Craving Motherly Love
Message: My parents are both Christians and I grew up in a loving home. However, there was always some distance between my Mom and I. She was VERY overprotective and obsessive over everything in my life. I know she loves me, but she was never the type of Mom that I could go to to get advice on boys, dating, personal struggles, really anything deeper than surface level conversation. She would just go overboard and so I never had anyone to talk to growing up about these types of things. My grandfather always made inappropriate sexual remarks to me, and I also found out my Dad was abusing porn and possibly having an affair. So I have always felt very distant from them as well. I feel as though these experiences have made me crave older, Godly women in my life to mentor and mother me since I feel as though I never had anyone to talk to in my family growing up. But, I feel like I almost crave that sort of relationship at an unhealthy level. These women have had a huge impact on my life and walk with the Lord, but I think about them all the time and am always craving going to them to advice for so many things. I even stretch the truth at times just to get attention/affirmation/mother-daughterly love from them. and I know that sounds SUPER weird, but it has been something I have struggled with since high school. How do I move past this?
Response: Hello! First, it doesn’t sound super weird that you crave connection with and affirmation from the people God has brought into your life to mentor, encourage, and help you be the woman He’s created you to be. We all crave connection, affirmation and friendship. And it’s very cool that you recognize the benefit of having older women in your life to mentor and speak wisdom and courage into your heart. God designed us for community and having friendships with people of all different ages deepens our lives.
Yet with all good things, we can sometimes want too much. And do whatever it takes to try to fill that hunger—even if it means stretching the truth. You’re very wise and attune with your heart to recognize that you may be depending on others in an unhealthy way. That’s the first step to change. Recognizing that there might be a problem. Reaching out and asking for advice is a great next step.
First, remember that while we were created for connection and friendships, no one will ever fill that need completely. And no matter how many friends we have or how much time we spend with them, there will still be a bit of an empty place—a craving for more, a longing for something deeper. God is the only one who can fill those deep longings. People fail us. Unintentionally. Like your mom. Sounds like she loved you and attempted to protect you the best she could, not realizing it was too much or that it created walls between the two of you so that she wasn’t a safe place for you to go and talk. People fail us because of sin in their lives. Sounds like that may be the case with your grandfather and dad.
God never fails us. He loves you unconditionally. He wants to be the One you run to for affirmation, encouragement, support, guidance. He will often offer you these through other people—like the women He has sent into your life to mentor you. But He wants to be the first place you go to—through prayer, studying His Word. I know sometimes it’s hard. Hard to hear or recognize affirmation from God. Hard to feel His encouragement or “hugs” because we so long for something tangible and He’s a God we can’t see or audibly hear. Too often we may miss the ways God is attempting to speak into our lives. And the enemy will use our need for affirmation and connection to cause us to turn to people instead of to God. He fears what will happen when you go to God instead of people.
Next time you find yourself craving attention or affirmation and are tempted to contact one of your mentors/friends, first stop and pray. Tell God about your need and longing. Pour it out. Get real with Him. Tell Him how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. He loves us to pray honest, real prayers. Sometimes we try to clean up our prayers and make them all nice instead of being real and honest. God is big enough and loves you enough for you to be honest with Him. Then watch/listen for His answer. Expect Him to answer. He may send a person. A song. Scripture. It might be a glimpse of something beautiful in nature. It might be a sense of peace and courage.
Make spending time with God a priority in your life. If you’re not spending time with Him each day, begin with just a few minutes. Talk to Him like you would a friend. Connect with Him throughout the day. Put on music that causes you to think about Him and be reminded of His love, praises Him. Post scripture and quotes where you’ll see them—especially scriptures that remind you of His love, His plan, that He will always be there for you, fights your battles for you, etc. Stop and pray. Look for five things to be thankful for each day—it’s a great exercise to become more aware of His blessings. Before going to sleep at night, think back through the day and thank Him for those things.
Enjoy the time with the women He’s sent into your life. They are a gift. You can tell them that sometimes your need for their affirmation and encouragement is so great, that you are concerned about it. They sound like godly women who can help you learn to find your affirmation and courage from God. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying them—or needing them in your life. Call them. Text them. Spend time with them. Just go to God first. He’ll help you keep your relationships healthy and continue to grow you into the strong and courageous woman it sounds like you are.