Mother to Daughter
My mother started having children at a very young age. She was 17 when she had my oldest sister and she had my brother the year after. Growing up in the South Bronx, It was the norm to be outside on the front stoop having drinks and smoking cigarettes with your friends while your kids ran around you, playing freeze tag or jumping over the cracks in the sidewalk. As children in my household, the focus was never on us. We were brought up to take care of each other and also very subtly trained to take care of our mother. Everything we were taught as kids benefited our mother first in some way. We took care of each other so she wouldn't have to and if she needed something, we'd have to drop what we were doing, even if that was schoolwork. None of our needs were ever above her own. We had no stability as children, always moving from place to place, in and out of shelters and foster homes.
I vowed at a young age to do everything exactly opposite of what my mother did or advised.
It turns out that the generational cycles run deep. When I decided to have my daughter, I thought I'd chosen the right man and that I'd be prepared. I didn't realize how young I actually was or the troubled relationship I was in. I had no idea that in my daughter's three years on earth, I'd live in two different states and five different places. I had no idea that her father would turn out to be such an abusive man. I had no idea that I'd brought a child into so much brokenness and turmoil.
I remember holding Alice one day, she was about seven or eight months at the time, she was having a crying fit and trying to fight her sleep. I held her and rocked her as she cried until she finally fell asleep, her little hand clinging on to my shirt. I started to pray over her, I spoke to God about the mess that was my life. I thought about everything that was going on and pictured Alice, years from now in the same situation and I cried, a deep weeping cry. I pleaded with God and begged that this would not be her life. In that moment, I became determined to break the cycle.
In this time, I've considered what could have possibly happened to my mother in her young adult life to shape her into the woman that she is and make her that kind of mother. Knowing what I've gone through with just one child, I can imagine what experiences she's had with four children in tow. It is obvious to me now that her main focus was self preservation in tumultuous times. I know that if I didn't have the faith that I do now, I could easily fall into the same pattern.
I believe that we can break these cycles when we allow God to shape us and not just the experiences we've had. Our God is a healer. He makes beauty from ashes and He alone can fix our brokenness. God has turned over every experience in my life and used it to bring me closer to Him and to grow my faith. Motherhood is not easy, but it is what we as women are built for. The best way to be a good Mother is to remember that you are a Daughter first. Daughter of the most High. With God on our side, we can surely break chains and create better lives for our daughters.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28