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Honoring Estranged Mothers

Today we honor moms. I would like to honor a specific type of mom—the mom who will not be honored by her own children because they’ve gone “no contact.”

According to psychologist Joshua Coleman, parental estrangement is on the rise. More and more young adults are deeming their parents “toxic” and either partly or completely distancing themselves from them.

Some mothers did neglect or abuse their child. Adulthood gave the child the brain capacity to admit the abuse and the voice to call it. But other mothers did what they could, within their limitations and flaws, to love their children well. Both categories of mothers should own their sins and mistakes and have patience to hear how they impacted the child. But “no contact” makes this impossible, doesn’t it?

Mothers who loved their children well find the no-contact order bewildering. They thought the great investment made would lead to a return of affection. The sleepless nights, the aching shoulders, the opportunities sacrificed, the money spent—what was it all for? I feel you and I want to offer a little encouragement.

I recently revised my parenting philosophy from an outcome-based model to what I call an “outflow” based model. The outcome-based model says we invest to get a predictable return on investment. We homeschool, have family worship, train a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) and teach them at every opportunity about Jesus (Deuteronomy 6:7), and the outcome of this effort is that they love God and us forever. Amen.

Only it doesn’t always go that way, does it?

A better model, and one that more fully honors free will, is the outflow-based model. We pour into our children because that’s what God, the ultimate parent, did for His children. We hope for a return of love and appreciation but we realize that there is no guarantee. When things don’t go as hoped, we may mourn our losses, but we do not mourn having made the investment.

Speaking to estranged moms now: You poured into your child. It seems wasted, but remember that most of Jesus’ blood seemed wasted, too. You learned what your heavenly Teacher taught you--how to love unselfishly. Motherhood can give us a PhD in that.

Take that love learned and find spiritual children to adopt. There are scores of them. Love those God sends you with that unselfish love you learned in the wee hours with a fevered baby, potty training a toddler, or comforting an infatuated teen. Take those nurturing drives, honed and refined by experience, and direct them toward lonely souls. Don’t give less because of the disappointment of loss, give more. Thumb your nose at Satan as he whispers that love didn’t work. He’s wrong. It worked a miracle in you, because you will keep loving in spite of loss.

Estranged mom, God sees you. And in the absence of the cards and flowers that should come from your own children, He honors your sacrifice. Take this little blog I wrote as your dozen roses.

Today we honor moms. I honor you. And more importantly, God does.


Blog post by Dr. Jennifer Jill Schwirzer



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