As a new wife, as a young mother, I was isolated from family. My husband’s parents and siblings were all in the west – Seattle, Washington. Mine were scattered throughout New England and Maryland. At times it was lonely and difficult. I was too naïve to appreciate this unique, uncomplicated (and quite honestly, in retrospect - blissful) situation – no in-laws! No one watching over my shoulder; no voiced opinions or cold and silent stares.
Skip ahead a couple of decades or more, and here I am, a mother-in-law myself. Having no role model (my husband’s mother died years before we met; my own mother died when our marriage was young), I find myself flying by the seat of my pants.
Lord, do forgive my presumptions, but I feel you have a special place in your heart for mothers of sons! Perhaps I should not bank on such graces, but really, once they marry, they are lost to you. Not entirely, of course, but their allegiance shifts, as it should. A daughter will always need her mother, a son cannot easily appease a wife and a mother, so it’s best to stand with his wife and hope for the best. I get that, I do…in theory.
Recently, in our family, a situation arose. It was baffling to me. I felt hurt – left out. I was not alone in my confusion and exclusion. Other family members voiced angry opinions and in my heart I was angry too.
So often, when we see a situation unfolding, a situation that is not ours; one that we are only viewing from the sidelines, we have firm opinions, we make judgements, we are filled with anger, sometimes hurt. But the situation is not ours and we do not know all the facts. Could we be wrong in our opinions and judgements? This is when it behooves a mother-in-law to tread carefully.
I share this because I feel the need to voice the importance of prayer in our lives. It forces us to take a breath; a step back. If we are in tune to God’s voice, we will hear, and we will know the best way to handle the hurt and the anger. We will be given a patience that is beyond our imagining and, when the situation passes and those we feel have hurt us, turn to us, smile and say, ‘thank you for your understanding.’ We can thank God for his intervention, and feel his peace. Margery Frisch