Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Mother In Law Thing

One thing that triggers shivers down many women's backs. Their mother in law. It is the phrase women feel a common bond of shared grief. My own mother-in-law used to drive me absolutely crazy. She was controlling. She was bossy. She undermined my authority with my children. She took over our wedding photographer. When my brother in law married my sister-in-law, I witnessed her do the same to them as well and my sister-in-law saying, "I don't remember her being this way at your wedding." I laughed and said, "Yes, she did!" She showed up at our house early one Saturday morning and went around the house trying every door until she found one open and, of course, walked right in, sending my husband and I scrambling for decent clothes. Yes, she drove me crazy.

Yet, I decided to try something one day. I took her to God in prayer. I prayed, "God, she drives me crazy. I don't know what to do with her. I cannot go on like this. Please, if it be Your will, open my eyes. Reveal to me what akes her tick.... why she does things the way she does." Looking back, I realize those are the kind of prayers God loves to answer...and He did in a big way. He opened my eyes and I saw things I had missed before. Things right in front of me. Suddenly I understood why she did things the way she did. And just as suddenly was the compassion it stirred inside of me toward her.

In the second book of Kings, chapter 6, verses 13-19, Elisha and his servant are in a city and find themselves surrounded by an enemy out to kill them, but Elisha saw something his servant did not. In verse he prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then Elisha did something even more extraordinary. He prayed that the army out to kill him would be made blind and he was able to lead this army away from the city because they could not see who he was.

When I was married over 12 years, I suffered a miscarriage. Not only was my mother in law the only one who showed compassion to me, she actually remembered when my baby would have been born. That touched me so much. I am blessed to have someone like her in my life and I would not have said that early on in my marriage.

Is there someone in your life that is just so hard to show love to? Are they impossible to love? Then here is a prayer for you. "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart."

1 comment:

Shelli W. said...

That's funny, I had a similar relationship with my mother in law when we got married. (18 yrs ago now). She was a very traditional wife which intimidated me since it was not what I had known growing up. Then she expected that we'd show up for Sunday dinner, how dare she?! (never mind we were starving at the time)

It took me a few years, then I started to notice that there was a whole like I liked about her. I liked her predictability. I liked that she didn't get married. I liked that she wanted to hear from us.

Now my mother in law is my mother. She has taken on a role that my mother simply was unable to play. I thank God for her every day.