My Bedridden Mother
My mom was a driven woman who helped lead the levy for the school board to help get the schools more money. My dad was an inner-city principal. Then, she also fought for fair housing. She fought for quality. She was born at the appropriate time. There was a beautiful inheritance and legacy with her.
There was a time when she got hurt in her back. She was in severe pain and bedridden for my childhood. I didn’t understand people in their pain. She got where she could not function, but she kept trying to. She needed to rest, but she also needed to be a mother. We weren’t giving her much of a break. We just didn’t understand. I moved out young. I didn’t like my mom in our home. She pushed us away out of her pain, and I had a very difficult time with that. I told her what she should be as a mother. Let me share this story and ask you to consider it for your life.
Little did I know, after I moved out and went to college, getting involved in wrestling, I did not go to long until something was not right in my own back. I didn’t understand it. I would just go to class and kneel down on the chair in my desk to do my paperwork. I couldn’t sit down. Everybody just thought that was Hartley being Hartley. “That’s Hartley” they’d say.
I ended up in the hospital due to back pain. I get a doctor and he said, “You can’t walk to the bathroom.” I have too much pride to go in a bed pan. He said, “You can’t walk on your feet.” I walked on my hands. I am in this place where I am about to have a back surgery, and I am pushing it. Then, they put weights at the end of the bed. I walk on my hands. I see the feet of somebody. It’s the doctor. I came down. He said, “We told you to keep in that bed. Now, we are doing surgery.” Little did I know what surgery was like twenty years ago on your back. They laid me down and performed surgery.
I hadn’t been to my mom or dad’s house in a long time. I learned that my mom had been healed miraculously. My mom and dad wrote for each other in a spiral notebook. She wanted to be a better mom and do more. She said, “I won’t give up until I love and show love. I won’t give up until I conquer my offense and bitterness.”
She wanted people to understand, but they couldn’t understand what she was going through. She wrote God notes every day. She never gave up. Even after eighty-eight, she kept fighting to work on these things with God to stop her worry and hurry, and trust Him. She asked for understanding from others; but if she didn’t get it, then she didn’t get it.
I went to her house after this back surgery. I need to be taken care of. I go into the home at my mom and dad’s. I have this bitterness that sprung up – and I didn’t even realize how much – towards my mother. It was bitterness in what she wasn’t during our times of need as children.
As I entered the house I heard her laughing. There is nobody in the house. She’s in the back room. I told my dad, “There is nobody back there, and she is laughing.” He says, “Yeah, she must have told herself a joke. She enjoys herself. She likes herself.” That made me more mad. I thought she needed to be punished for what she did to us.
I am almost in a body cast. I am laying in the bed when my mom comes in. She sits down. I start to tell her everything she has done wrong. She is trying not to cry. She had been healed, and there was this different atmosphere about her. She had really changed, but she was still in a process.
Love and Forgive Yourself
My Mom said, “Bobby, why do you have to persecute me? I hated myself. I had this time encounter with God, where He told me I would have to love myself and forgive myself, or I would deny the world of who I was to be in Him. Whether anybody accepted it or not, I knew I was to have an impact for some. I just had to be me. I had to love myself. I had to forgive myself. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.”
The Lord said, “Isn’t it hard to hate yourself? Isn’t it hard to feel bad about yourself every day? Isn’t it hard to be ashamed? Isn’t it hard to blame? Isn’t it hard to be mad at others and hold a grudge?” She said, “Yeah, it’s hard work.” He said, “Why don’t you just let it go and love yourself? I have so much affection for you. Why don’t you put the things you don’t understand, like the way the children or others feel, in the God-Trust Box? Just let it go?” She said, “I can do that?”
She always thought He was a distant, severe God. He said, “I am not that way. I am affectionate. I love you. My heart is for you. I delight in you.” She had said He held her face and just delighted in her.
She said, “Then, I am to love others and appreciate them everyday. They just react out of their own pain and their own sense of lack. We can get into this vicious circle the enemy wants us in where accusation is aimed at others, but really it is aimed at Him. It is He who we love or don’t love others through. Isn’t He powerful enough to be the God that gives us a great-enough love to cover others, and to love them well when we are not loved well?”
My Mother's Message
She said, “Bobby, there is just not time to carry these pains towards others and to carry these pains towards yourself or myself. I had to humble myself, obey, love myself, and love others. I had to forgive. It is a lot harder work to hold a grudge.” The Lord said to her, “Why don’t just be fun and enjoy your life?”
This is an Awesome Message for us Today. I believe this is the next step for the Body of Christ. There is this mercy covering the earth and this sense of letting go of our expectations of others, being on each other’s sides, being supportive, seeing them with the eyes of Jesus calling out their original design, never giving up on that, and loving to do that. That is the best kind of life.
Take the Next Steps
My encouragement to you is to love yourself. Enjoy yourself. Delight in yourself. Delight in others. See past their mistakes, weaknesses, and offenses. Understand they have pains, and hold them in that pain. Take before Him yourself and others and ask, “What are three things I appreciate about them?” Let’s allow ourselves to really be changed by God's Help, Love, and Encouragement. Enjoy the day. Love the day."