A Mother’s Healing Voice
by Sharon W. Betters
For the next few weeks you will meet my wife, Sharon, as she writes The In His Grip devotions. For more of Sharon’s writing and resources for women, check out her blog at www.treasuresofencouragement.org.
I was seventeen years old and working at a Bible conference that summer. Housekeeping (cleaning up after campers) was my self-chosen job because I wanted to spend as much time on the beach as possible. Unlike the waitresses, dishwashers and cooks, housekeepers had their afternoons off once the floors were swept and beds were made. What could be better than a long summer at the beach with like-minded teens in a faith-based environment? On my days off I headed to the beach at sunrise and didn't leave until sunset.
But I had some emotional baggage that refused to stay safely packed away. My high school boyfriend did not share my faith. He wasn't thrilled when I informed him of my summer plans. It didn't take long in that Bible soaked culture for me to conclude I had to break off the relationship. Drama drapes teen lives and his first and only visit ended in more drama than I dreamed possible. If it weren't for my mother, I probably wouldn't have stuck with my decision. Every night after dinner, I slipped into the phone booth, dialed home and held my breath until I heard her voice. I chattered about every detail of the day and waited for her to encourage me to stay the course. I wish I could remember specific nuggets of wisdom that she shared. It wasn't the words as much as the emotional connection with the one person who loved me more than anyone else in the world at that time of my life. What is it about a mother's voice that soothes and calms a daughter's troubled heart? Our daughter, Heidi, has noted specific times that she has called just because she needed to hear my voice. There wasn't anything I could do for her to change the circumstances but perhaps like me, she needed to connect with one who loves her in a way that no one else does.
If your daughter is stressed out, the soothing sound of your voice can relieve her anxiety as much as an actual hug, says a University of Wisconsin-Madison study. After a series of challenging tests, girls who were comforted by their mom in person or over the phone experienced a surge of oxytocin, the bonding hormone that also calms your stress response. In contrast, girls who had no contact with their mother showed no rise in oxytocin. So if you can't be there, speed-dial your daughter after her difficult exam, important performance or other big event (or tell her to call you). (Ladies Home Journal, page 164, October, 2010)
This study explains how a mother's voice for some daughters is better than a pill, alcohol or even chocolate. Just my mother's voice initiated a physical change in my body that lowered my stress hormones. There are so many "motherless" women who long for such a calming influence. Women whose mothers died when they were very young or whose mothers abandoned them emotionally. Perhaps this is another reason why God instructs older women to mother younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Perhaps it's more about that calming voice than it is about the words spoken. I need my mother today. I am restless and anxious. But my mother left this earth in 1998. Perhaps instead of longing for her voice, I can be that soothing voice for a motherless young woman, who longs to know that there is at least one woman who loves her deeply. Perhaps just hearing my voice will help turn her heart toward the One Who loves her even more than I do. And maybe that truth will produce a hormonal change that puts a skip in her step and a smile on her face.
In His grip,
Sharon W. Betters
Digging Deeper: Titus 2:3-5
For more on Encouragement, check out Sharon’s Blog at www.treasuresofencouragement.org
Treasures of Encouragement: This all inclusive resource is designed to make your retreat planning simple and inexpensive. You will receive an attractive Treasures of Encouragement Tote Bag filled with tools to make your retreat fun and life changing.
Sharon Betters, author of Treasures of Encouragement, will be your speaker via DVD’s. In your tote bag you will find all sorts of tools and exciting ideas for making your retreat fun and a place for women to connect and cultivate community, not only with each other but with Jesus. Click here for a message from Sharon in which she explains why we created this resource and what's in the bag