According to Merriam-Webster’s website, a boundary is something (such as a river, a fence, or an imaginary line) that shows where an area ends and another area begins. It is also a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.
I am coming up on the 1 year anniversary of when I drew the biggest boundary I’ve ever drawn.
My mother and I have always had a rocky relationship.
She made choices that led to her addiction to pain pills when I was young. As generic as that sounds, she put her whole heart and life into self-medicating emotional wounds from her mother’s car accident. I have written more about that in this post: https://merakihealingblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/seek-the-crimson/
Jail, involuntary rehab, countless Narcotics Anonymous meetings… and that’s just the big stuff. Just as quickly as my sister & I could recite to you John 3:16 or the Pledge of Allegiance, we could recite, at the drop of a hat, the prayer they say at the beginning of those meetings. Being asleep most mornings while my dad fed us, clothed us, and transported us to school is an example of one of the constant small things that chipped away at our relationship.
She eventually left and the divorce was final when I was eight and in second grade. The judge awarded my dad primary custody of my sister and I… and THAT has made all the difference. I would be a completely different person had things swung the “normal” way of the mom getting primary custody.
I learned to hate my mother through the influence of my father. He was deeply wounded and often had little problem with letting my sister and I know how “bad” of a person she was. I took everything he said as truth, so my world was very pro-dad and anti-mom.
Things between my mother and I changed when Daddy remarried when I was 13. We still engaged in the court-ordered visitations of going to my mom’s every Thursday and every other weekend. Going to her lake-front trailer was a respite from a new, emotionally abusive home and things were okay between us for the first time in years. My dad, who had been my rock, my stability, my security, emotionally checked out from our relationship. The tables had turned and I found myself living with my mom from ages 15-17. I had been cut off from my paternal grandparents by my father and his wife. Anyone who knew how crazy things got in the courtroom during the divorce process would be surprised to know that it was my mother who allowed my paternal grandparents and family back into my life after she and my grandparents had little to no contact for at least 5 years or more.
At 17, my mother and I had an explosive argument that left me desperate to live with my paternal grandparents and, against my will, ended up back at my father and his wife’s home. The next three years living at my dad’s were spent in occasional, inconsistent contact with my mother, as time had taught me that her erratic behavior was not healthy to engage with.
I moved out of my father and his wife’s house for good on December 24th, 2012, just weeks after my paternal grandfather had a stroke and days before my father was leaving for a 7 month term in Afghanistan. I moved in with my mother once more and stayed for a year. I took that year off of school, worked multiple jobs for the YMCA, and built close friendships with a co-worker and my high school English teacher.
In December of 2013, I was able to move back home to the Johnston Farm with my paternal grandparents. Contact with my mother lessened as time passed and I progressed along my life path of finishing my Associates degree, beginning my Bachelors, and working a new job as a one-on-one for people with special needs.
We have now arrived to the point at which I drew a ginormous boundary. It only took forever, right?! Like I wrote in the About section of my blog site, my life is an onion that has many layers… it takes awhile to peel them back.
The straw that broke this camel’s back was when I found out in July of 2015 that my mother had been arrested just months earlier on May 4th, 2015 (2 days after my 23rd birthday). The online report said that she was arrested for possession of a schedule 4 controlled substance, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia.
I wrote the letter in under an hour. I wrote of how much the little girl alive inside of me needs her and loves her. I wrote of how she still has the opportunity to be a wonderful mother to my little sister, who was 9 at the time. I wrote of how I can only include her in my life as a clean, healthy version of herself, the best version of herself. In short, I composed an intervention letter.
I had my sister look it over to tell me if anything read as condescending, too harsh, etc. She reassured me that love oozed from the ink on each page. I know it was the Holy Spirit who afforded me the wisdom and love that day to write what needed to be written. Most of the time, it is recommended that you write a letter to someone who you are angry with or have been hurt by, but not actually send it. I’ve heard of people burning those types of letters, also… My soul was not content with just having written the words on paper. I licked, sealed, addressed and stamped the envelope. I was doing this. I was sharing my heart with my mom in the most loving way I’d ever done.
I never got a response.
Anti-climatic, I know. It was a punch right in the bread-basket. Nonetheless, no response was a response. Initially, I was hurt & disappointed, but not surprised. I was proud of myself.
I cannot begin to explain the peace that flooded my life once it was all written/said and done. I do not feel bad for protecting myself, standing up for myself… most of all, I do not feel bad for loving myself more than my mother (& father) ever taught me to.
There are times when my dad’s rejection & abandonment is emotionally suffocating & it feels like the only person who truly understands is my mom. I’ve never allowed myself to cross back over that line. I thought about it for my recent college graduation, because who doesn’t want their mom at graduation? I stood by my boundary. The quote in the photo above is exactly why… “Don’t dig up in doubt, what you planted in faith.”
In the moments when my emotions are loudly overwhelming, I often doubt God’s ability to hear my when I am in pain, His ability to restore all brokenness, and His desire for justice in the lives of those who love Him.
In the moments when my emotions are slowing and the tears stop flowing, God reminds me of what I planted in faith through His strength… what I did to protect my future self from experiencing further disappointment and hurt.
I see the seed of faith sprouting into a flower of peace.