My Mother-in-law's Gift

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.


  1. Thank you for sharing at Tell Me a Story. I could understand the frustration now that I am a mother in law to a daughter-in-law. My My MIL was a good friend to me, we shopped and had fun. She allowed me to keep her youngest son in our household for fivc years because I told her she could not have him back. There was bad influence from her husband and older son and she knew it. I do hope your MIL remembered the words you told her and received Jesus. Sometimes it takes time for words to sink in to a thick skull :-)

  2. It's a pretty wonderful story to share Mary, and I'm thinking there are many others out there who will be able to relate so well to this one.

    I've missed you!

  3. To be honest, I can't imagine walking through that. I'd have been such a tough cookie I'd have been kicked out. My husband's Mom was NOT pleased that he married me, but a few years later, after a stroke, she began to see me as a helper. SO when I get to heaven I will see her truly face-to-face and heart-to-heart. That will be a GOOD thing.

  4. Oh man, how bittersweet... How different each of our lives are and at the same time so similar. My wife's dad passed when she was in high school so I never would meet him. My parents were pretty good, my wife with none of her parents left, wanted to be closer, but they lived in a different city and had their hands full with other family... Bittersweet...

  5. This brought tears to my eyes, Mary. I've no (appropriate) words right now, but wanted to let you know this story touched my heart.


  6. Mary, thank you for sharing this story. I love your honesty, and for saying that your MIL was not mean spirited - just unaware. Sadly though, it is these areas of blindness that cause people who are close to us to have broken hearts.

    So glad you have come to know Christ because you needed to find comfort from a difficult relationship. Yes, it is indeed the best gift anyone can receive.


  7. If the Lord had not found me, I would be a "forever" unforgiving person who was unknowingly suffering more than the MIL who hurt me so much. Now, I'm glad to be reminded that not only the MIL but anyone who wants to clash with my ways, is a battle that I don't literally see.

    Thanks for your honesty and I pray, too that your MIL had accepted Jesus. I'm really grateful how the Lord uses such unwanted events in our lives for our own good. Blessings and love to you sister. Remembering you in prayers!

  8. I love the terms dilly and milly. I pray that you will see your mom-in-law when you get to heaven. What a wonderful reunion that will be.

  9. What an amazing's so rich in the real stuff.....the things that count

  10. Mary,

    Thank you for your transparency and the sharing of such a tender part of your life. I too, pray she received Christ and that you both see each other in heaven. Relationships of all kinds can relate to this story.

    You are precious Mary, miss piles of smiles and I've missed my visits with you.

    Much love!

  11. Oh Mary, thank you for sharing this. I'm sure some have mother-in-law's similar to this but are afraid to speak up. And I am so glad you 'found' your voice.

    How precious that you shared Jesus with her even though she didn't respond. You did what you could do.

    So many people are into religion and not relationship. Many of my loved ones also feel that they have to earn their way to heaven. And they live with uncertainty all the time. It's very sad.

    Blessings and love,

  12. I love the way God redeemed the whole of your relationship with your MIL. You may never be a dilly or have a milly, but you certainly are one dear "filly" (friend in life)!

  13. HI MARY,
    OH YOU and I could TALK and talk about relationships with our Mother in Laws....But like you I gave it to GOD along time ago....and I have moved on...Praying She find GOD in a real Way one day....
    this is a GREAT STORY!!!
    Or post....or heart felt message...All really....
    Have a Blessed week


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