Growing up, I knew I had a good mom. We talked and bonded and shared our lives together. But it wasn’t until years later, when I became a parent, that I realized I had a GREAT one. All the sacrifices and hard work she invested now became my own, and suddenly I couldn’t stop wondering how she did it. I have three young children, but she had (and still has) five. So many needs. So many hearts to nurture and help grow. And yet, somehow throughout our lives, she has managed to pour her love into each of us kids in immense ways. I know I could never thank her enough, but I still want to try. This was one of the reasons I wanted to read Mended by Blythe Daniel and Dr. Helen McIntosh. Written as a mother-daughter team, this seemed like an intentional way for me to take care of my relationship with my mom because connected and healed hearts are worth it.
But I have to be honest…
When I started reading the first chapter I thought, “Hey, we’ve got this. My mom is one of my best friends, so I’ll read this book mainly as a reference for others. I’m sure I can pass a lot on to them.” And I was right. But also wrong. This book is full of wisdom that needs to be shared. But it also needed to be share with me. God purposefully placed a book focused on restoration in my life right when I needed it most. Right when I was about to go through the relational ‘ring of fire.’ Because for me, Mended hasn’t just been about my relationship with mom. It’s been about ALL my people. Every relationship, every person, every heart. And let me tell you why.
First off, this book contains copious amounts Biblical advice, prayers and practical applications for how to repair and restore the mother-daughter relationship. I loved the scripts/ literal wording Daniel and McIntosh provided in order to help the reader verbally process and communicate constructively. I found myself highlighting like a mad woman in order to keep these scripts easily accessible for future conversations with others. The authors also ended each chapter with a challenge/ activity to complete that encouraged the reader to live out the truths she just encountered within the text. So very good!
Every chapter had a different theme including: taking responsibility, putting your relationship first, finding common ground, asking permission to share, changing/ controlling the other, breaking generational strongholds (you NEED to check out the “Drawing Your Family Line and Erasing Lies” application!) and so much more. My favorite chapter (Aka: the pages with the most markings… ) was the one on forgiveness. God has been speaking to me lately regarding this subject matter because I am in the thick of it. When I read this chapter, I knew He had some things He wanted to show me. It wasn’t an easy section to read. In fact, it was probably the hardest. And it wasn’t because I had to forgive my mom. There have been other relationships recently that have caused me deep pain – accusations and actions that have tempted me to close the door, bolt the locks and throw away the key. But Daniel and McIntosh’s words on the importance of forgiveness really hit home. For example:
“You don’t have to receive the words “Will you forgive me?” in order to issue them yourself…” (p. 95)
“In the end, it isn’t about who did what, but how you reconcile.” (p. 97)
“…know that when you take this step to free yourself of someone in your family – mother or daughter or others – you will be setting up freedom for those in the next generation.” (p. 99)
“The magnitude determines the extent of damage. And, in a similar fashion, the magnitude that you forgive others determines the degree of healing that occurs.” (p. 102)
“Forgiveness isn’t just an act we walk through; it’s a way of life we choose.” (p. 102)
I just stared at these pages, pondering the extravagance of grace and love my Savior bestows upon me. If He loves me to the depths… if He died on a tree in order to bring me closer to Him… maybe I could do the same. Maybe I could continually choose to live a life of forgiveness, which, in turn, would be a life of freedom. And maybe if I extended my hand towards them, regardless of whether they would accept it, I would see the love-scarred palms of Jesus reaching back towards me.
This book was a precious Godsend. And I pray, Dear Reader, you will feel the same way. No matter the size of the relational rift, whether it’s a small tear or a gaping hole, God promises to restore. And He will.
One mended heart at a time.
Mended is available where all books are sold, but I’ll give you a link HERE so you can order your copy today! You’ll be so glad you did. Also, follow me on Facebook and Instagram to enter a GIVEAWAY for a FREE copy of Mended. You’ll get instructions to enter the giveaway there. Thanks, all!