Patricia Holbrook

And invitation to mend mother-daughter relationships

“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

These promise-filled words are found in the second part of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, where the restoration and promise of future blessings for Israel through her Messiah was foretold by the great prophet.

Isaiah’s words, particularly chapters 40-66, have been a source of great encouragement for me through the years, mainly because his message focuses on themes that are dear to my heart: forgiveness, restoration and redemption.

“You will be called the repairer of the breach.”

The words of the prophet perfectly describe the heart of a brand-new book, which I recently had the privilege to review: “Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters,” by literary agent Blythe Daniel and her mother Dr. Helen McIntosh.

I was introduced to Daniel by a mutual friend when I began searching for an agent for my next project. When I saw the post on social media about her upcoming book, I was immediately drawn to it.

I am very selective when getting involved in the launch of new books or motion pictures, but I must confess: This project has captured my heart. There is a good reason for that. My mother and I are witnesses of the restoring power of forgiveness and grace. We have worked together to become “repairers of the breach” that existed between us for many years, and can certainly testify that, with God’s help, healing and restoration for the mother-daughter relationship can indeed take place.

Perhaps there is hardly a more complex female relationship than the bond that exists between mother and daughter. Through the years, I have met many daughters who have strained relationships with their mothers for various reasons, and mothers who constantly hurt their daughters with destructive words and selfish actions. In each case, a chasm grows between them at the same rate as the hole in their hearts. I am yet to meet a truly happy, peaceful woman who lives in constant friction with her mother or daughter. When that relationship suffers, there is usually anger, unforgiveness and emotional damage that spreads to other relationships, often affecting a woman’s psyche in dramatic ways. It’s true. I know it too well.

The message of “Mended” is raw, riveting … and overdue. With candid honesty, McIntosh shares her struggles as a child with an abusive mother and how forgiveness and self-awareness allowed her to break the cycle for the next generation:

“Unforgiveness is toxic for both you and those around you, in addition to the one(s) you aren’t forgiving,” McIntosh writes. “The poison goes deep and wide and impacts future generations if you don’t take care of it in your heart. In the very difficult times with my mother, I remember knowing I needed to forgive her – whether she ever asked my forgiveness or not.”

McIntosh had the type of upbringing that could justify a completely dysfunctional relationship with her daughter Blythe. But she chose the road less traveled and the results show. As New-York Times best-selling author Stasi Eldredge writes in the book’s foreword: “(…) if I want to learn about the relationship between a mother and daughter – the possibilities for healing, the goodness and holiness and intimacy that can be attained – I go to Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh.”

I concur. “Mended” is not a psychology textbook. It is a practical guide, filled with ideas on how to initiate the restoration process. It offers mothers and daughters with difficult relationships a hope that those relationships can be healed, and the knowledge of how to initiate that healing.

From a daughter whose relationship with her mother was once filled with resentment and pain, to my readers who may find themselves in desperate need of “mending”: There is hope, joy and incredible peace when you deliberately take steps to bridge the gap that separates you from the most important women in your life. My prayer this Mother’s Day is that, if you are on either side of the chasm, you will have the courage, humility and strength to take the first step toward that bridge. Life is certainly much better on the other side.

Read more about “Mended” and where to order it at www.ourmendedhearts.com.

Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, blogger and international speaker. Visit her website www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com

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