They say that personal blogging is dead. That writing should be geared towards helping your readers and less about yourself and your story. Personally, I really miss reading personal blogs. I was bummed out when my favorite bloggers got too famous and stopped sharing what God is doing in their life in real time. Honestly, I’m not very interested in articles. If I don’t sense the humanity and authenticity of the person who wrote it, I wouldn’t trust the person because I don’t know them, and therefore, I’m much less likely to take their advice. So, I’m putting that advice to the test today. This is personal. This is my story, plain and simple, and not much advice added to the top. We’ll see how God uses it.

I don’t really have a memory of my mom where she wasn’t addicted to alcohol. I remember thinking the world of here as a little girl, but whenever she drank, she turned into a different person, one that I didn’t recognize from the person she was when she was sober. Her alcoholism continued to escalate throughout my childhood, until it drove a wedge between her and my dad, which caused their marriage to end in divorce when I was in 5th grade. When she and my dad were finally separated, she was finally “free” to drink as she pleased without my dad discouraging it. I remember hiding in my closet as a 5th grader, pleading with God to change her and give me my mom back. My healthy mom. My mom who was a safe place. My mom who was stable and predictable. But it didn’t happen, it only got worse. And there in that place, as a 10 year old girl, I grieved the loss of my mom. I grieved that I wouldn’t be guaranteed a safe drive home from my after school activities. I grieved that alcohol might be on her breath at my parent-teacher conferences. I grieved that my house was not going to be a place I felt comfortable inviting friends over to. I grieved that I couldn’t trust my mom’s advice or judgement on most things. I grieved 1,000 other things and cried buckets of tears. But, she was alive. She was there but not there. No one said, “I’m sorry for your loss”, because no one knew I lost something.

This grieving happened over time, from 5th grade until I moved out at age 19. Jesus got a hold of my heart at age 13 and I surrendered my life to him. Eventually I met my husband (then, boyfriend) and moved to Austin, Texas, where he lived. We were in worship at a conference one day, and I had an encounter with the Lord like I had never had up until that day. I had my first vision from Him. He showed me a picture of my heart. Planted within my heart was a tree, and the roots went down deep, and it was trying to grow up tall above the heart. But sitting where the sprout would be was a big brick that said “unforgiveness” on it. I heard God say, “I am trying to grow you but you’ve got to get this unforgiveness out of the way, because it’s blocking the growth.” I knew in that moment, with tears streaming down my cheeks, that I needed to forgive my mom, and in that moment, I did.

Months later, I sent my mom a card with a letter, telling her that I was sorry for how disrespectfully I had spoken to her as a teen, and I also told her that I had forgiven her for how she parented me, although she hadn’t apologized to me, or even admitted that she had done anything wrong, so I didn’t know how that would go over. She called me after receiving the letter, thanking me for forgiving her. Although we weren’t really mad at each other, I felt like our relationship was restored to a greater level of intimacy.

About a year later, and after a lot of prayers for her, I felt like God was compelling me to send her a Bible. I highly doubted she would read it, but he gave me the words to say, so I wrote it in a letter again and put it in the Bible and mailed it to her. I told her that I thought God would change her life around if she read it. I asked her to really consider Jesus, instead of putting that off for a time of desperation. She said she would read it and didn’t really bring it up again in the future.

Then, about three months later, she had the first of many trips to the hospital for a health problem related to liver cirrhosis. She was basically told that she was going to die soon if she didn’t stop drinking and sought sobriety for the first time.

Around that time, a friend of hers from work invited her to her church, a new church plant in town that was aimed towards seekers, and she went. She called me that Sunday, after the first day she went church on some sort of spiritual high, telling me that she couldn’t believe the great “Christian rock band” they had and how the pastor talked about sex. She continued to go to that church on and off for several months, until one day she called me on a sunny, spring day in April and with not a hint of Christianese in her language, she told me she wanted Jesus in her life. I lead her to the Lord over the phone that day, and got to see a prayer I had been praying for 12 years come to pass. Somehow, after I told her I had forgiven her, things I had been praying for in the spiritual realm started to manifest in the physical realm. It was if that unforgiveness was blocking the flood of prayers I prayed, and once it wasn’t holding those prayers back anymore, we were able to see a flood of answered prayers: forgiveness, reconciliation, joy and contentment, eyes to see her as God does, and many more.

She still continued to struggle with alcohol on and off between initially trying to get sober and her passing in 2014. At the time of writing this, New York passed a law allowing the abortion of full term babies two days ago. I’m deeply saddened by this horrific law, and am praying for the rights of the unborn. As much as my mom struggled to raise me, I’m grateful she chose life for me. I’m grateful, finally, that I got to be her daughter. I’m grateful, that God used every bit of pain, heartache, and loss and worked to redeem every part up until she died, and beyond. I’m grateful for that peace between us in our relationship for several years before she died.

I would love to pray for anyone wrestling with these things. Shoot me an email, comment, or DM.