For the Love of Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!


My beautiful mother. 

In honor of my own sweet, empathetic, creative, intelligent, inquisitive, and grace-filled mother, Susan Lewis, I’m reposting a piece about the power of my mother’s words and love to transcend depression and bring life to the full.

Thank you, mom, for believing in me. Thank you for living out your beliefs in such real and tangible ways. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for teaching me to ask the question, What if I am worth loving?

***

I circled the small space in my on-campus apartment bedroom, talking to my mom on the phone. Again my mom was asking if I had gone to church. Again the answer was no.

It was a conversation like hundreds of others we had entertained that year when I spiraled in post-study-abroad-the-world-is-an-unjust-and-awful-place-depression. The conversation consisted of mostly silence, deep breaths, and occasional grunts on my part.

I thought my mom would launch into another tirade about going to church, seeking help, doing anything to get out of the pit I was in.

Instead she told me something that I’ve never forgotten.

She said, “I want you to feel better about yourself, not just because you should, but because it’s a reality.”

For the first time in probably my whole life, I entertained that thought for real, like really for real. What if I really am lovable? What if that is the reality? What if the guilt and shame and anger I’d placed on myself for not measuring up to whatever impossible standards I’d created was just that, something I myself had created and entrapped myself in?

What if love was the reality?

Within the next few months my depression and self-hatred hit an all-time high and I hit an all-time low, and I realized that I either needed to live like I mattered and life mattered or life would be unbearable. And my mom’s words echoed in my mind.

“You are worth loving.”

With the idea that love and acceptance could maybe come from something bigger than and outside of myself, I decided to live what my mom had believed about me all along. Suspending my doubts, I launched my own Love Aly campaign in which I radically rejected any thoughts of self-hatred and did my best to “fake it till you make it,” choosing to live like I loved myself even if I didn’t feel it.

And it was this experience of unconditional love for myself that brought me back to church, to faith in God, to life.

Thank you seems like the understatement of a lifetime, but I’ll say it anyway. Thank you, mom. I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

***

Readers, I’d love to hear about your mom–What have your learned from your mom? What qualities do you most admire in her? How are celebrating Mother’s Day?

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6 thoughts on “For the Love of Mom

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are loved! Your writing is a special gift. As are you.Love, Mom

  2. Anonymous says:

    Aly, What a beautiful thing to read. You gave me hope today, when hope is what I need. Thank you. Lyn Dershem

  3. M says:

    My mom has shown me the importance of having an attitude of compassion. She has indirectly shown me the importance of setting healthy boundaries. I really admire her creativity, her willingness to be different, and her love of a good book.It sounds like your mom spoke true words of wisdom to you. Thank you for sharing those same words of wisdom with your readers. I believe that radically rejecting self-hatred is very important, and very biblical. One verse I really love is Romans 8:1, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If the Bible says you are not condemned, you are not condemned- no matter what parts of yourself you percieve as being unloveable or not good enough. When I need to remember this truth, I tell myself specific things I'm not condemned for. Try it sometime…it's fun. 🙂

  4. Aly Lewis says:

    Thanks Mom! YOU ARE A GIFT!

  5. Aly Lewis says:

    Lyn, I am so glad you were encouraged by this post. Happy Mother's Day to you!! Thanks for being such a wonderful friend to my mom.

  6. Aly Lewis says:

    Awesome, M! Thanks for sharing. Your mom sounds like an incredible woman. I love Romans 8:1. I've done a lot exercises where I name ways that I am loved, but I've never thought of listing the things I'm not condemned for. Great idea! I'll let you know how it goes.

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