn’t always happen in the presence of my own mother, there had always been people in my life to wrap me in their arms and guide me. This realization brought me so much relief and peace.
God’s Mothering love had always been there for me.
My sophomore year was a great year for many reasons, but one central reason was my increasingly healthy, loving relationship with my mom. During my junior year, she even came to visit me at boarding school, and one day during the visit, we decided to go on a walk—just the two of us. As we walked, our conversation moved from school to our relationship. This wasn’t the first time we’d had a conversation like this, but usually I was the one who started it—yelling at her and blaming her for everything bad that had happened to me. This time, she was the one who started the conversation, and a minute into it she apologized. I was astonished! I never would have expected her to do that. To me, this was proof that my prayers had really touched both of us.
I am truly grateful for all I learned during this healing, and I look forward to seeing how my relationship with my mom continues to grow.