As children, if we think we don’t matter to the people who matter the most to us, it can set up a stronghold in us of “I don’t matter to God,” which can make us not trust the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us.  I felt that way about my mother. She had an emotional illness and I never really knew where I stood with her.

Because Mom wasn’t feeling well, as the oldest I had a lot of responsibilities. I was needed and felt it. Dad regularly told me this, as did my grandparents. I heard it from every place except the one place which really mattered. I didn’t it from my mother.

Her fear of crowds made her steer clear of going to my school for events. She didn’t go to my mother-daughter Brownie tea which was a really big deal to me and was one thing that really made me feel I didn’t matter to her.

Dismantling the Lie

This became a stronghold in my life. I didn’t know how to deal with the feeling that I was an orphan even though I had a mother.

Retreating to Grandma’s on the weekends helped. At Grandma’s all my cares and worries and concerns faded away with the delicious foods she fed me. She also regularly gave me hugs and told me she loved me. The stronghold was still there, but it was drowned out by a growing dependence on comfort foods.

Even after I was married and had children, I had not dealt with the lie which had become a firm stronghold. I had simply shelved it thinking that was when I was a kid. Mom was sick so I can’t blame her for what she did. I’m an adult now. She’s changed. We’ll let bygones be bygones.

Getting Help

All this time I was gaining weight. So I went to a counselor to get some help. On my first visit, I talked about weight gain. Her first question to me was, “Tell me about your mother.” I thought, what does my mother have to do with my weight gain?

When I was finished, she said, “How do you feel about how your mother treated you?”

I said, “She couldn’t help it. She was sick. She didn’t know what she was doing.”

She gave me the assignment to fill in the blank of, I’m angry at my mother because  _________. I didn’t think I was angry at her, but the exercise helped me see how wrong I was about that. I was very angry at her. I just had never admitted it.

Breaking the Stronghold

The first step towards forgiving anyone is to recognize they have done something which has made us angry. If we pretend we aren’t angry about what happened, it only allows us the stronghold to become more embedded so the truth will not permeate it.

For me, it became I don’t matter to Mom, but I’m not angry about it because she was sick. I’m doing just fine eating everything I want to make the pain go away.

I hadn’t dealt with the real issue which was that I was angry and needed to forgive Mom. By this time, she had already moved to heaven, but I used the list I had made to forgive my mother.

I Did Matter to Mom

When we were going through her things, tucked away in a location in her buffet we found every article I had ever written for organizations, magazines and newspapers.

I didn’t even know she knew about many of those articles. I asked Dad how she got them because I knew I hadn’t sent them to her. He said he didn’t know.

Then the truth hit me like a lightning bolt. I did matter to Mom. She was proud of me. She did love me. She had been collecting articles from the time I started my career. She just was silently supporting me.

Holy Spirit Comfort

When I realized this, it broke something else loose inside me. A mother’s role involves comforting, guiding and encouraging her children. If our mothers have filled those roles well, we can better accept the role of the Holy Spirit as one who comforts, encourages and guides us. Mom didn’t fill those roles well for me.

Even though others filled in for her, there was still the mother-absence that I keenly felt. Knowing I mattered to her helped me understand that I matter to the Holy Spirit as well. Knowing this helped me accept the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

When I thought of comfort, I thought of food because that was one of Grandma’s ways of comforting me. Now I had a different way to look at comfort. It is the abiding presence of the love, peace and power of the Holy Spirit leading me forward.

For more on this topic, go to episode 127 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, I Matter to God,

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy"; "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help": "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation"; and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.