Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters

Dr. Craig von BuseckBy Dr. Craig von Buseck12 Minutes

Craig von Buseck: Tell me how a book emerged from the relationship between you and your mom.

Blythe Daniel: My mom and I had talked about writing a book for mothers and daughters who were struggling in their relationships. We would hear about things happening in the relationships of other mothers and daughters – so and so’s not talking to so and so anymore. My mom would be asked to sometimes counsel in those situations. And so my mom said, “Who wants to read a book about good relationships?” We have a good relationship, and we’ve worked hard to get there.

So we decided that we needed to tell the full story of my mom’s difficult relationship with her mom and then the areas that we did have to work to make our relationship work well. So the book came from a desire to help connect women with tools to help them restore their relationship with their mother or their daughter.

In Isaiah 61:4, Scripture talks about being the repairers of the breaches and about rebuilding the ancient ruins. Those ruins happen in families, and God provides ways for us to do repairs through conversations and through initiating relationship. Even though it’s tricky and it’s tough work sometimes, we’ve seen it is really important for women to take those steps, whether or not those relationships get fully healed on this side of eternity. But it’s so important to take the steps.

CVB: Tell me some of the practical tips that you give in the book. Why would a mother and daughter want to pick up this book? What are some things they can glean from it?

Blythe: We have 40 different conversation starters in the book that give advice like, “If youre in this situation, you might want to say this.” So we’re helping give them language to approach their mother or daughter with when it’s awkward and you don’t know what to say. We give a bunch of those throughout the book. Another thing we talk about is to help people not take on the responsibility of another person. There are four steps that we give to what we call un-take the responsibility of the other – meaning I’m not going to take on her issues and actions. That’s for her to own. So the first step in that is to own your part of the relationship.

The second part is to ask God to show you some of your responsibilities in the relationship.

CVB: That is one of the toughest things when you feel like you’re the one who’s being victimized. You may say, “I didn’t initiate. I don’t initiate. What is my problem?” But the reaction is the problem.

Blythe: That’s right. It helps us to remember that when we come closer towards the other person, even if they are 95% wrong and we’re only 5% wrong, who’s in a stronger position to initiate reconciliation? It’s those of us that are in the 5% wrong. So we have a stronger footing to be able to go to that person and initiate it. Typically, when they see you coming closer towards them, they feel more ready to take on their own role because they don’t see you blaming them. They hear you saying, “I am owning my part of the relationship.”

The third area is to get an idea of whether you’re to be serving more or less in the relationship. Will you be doing more or doing less in a relationship. You want to ask yourself, “Am I overbearing in this relationship?” Or perhaps, “Should I be doing more?” Maybe my daughter feels distanced from me because I’m not showing her enough of myself and enough love to her. We are really trying to get a pulse on the relationship. We’ve got some wording to help to initiate this, because sometimes it can be hard. How do you ask that question?

The fourth thing is to recognize the season you’re in and settle your heart within it. Sometimes we’re in a season for a moment and we don’t want to make that season the whole future of our relationship. We don’t want to think negatively and say, “I’m only going to be here, and it will probably never get better.” There are some prayers that we have that are very personal, but we also invite the reader to create her own prayer as well.

CVB: People need to realize that life is a vapor. It goes by so fast. We need to treasure these relationships.

Blythe: That’s so true. Mom and I did think that we had a good relationship based on how we have interacted with each other. But in the last 10 years we’ve had times where I went to her and said, “Mom, I don’t feel like what you said in that letter to me is really what’s on your heart. I feel like there’s something deeper. Can we go to that deeper place and talk about that?” And she’s done that with me. She has told me, “I don’t want you to feel like I’m controlling you. Would you please speak up?”

And I have the opportunity to do that.

CVB: What a blessing.

Blythe: It took us a while to get there. So I want to encourage people that even if you’re not in a place where you see that happening right now, there are opportunities for you to invite conversation – to say, “I want to have a good relationship with you. I see that we have some difficult things between us. What do you think we need to do to make things better?” It’s just a very humble posture.

Years bring into sharper focus what you have between you. The key is to make the most of every moment that you have.

CVB: There is a place where you have someone who comes into a relationship with the Lord and they have a revelation that Christianity is a different lifestyle. Generation after generation they may have experienced abuse, or they may have lived in a broken and selfish way. But I believe that in Jesus, there is a place for breaking the cycle.

Blythe: That’s exactly what we talk about. We have a chapter called “Setting Generational Patterns Differently.” The reason that we put that in there is because my mom’s mom was verbally abusive and was addicted to alcohol. So that carried into her relationship with my mom. And so my mom did not want to continue the pattern of brokenness that was in her mom. We talk about what to do to identify those things in your family that you may not even be aware of that you’re carrying into your mothering role. Or in your role as a daughter, how are you holding some of those things against your mom and how to break off those patterns? We have a pretty strong prayer to help in that process, because that really is the point in which you recognize these things. You’ve got to do something about it. You don’t want to live under that. So we guide the reader in how to repent of those things that you’re aware of and even the things that you’re not aware of. We show how to invite God into those places to restore.

CVB: I’m very impressed as I’m listening to you that you’ve spoken several times about including prayers in this. Tell me the experience that you’ve had and what you recommend with regard to the strength of prayer in life.

Blythe: I just believe that we underestimate the power of prayer, because when we are praying we are partnering with God to see things move. In the Lord’s Prayer says, “may it be on earth as it is in heaven.” People often think things are just going to happen whether I pray or not. I believe that when we ask for things that we need to believe that those things can happen on earth as it would in heaven. I feel like we are to ask for those things and believe expectedly. It may not turn out the way we want. Our prayers may not be answered, but we aren’t to just sit back and just say, well, things will never change in my relationship. We need to stand up and pray over our relationship. At the very end of the book, we do even have a prayer over the mother/daughter relationship. I invite readers to create their own prayer that they can pray over their relationship with their mother and daughter on a daily basis. It’s just that important.

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