My girlfriend, Cindy, is the cutest mother-in-law you could ever meet. She introduces her DIL as her “dilly” and she affectionately adds: “I’m her milly!” I never had that kind of relationship with my MIL , but my MIL gave me a gift I will always treasure and it will last forever.
My MIL was not mean spirited or out to get me. She was closed minded and unaware. Both she and I were raised in religion and you always have a lot of guilt and fear when all you know is religion. When I married her son, I was not versed in scripture except that I knew Genesis 2:24 which inspired me and irritated her. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Mom never left home. When she married, they lived together with her family and that was expected of me, too. Granted, I was timid and a people pleaser, but I rebelled against that one!
I rebelled as well when mom selected our china. She redeemed all her stamps at the grocery store for a pattern she liked and I hated. My husband still razzes me about that dated wheat pattern on which I served my best recipes for three decades.
I remember coming home from work to our first “fixer upper” only to find mom and dad painting the walls and redecorating. It got worse when the babies came. I was happy to let mom babysit periodically, but I panicked one afternoon when I tried to pick up our little one at mom's and she wouldn’t answer her doorbell. A neighbor had to intervene so I could get my daughter back.
I could go on and on. I felt manipulated, judged and hated with no place to go for help. My religion heaped a bunch of guilt on me for feeling angry. The repetitious prayers I learned in church held no comfort for my broken heart. No human had direction or answers for me, just sympathy. That is until a girlfriend loved me enough to share her faith with me. She led me to Jesus who was just waiting for me to ask Him into my heart so that He could save me and deliver me and renew my mind from all the wrangled mess I had become.
When I look back over the years I have lived on this earth, I can’t think of any relationship that erupted in as much pain as the one with my mother-in-law. Hence, it was the catalyst that God used to transform me. He took my timidity and gave me His confidence! He filled me with His Spirit and the scriptures came alive as I read my Bible. He taught me about His love and how to serve others. When mom was in the hospital fighting cancer, I told her all about Jesus and how He loves her and can heal her. She told me to leave her room and take my faith with me claiming she was not good enough. None of us are, but there was no way to convince her or win the argument.
I forgive her. Never would I be her “dilly” and never would she be my “milly” but because of her, I have eternal life. Jesus promises me in the gospel of John that whosoever (that’s me) believes (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him, shall not perish but have eternal life. I hope mom accepted Him; I would love to see her in Heaven too.
This post to connects to the true stories that hazel hosts at Tell Me a Story.