Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

A Mother’s Day Dilemma: How to Deal With a Mom Who Left

posted by Linda Mintle

In this week’s lead up to Mother’s Day, an adult daughter asks…

Every Mother’s Day I have a hard time honoring my mom for this reason. She left our family to be with another man when I was 14. It still hurts when I think about what my family experienced as a result of her decision.  Consequently, I never know how to approach Mother’s Day. I think I am still angry with her for what she did. And my mom wants to have a relationship with me now.

 I would ask you to examine your heart. Have you really forgiven her for what she did? If there is any unforgiveness still in you, release it to the Lord. Forgiveness is a choice you make. It doesn’t condone what she did or minimize the impact on you. We forgive because Jesus forgave us when we didn’t deserve it. He asks that we do no less. Then, ask yourself if you are still judging her. Yes, her choice was sinful. But she must answer to God for what she did. Next, think about the impact her choice had on your life and decide if you want to confront her with this. Perhaps you need a conversation in which you tell her how her choice affected you. That said, do not have any expectations about her response to you. The point is to let her know what happened to you as a daughter. If she makes a move to ask for forgiveness, accept it. Then reconciliation may be possible. However, reconciliation takes the work of two people. Discuss a next step and decide if you are both willing to risk it. If not, at least you have moved through the forgiveness and can approach Mother’s Day with a forgiving heart. This will improve your life and own mothering. If your mother refuses to ask for forgiveness and denies the impact of her actions on you, then you will need to grieve the loss of an intimate relationship with your mom and trust God to fill in that gap.

 

For more help, order Dr. Linda Mintle’s book, I Love My Mother But..

Making Mother and Daughter Relationships the Best

posted by Linda Mintle

One of the common areas of tension between mothers and daughters involves boundaries. Boundaries are important because mothers and daughters often have different expectations about their relationship. Mothers tend to want more time and attention than their adults daughters can or are willing to give. Therefore, boundaries need to be negotiated and set.

Establish a time to have a conversation with your mom that begins like this, “Mom, let’s talk about what you expect from me and what I expect from you, given our lives and all that is in them.” Try to come to an agreement and then work on putting that agreement into practice.

Instead of becoming angry and defensive when the agreement is broken, revisit it.  For example, “Mom, remember, you weren’t going to do that.” Then, when the agreement works, positively note the change and willingness to work together. It takes time and intention to change family behaviors and patterns.

When an expectation seems unrealistic, you will need to be assertive and clarify the expectation. Keep in mind that daughters often have unrealistic expectations of their mothers. Daughters want moms to be all-knowing, all nurturing and meet every need. When moms fall short (and they will because these are impossible tasks), daughters become upset and irritable. But rather than complain and feel bad, ask yourself, are you expecting too much? It may be that only God can meet your expectation of complete unconditional love, anticipating your needs and knowing what you need every day.

Clarifying expectations and setting boundaries go a long way to establishing a healthy mother-daughter relationship. It takes conversation and negotiating but is so worth the effort. When the mother-daughter relationship is healthy, it can be one of the most enjoyable relationships in your life!

5 Spiritual Helps to Overcome Temptation

posted by Linda Mintle

In the past few weeks, I’ve been commenting on the way television shows handle temptation. Typically, what we see is the power of the temptation and no power to resist. So, from a Christian perspective, what works to overcome temptation?

First be encouraged by this scripture which tells us we can overcome temptation with God’s Help.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV):  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1) Flee from it. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality.” In recent weeks, Grey’s Anatomy has been an excellent example of how easy it is to give in to temptation when you indulge your desires and allow the moment to take over. God knows that our natural desire is to give in to temptation when we entertain it. Rather than indulging a temptation, we are told to run from it. Indulging temptation only gives strength to it.

2) Trust God to help you, not yourself. The greatest risk to falling into temptation is thinking that you alone can handle it. Distrust yourself and trust God. Dependence on Him and not self is the key to overcoming.

3 Watch and pray. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). This was Jesus’ instruction to his disciples. He knew they had good intentions, but that their human nature was subject to weakness. The way to overcome is to stay watchful of the pitfalls and pray. Prayer is our communication with God. Talk to Him about the temptation. Ask Him to strengthen you when you are weak. When we are weak, He is strong.

4) Put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:11–Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” The war that is waged is one of principalities and powers and requires putting on the full armor of God to resist temptation.  The darts of temptation need to be met with the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Without protection, we are easily wounded by the arrows that pierce.

5) Fear the Lord. A healthy fear of the Lord is crucial to a successful walk of faith. Sin brings destruction. God’s way is meant to keep us from the snares of sin and the negative consequences that follow. Our loving Father shows us the way to escape unnecessary heartache. If we fear God and think about His ways, we can choose to walk an upright life with His help.

Grey’s Anatomy: The Reality of Temptation

posted by Linda Mintle

My last blog on Grey’s Anatomy ended with the hope that the writer’s would work us through April’s sexual encounter with Jackson. I was particularly hopeful that she would move from feeling as if Jesus hated her for giving in to sexual temptation, to receiving his grace and forgiveness. Just like real life, last week’s episode didn’t resolve that easily.

April, still reeling over her decision to give in to premarital sex after maintaining her virginity all this time, finds herself in the bathroom, stressed to the max during her boards. Since Mer and Christina won’t allow her in the women’s bathroom, she barges in to the men’s room and tells them to get over it. They are all doctors. But there, she encounters Jackson (the source of her temptation) once again. Jackson is distressed with mommy issues during his boards. The stress and the pressure bring the two together again. As they commiserate, they discuss the sex and April brings the discussion to a critical point. Giving in to temptation feels good.

This conflict and confusion are real. We have our values, our beliefs. We have the Word of God that gives us the guidelines of appropriate sexual behavior. Basically, sex outside of marriage is wrong.

April knows all of this but is confronted with temptation. Now that she has given in to it, she knows how good it feels.

And this is real life struggle–how to resist temptation when temptation feels really good for the moment. This is the struggle most of us face, whether it is overeating, sex, overspending, etc.  And of course, a reason we fall into temptation is because it feels good for the moment. So April, who doesn’t “flee from temptation,” but engages it once again, gives in again. She has sex in the bathroom.

Then, during her boards, she has a sort of coming out moment. She tells the reviewers that she would first pray with a terminal patient. Doubt overtakes her for the moment as she wonders if God is still listening to her given her sin.

What follows is an ah-ha moment of realizing she has been hiding who she is for years, afraid of being laughed at, judged and considered less of a doctor because of her faith.

Her strongest line is then delivered. “I’m done hiding.”

The dialogue is well-written and represents the struggle with living out one’s faith in a culture that is filled with temptation and often negatively judges people of faith.

We have no idea where the writers will take us from here in terms of her character. She completely melts down after these brief insightful moments. How will they handle the impulsive sexual experiences when every day life returns?

I liked seeing the struggle of faith–giving in to what feels good, confused by how that impacts her relationship with God, and coming to the conclusion to stop hiding.

If April stays with her faith, works through forgiveness, and learns to be true to herself, that would be redeeming and hopeful. And even if they allow the character to struggle to integrate her faith into everyday life, that could be good if it is done with writers who understand the Christian faith. But usually, writers of Christian characters make Christians look like crazy people. They don’t usually know how to make faith work or show the victorious side of living out one’s faith.

So here is hoping this could be different.

 

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