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I got a Christmas card from my mom.

You don’t know how significant that is.

I know, it sounds so normal to get a card, right? But for me, it’s not normal. Normal for me has been having a mom who didn’t know how to be a mom. Her wounds clouded her ability to parent; her heartache led her to alcohol, and alcohol led to the near destruction of her mind, her liver, and our relationship.

Also, she should be dead.

In 2008 I was told my mom had a month, maybe two, to live. Her liver was shot from 20 years of hard drinking. she was going to die.

She didn’t die. She sobered up. And in 2009 she moved in with my family because I didn’t want her to die alone. She was put in hospice care while she lived with us, so she had nurses that would come and care for her.

She was stubborn and and difficult, and our relationship was terribly strained. But she was sober, and she was better than before. Our relationship was better.

After a year and a half they released her from hospice. She ended up moving to Florida (for her health) where she lives to this day. She lives. She has an apartment, a pool, and friends. But I still haven’t told you about the recent miracle.

In May I went to visit her because I hadn’t seen her since she moved out of our house a few years before. During my time with her, the unimaginable happened. My mom apologized to me for not being a good mom.

She told me she was sorry, and that she knows now how much she hurt me.

I almost fell out of my chair. 

She went on to talk about how the Lord has been showing her the truth of how she treated me, and she wanted to make things right. She was genuinely sorry.

I wish I could express to you how significant and crazy and wildly unimaginable her words were. My mom has always blamed me for our relationship issues, and if she wasn’t outright blaming me, she was just stubborn about it all. She was always a victim while saying she wasn’t. She was manipulative. She was mean. She was dismissing. She was incapable of having a reasonable conversation. I always felt like I was talking to a 2-year-old or a 16-year-old. It was so frustrating. Eventually I gave up and just accepted it.

I learned to let her go as a mother; I mourned over her as though she died; I had to grieve the fact that I would never have a mother. It was heart-wrenching (sometimes still is), but so good for my mental and emotional health. And also, so I could love her freely without expectation.

I never expected her to say she was sorry. I never expected anything from her.

This is what the Lord has done.

The Lord saved my mom, and He restored her mind enough to give my heart something I never thought it would get from her: acknowledgement of the pain she caused and a sincere apology for it. Miraculous I tell you. 

Which brings me to the Christmas card.

She sent my family a card, and she got my kids a gift, and I could feel a new normal. She’s always loved me and my kids, but now there is a sweetness to it that was never there before. Something has been redeemed. And it’s all a gift straight from the Lord.

I’m telling you this because some of you out there need to know that there is always hope and there are still miracles. Never give up on anyone and never stop praying for them. 

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Never, never, never, never give up on hope.

Love, Sarah Mae

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Sarah Mae,
    Your post truly does give me hope!! I have been praying for some situations, that often seem beyond hope, for years. I know God always listens, but frankly I get weary of praying the same prayer over and over. God CAN redeem anything. No situation is beyond is ability to bring beauty from its ashes. THIS is the hope I need to cling to. So happy that you and your mom have finally been able to have a relationship that is somewhat normal. I pray that God will continue to move in her heart. Your story brings hope…thank you for being brave enough to share it and for having a heart that never gave up hope!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Beth Williams

      Bev,
      I’m praying for your family also!
      Blessings :)

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        I am praying for you and yours as well my sister prayer warrior!! xx

        • Beth Williams

          Tks!!

  • http://tropichomeandfamily.com/ Holly

    What a blessing! I’m so happy for you both, and the rest of the family as well, that you have a genuine relationship now. I was estranged from my mother for a while, and while we have a long-distance relationship now, I sometimes still feel I don’t have a mother to turn to. You may have felt as I did sometimes that you had to mother yourself. Thank goodness we have a heavenly father to take care of us. And thank you for your reminder to never give up hope in praying for someone or for a repaired relationship.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Holly, I literally had to mourn her as though she died in order to move on without the expectation of her being a mother. Now I am able to love her freely. Also, I did have to learn to mother myself, and that was hard. But God is so good and kind and He’s been with me every step of the way. Love to you.

      • http://tropichomeandfamily.com/ Holly

        And to you too. God is good.

  • Dianne Chambers

    What an absolutely awesome testimony! You have given me so much hope. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. I have a similarly strained relationship with my dad and I am at the point of giving up. I appreciate your sharing about how you let go of your hopes and expectations of your mother and let God redeem her in His own time. Blessings to you both!

  • Julie Garmon

    Beautiful!!! I love this! Thank you–am sharing on twitter. Such a story of Hope.

    Love,
    Julie

  • karen

    I’m so very happy for you and your mom….and your family! HE is still in the business of miracles!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Yes He is.

  • BethAnn

    Sarah Mae,
    I loved your story! How blessed you are. Thank you SO MUCH for your words of encouragement this morning! You have no idea how timely they are for me. My 33-year-old stepson has ‘disowned’ me and my husband. He will not answer phone calls or voice mails. We have no idea why he has decided to cut us out of his life. We are deeply saddened and if I’m honest, sometimes I’m just angry. I try to think of him as a prodigal son, and pray he will eventually come back to us. Your words give me HOPE, and I thank you for bringing those to me today! You are a treasure!

  • A

    Thank you so much for this beautiful story; this call to keep hoping in those we are apart from. I am so happy for you, that the Lord has brought so much redemption and reconciliation for you and your mom. So much praise to Him for whom nothing is impossible. The Lord is so good in calling for this hope and not give up. Thank you for sharing this tender story-I am so grateful. Praying that the Lord works His mighty miracles in each of our lives and relationships, reconciling all of our hearts in the one body of Christ that we are :)

  • MB

    Thank you- The Lord knew that I needed to hear your message of hope today- this morning. I have a daughter who, due to mental illness has disowned me. The pain, mixed with doubt and confusion can be overwhelming. Thanks for sharing and God bless your ‘new’ relationship with your mom. A gift to the both of you!

  • Greta

    Sarah Mae,
    What a beautiful heart you have! Your words and honest testimony are encouragement (and soul food) to my own heart. My circumstances are a little different, however, the void and the need for hope are the same in many ways.
    Today, I stumble in my hope because the person I need to have hope for is still lost. No alcohol, just no God. I know I need to hold on to hope- I need to love as Christ loves- I need to have faith and endurance.
    Thank you, again, for inspiring my heart to keep going forward in a faith and love.
    I pray God continues to bless your family!
    Greta (and my middle name is Mae, also!) ❤️

  • http://CrystalTwaddell.com/ Crystal

    I can’t express how encouraging your words are to me Sarah Mae! Your story is my story also, and I share the grief of having to release my mother also for my own spiritual, physical and emotional health, but even more for my children’s. You are right, it still hurts, and it is difficult to be in a state of preparation for the final goodbye when you never really had the chance to say hello. Your words give cause to continue to hope and I pray also for some sense of normal, some degree of healthy restoration. Only God…in his timing. Waiting hopefully for my “fall out of my chair miracle. ”Thank you for sharing, and I pray God continues to bless your relationship and grow and bloom in your mother’s heart!!

  • http://www.undergraceandovercoffee.com Andrea Mitchell

    I’m so glad that your relationship with your mom has been restored and has been given new, beautiful life. What a precious gift! My mom passed away this summer without that happening for us because of her depression. But I have hope that God has restored her and that one day I will see her again. So yes, there is always hope. I’m so grateful for that.

  • Joanne Peterson

    Sarah Mae,
    I believe Jesus when He assures me he is going to heal our family, and so often the behavior looks so opposite. But He has been talking to me through the things He’s been putting in my hands to read for books, devotions, bible readings, songs on the radio, blog posts, and now your post. It is painful and long, the waiting, the prayers, the situations, the deception, the hurt of cancellations to get together, watching the choices and knowing their choices affects me in so many ways, etc.
    Then Jesus will bring something to show me His thoughts, sovereignty, Truth, encouragement, guidance, love, redemption, active involvement, the prayers I am to pray, the change in attitude and my heart, etc. I call them Glory Moments. Your post today is one of the Glory Moments. It’s beautiful and expresses in words many of the same things I’ve had to do and am still doing, not perfectly, but in the process.

    I have no good words for the thankfulness and joy I feel for you and for your mom’s relationship now, the loving mom/daughter relationship, your kids for a relationship with Grandma, and the new thing Jesus is doing for you all. Wish I could give you a hug right now for Jesus’ creation of the new things He’s doing for you all, and for the Glory Moment Jesus just gave me through you of His assurance.

    Grace and peace,

    Joanne

  • http://mrsdings.blogspot.com/ Shannon Deterding

    Yay! Praise the lord. So happy for you . . . And her.

  • http://www.The-How-to-Guru.com/ The How-to Guru

    SO happy for the change, Sarah Mae! My Mom and I have a VERY strained relationship for different but very serious reasons of the past. I haven’t seen her in about two years and it kills me. There is a sadness in my kids that I can’t fix.
    Thanks for the reminder that God can restore all things and that there is always hope.

    blessings,
    Shan {The How to Guru}

  • Susan

    This needs to posted EVERYWHERE. How many of us have been praying for someone for what seems forever – this gives us HOPE! I’ve been praying for my now EXhusband’s salvation for 50 years – my hope has been renewed. THANK YOU.

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Sarah Mae, your post brought tears to my eyes. How beautiful that God has given you and your mom a second chance at genuine relationship. Hope is our life-breath. I need to remember this as I pray for someone who I have a strained relationship with.

    Thank you for sharing about your “little miracle.” Just beautiful.

  • Leslie

    Thank you, Sarah Mae! My dad died while we were estranged after years of his drinking made me let him go as a father. I found some things in his house that God gave me to let me know that he was saved and that I’d see him again in heaven. You are right. There is always hope. Don’t stop praying and loving. God is a faithful and complete restorer. Thank you for writing this!

  • Ashley Ditto

    So beautiful. My mom too, was an alcoholic and still is to this day. She made our childhood horrible. I am still praying. Still hanging on for her miracle. Thank you for this.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Keep hanging on, but do mourn the loss. Love to you friend. Saying a prayer.

  • Rachel

    I’ve been praying over some hard situations for years. This morning my heart has been especially heavy. Thank you for this post. It’s encouraging to hear of other’s miracles and be reminded of His goodness.

  • Jeanine

    Wow, sounds like my story except for the apology. I actually apologized and forgave my mother years ago for hating her so much but she never apologized to me. That is a gift! I had an ex husband apologize to me which I considered a miracle because he rarely if ever apologized. Heart gifts are the best gifts EVER!

  • Keri Siegel

    Greetings Sara,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I needed to see it. You had a mother like I have. I put it in the past tense because God has changed your mom. What a blessing!!! That gives me hope that my prayers for my mom are not in vain. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you. Please, keep my mom and I in your prayers because I love her so desperately and I’ve always wanted us to have a God-honoring relationship; but I’m afraid of her still at 44 years old. Thank you again for sharing. May God bless you and your family richly.

  • Debbie

    My daughter & her Dad are going through something like this. Next month it will be a year since they have spoken to each other. I just keep praying for them & it’s not my Dad it’s her Dad that can’t seem to get it. She is married & he still wants to treat her like a child. It breaks my heart b/c they were so so close. He can’t ever admit when he is wrong it’s always someone else’s fault. I’ve tried to help but then decided I don’t want to be in the middle. My daughter loves her Dad, that’s not the issue, he just won’t take any responsibility period. I will continue to pray for them, that’s all I can do.

  • Marissa

    Thank you for sharing your story! It gives me hope for my relationship with my parents. My story isn’t quite the same as yours but there is still remanants of a strained relationship. Whether or not I will receive an apology, I chose to forgive them. God bless you and your Mom.

  • LRC

    Sarah Mae,
    Thank you for sharing. Your mom and mine sound like the same person. Mine has not made it into reality yet. My mind treats her like a stranger to protect my emotions. This ripped open a wound a bit, but I needed to be reminded that I should not have given up on her yet. She is still alive so there is still hope. I trust our Father and do not question His plan for me, but I did forget that He might have a plan for her, too.

  • Kathy Schwanke

    Tears of joy and rejoicing at the wonderful works of our Savior! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of redemption!

  • Melanie @ Gather for Bread

    So encouraging Sarah Mae! Even though I’m sure it still hurts to talk of the past it’s so awesome that you are willing to share.

    A sweet reminder to never stop praying for those things that seem hopeless.

    To God be the glory!

  • Kristen W

    Hey sista! I remember praying for you while you were there visiting!! You had just emailed us about le book launch team; gave me chills thinking of the Lord’s work in your relationship and the answer to MANY prayers of redemption I know you prayed. And I’m so grateful God gave me to opportunity to pray for you. He totally had His hand all over that visit. It is and was (and will be!!) His great work! Praise Him!
    your ole launch team pal,
    Kristen

  • Monica

    Sarah Mae, Thank you so much for your post. I really needed to hear this and I am so happy for you and your mom and for your entire family. I pray that God would continue to bless you all!

  • Doris2

    Loved this and praise the Lord for this miracle He has done for you and your Mom. This really encouraged me not to give up on some people and situations I have in my life. PTL!

  • Beth Williams

    Sarah,
    Praise God for restored relationships! Very happy for the two of you! Enjoy this time together!! It’s amazing what God can do with and for people!! You have given us a glimmer of hope! God is still in the business of miracles!!
    Blessings :)

  • Lisa

    Your miraculous story rings true! I was blessed to be a witness to my father’s acceptance of Christ as his savior at 68 years of age while attending a church Christmas program. The spirit of God got a hold of my dad’s broken heart and lovingly wooed him. I have to admit that I had prayed for this miracle for many years, but was surprised when my prayer was answered. Never give up hope. Believe in Jesus. NOTHING is to hard for Him! Hallelujah!

  • http://tqhousecat.wordpress.com/ Mary Hood

    This is so very encouraging! Praise God for giving you a redeemed relationship. We write about hope, but sometimes we feel so hopeless in some situations, and family relationships are my constant heartache. Yes, He is ever hearing our prayers and working in hearts and relentless in pursuing hearts. I don’t read everything, but I know I was meant to read this. …hope makes us not ashamed…Rom 5:5.

  • Lizzy

    beautiful. tears.

  • Sarah H.

    Thank you for this. My mother walked out when I was 6 and I saw her off and on for a few years but she was a wreck and told me that you live for men and kids are the consequence. I have not seen her in over 20 years but have been able to grieve and let it go. I lived with my dad who was/is an alcoholic and gambled all his money away and took from me. He favored my sister and while I know he loves me in his own way, he said he does not like me awhile back. I am cordial with him as he wants to see the grandkids at times. While I have released all expectation from my mother I want my father to apologize sincerely. He was the one that played the stop acting like a victim card when he was the one. I know he has deep wounds and I have an amazing relationship with my Heavenly Father, but I hold out hope that one day we can truly heal.

  • Lalybro

    You have put into words my relationship I have with my father. He hurt me with words yesterday…and I reminded myself again that I had mourned the loss of the father I thought I would have a few years ago. He still can hurt me with his words but it’s not as shocking now. He is emotionally stunted and we will never be able to have a real discussion because he too blames me or blows it off.
    I want to give up hope but your sentence about praying for him was what I needed to read. Thank you. It’s so good to know I’m not alone.

  • Tami Lewis

    Praise God for this! Im still hoping but wow you gave me a boost!

  • A Marie

    Very beautiful! I was sure to share with my own mom and a friend who’s believing for her mom as well. God is able and willing. God bless you both. May everything that was lost, be restored.