I'm probably the least likely person to head a mothering organization. I grew up in a broken home. My parents were divorced when I was 5. My older sister, younger brother and I were raised by my alcoholic mother.
While my mother meant well?truly she did?most of my memories are of me mothering her rather than her mothering me. Alcohol altered her love, turning it into something that wasn't love. I remember her weaving down the hall of our ranch home in Houston, Texas, glass of scotch in hand. She would wake me at 2 a.m. just to make sure I was asleep. I would wake her at 7 a.m. to try to get her off to work.
Sure, there were good times like Christmas and birthdays when she went all out and celebrated us as children. But even those days ended with the warped glow of alcohol. What she did right was lost in what she did wrong.
Ten years ago, when I was asked to consider leading MOPS International, a vital ministry that nurtures mothers, I went straight to my knees?and then to the therapist's office. How could God use me?who had never been mothered?to nurture other mothers?
The answer came as I gazed into the eyes of other moms around me and saw their needs mirroring my own. God seemed to take my deficits and make them my offering?"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).
Since my mother's death in 1991, I've done a lot of growing up in my own mothering. As I take my turn at handling less-than-ideal family moments, I've come to understand the inevitable trials of motherhood. While I've resisted the crutch on which my mother leaned, I now comprehend why she felt she needed it.1