It never fails. In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, I am at a complete loss over which card to buy for my mom. The funny ones seem way too casual. The sentimental ones are too mushy and feel a little, well, dishonest. Few cards could capture our complicated, up-and-down relationship.

How would you describe your relationship with your mom? Some of us have an easy, light-hearted friendship with our mothers. Others feel only pain when they think of their moms. Some grew up without a mother, or with a mother unable to care for them properly. For most it’s somewhere in the middle: there’s good and bad, tension and fun, irritation and affection.

God cares about our relationship with our moms.

God cares about our relationship with our moms. When the legal experts asked Jesus to state the most important commandments, one of them was Love your neighbour as yourself — and that includes our mother. Sometimes it’s easier to love the family across the street. This is why Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is so bang-on: This is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. (Philippians 1:9, The Message)

It can be a challenge to figure out the best ways to love the people we know. The Holy Spirit is more than willing to enable us to show his love to the people closest to us. So, the other day, I asked God to help me take a positive step with my own mom.

My mom had said something very hurtful to me. My initial reaction was to get mad and think, Well, if she’s going to keep saying stuff like that, I just won’t call her anymore.

After praying, I knew I needed to change my way of responding to her. The next time my mom phoned, I gently shared how hurt I’d been by her comment. This was a first for me! I gently explained that those kinds of comments — part of a long pattern in our relationship — affect our closeness. It was scary to be that honest, but it led to a time of apology, forgiveness, understanding, and healing. I didn’t just love my mom that day; with God’s guidance, I loved her well.

Not sure where to start? Try these simple steps:

1. Process your relationship with your mom

Pray, thinking through your relationship with your mom. Is it warm and close? Distant? Tense? Volatile? Supportive?

2. Take one positive step in your relationship with your mom

If your relationship is already great, choose a simple way to honor her. If it’s a little on the rocky side, ask God to show you something you can do to bring growth or healing.

Do you have a hard time connecting with your mom? Want to talk about it? Fill out the form below to connect with a mentor. It’s free and confidential.

Photo Credit: Valeria Zoncoll