The day I received “Mended,” I was neck-deep in bubble wrap and boxes, a mere two days into a significant family move to a new home, new city, new farm lifestyle. My angel-blessing-on-legs—a.k.a. my mom—was unsurprisingly right by my side working even harder than me on all the unpacking and settling tasks. “Want to take a break and open a fun box instead?” I called to her from one side of the cardboard tower to the other.
I reached in to find not one, but two copies of this beautiful book with the subtitle beckoning first from the top “Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters.” I hadn’t even read its contents yet and I already loved this new Blythe Daniel treasure. Without a moment’s thought, I offered a copy up to my mom and happily accepted the other for myself in what seemed a perfectly-orchestrated God moment. She was delighted, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. Because, regardless of the matchless blessing and strength my mom is in my life, things haven’t always been easy between us. Further, having three daughters of my own, I was particularly excited to see what nuggets I could adapt to prioritize and strengthen my relationship with them now, before the need for restoration has even occurred.
I was not disappointed. For me, “Mended” was a recovery of properly attributed credit and gratitude. While I currently feel safely on the other side of a mended relationship, I had failed in many ways to recognize the work of God through it all. It is from this new place of steady friendship with my mom, that I am able to look with hindsight at the beautiful tapestry woven from strands of broken thread. He was the Author of it all along, and because the process is painfully slow, I’d failed to see it as the masterpiece it really is until I digested the heart-reckoning story of Blythe and her mother, Helen (and even of Helen’s mother).
The relationship between mother and daughter is a complicated gift—one that is far too easy to take for granted. I was inspired and exhorted to do the hard, yet necessary, things in order to prioritize these God-given relationships.
I swayed between my roles as mother and daughter as I read, relating to patterns of behavior in both. As both a daughter and mother, I was swiftly convicted in chapter two of my ingrained need to be right and how often (and easily) I place it above an opportunity to connect and draw closer. I saw myself in a simple, yet painful story of Helen’s mother raging over her ‘incorrect’ washing of the lettuce. “We can’t unscramble the eggs,” they shared, and my heart broke over the times I’d chosen to elevate my position of authority to prove my ‘rightness’ instead of taking advantage of opportunities to connect, see, understand, and cherish my mom or daughters, even (and especially) when their approach looked different than mine.
Unfortunately, I can’t unscramble those eggs. But, I was encouraged into the value of heeding each of these opportunities—none too small—like an intentionally-laid stone of good decision. Blythe writes, “It only takes one small stone to start a change….the pile-up of stones, one after another, builds a road to the other’s heart that can’t be achieved any other way.”
Probably my favorite insightful chapter is entitled “With No Permission Comes No Advice.” Simple but revolutionary wisdom ping-ponged between Blythe and Helen about the unwelcome response we have to forced or untimely advice and how it damages the ability for one to feel heard, seen, understood, and loved. How often have I offered up my perspective and suggestions to my mom or daughters without permission? I know too well the shut-down I personally experience when on the receiving end of unsolicited input and it’s a trap I want to avoid in my relationships. Conveying a posture of open ears ready to listen, and open hands ready to give is a heart-tweak I must make first. Then, practically, we’re given specific suggestions on how to lovingly ask permission to provide feedback. I was so inspired by the way Blythe and Helen had incorporated this into their relationship and the powerful results it yielded, that I’ve already begun trying it with my teen daughter. It is thrilling to watch her walls come down and confidence build when she senses my belief in her ability to consider outcomes for herself.
What I appreciated most as I experienced the cross-generational gift of “Mended,” was the way I felt so genuinely and gently mentored into biblical restoration and relationship. This came alive through the raw practicality of both Blythe and Helen. They both bared their souls, held up their vulnerabilities next to the truth of God’s Word, and encouraged me to do the same, by granting me tools—of both word and deed. Every chapter concludes with a poignant “Mending Thread” to summarize the teaching with a punch and follows-up with a “Making it Personal” directive to immediately put their encouragement into action. Each and every exhortation is undergirded in the power and foundational truth of Scripture.
The beautiful relationship between Blythe and Helen is clearly saturated in the love of Jesus—something I deeply desire for myself and my girls, as well as with my mom. This authentic duo walked amidst the refining fires, came out with lessons of gold, and gracefully make each one accessible to us.
And now, I’m so anxious to see how my mom is coming along in her reading of “Mended” and eagerly await what healthy work God may do to deepen our connection.
This book has something soul-beneficial for every woman, guiding us through spiritual introspective resolution in our own hearts in order that we might revive and root our relationships in the ultimate Author of restoration, Jesus. Oh that we may leave a legacy of beauty and wholeness as we seek to honor one another in this most precious relationship of mother and daughter—quite like that of Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh.
Blythe Daniel is a literary agent and marketer with 20 plus years of experience in publishing. She has written Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Living. Her agency represents authors to publishers and through marketing campaigns and their blog network. She and her mother Dr. Helen McIntosh are the co-authors of Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters. Blythe lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.
Dr. Helen McIntosh (EdD, Counseling Psychology) is a counselor, speaker, educator, and author of Messages to Myself and Eric, Jose & The Peace Rug®. Her work has appeared in Guideposts, ParentLife, and HomeLife magazines. She resides in Georgia with her husband Jim. They have two children and five grandchildren.
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