I am going to start this out by warning you that it will be raw and vulnerable. I am laying out my junk in the hopes that it will help encourage someone that may be in my place. That it will wake someone up to the soul-crushing junk that words, even seemingly joking words, can manufacture. I looked through my list of titles that I said I’d be writing about from retreat, but none of them really seem to fit this topic. While many of the lessons for this post were learned (read: drug out of me) at retreat, there really is only one way to describe what I’m about to talk about…….
As a mom, you tend to notice when your children are having a hard time. As frustration sets in around a seemingly difficult child, you know. You know in your heart, if you are really desiring to see it, that they aren’t just acting up to be a jerk. However, the more they act up and act unloving, the harder it is to love them. Yes, you love them always, but it becomes difficult to like them. To want to be around them. Then the guilt sets in.
This is my CHILD. How can I not want to be around them? Why do I fanticize about being alone, away from them? What does that say about me as a mother? There are so many women who would do anything to have a child and I am just looking for an escape away from mine. Why, Lord, why did you give me such a difficult child? She’s a Christian, why isn’t she acting more like you? I’ve taught her your ways, why isn’t she living by them? I want to love her like you do, but she just gets on my nerves. She’s so disrespectful and mouthy. I’m just at a loss at what to do.
For quite a long time, I have had one daughter in particular that I’ve been concerned about. I noticed a change in her not too long after our life took a shift in a different direction and we moved away from everything and everyone that she’s ever known. She became easily angered and defensive. She was always picking fights. She was moody and loved to throw everyone’s shortcomings in their faces. She was hard to be around. It was almost like she was intentionally trying to make everyone miserable.
I had one other daughter that I went through this with years ago and we came to the conclusion that artificial food dyes were to blame. We punished her for years when in reality, she couldn’t physically help how she was acting when she ate them. From what I’ve read, they change the brain chemistry for children that are sensitive to them. Once we removed them, she is a pleasant, driven, funny, confident, giving young woman. Was this the issue with this other daughter or is she just out to make our lives miserable?
I have noticed some signs that she may be gluten intolerant, but have done nothing about it. I’ve read that gluten sensitivity can also cause behavior problems in children. Was that it?
She also tends to act out and look for attention in many different ways and I wondered if maybe she just felt like, in a family of 5 girls, that she was overlooked and unseen. Left out. Lonely. I know that children that are attention seeking are going to do whatever they need to do to get attention, regardless of what that attention is…..good or bad.
One other thing that I’ve noticed in our house is that it’s very negative. We never tried to be, it just slowly happened over time…..like a slow growing disease.
I am by nature not a positive person. I tend to be sarcastic and immediately look for the bad in a situation. I am very good about being kind and positive and encouraging outside of my family, but at home, it doesn’t take long for disease to take root.
It started with little things like:
- “Why are you wearing that? I told you it’s too small……you look poured into it”
- “Did you brush your teeth? Obviously you didn’t, they are full of sweaters”
- “Did you put deodorant on? Why do you stink then? Clearly you didn’t”
- “Do something with your hair….you look like you live under a bridge”
- “Why do you ALWAYS have to be instigating fights? It’s so annoying”
- “Do you ALWAYS have to be so loud/obnoxious/crazy”
- “That’s ALL you guys do is fight. I’m so sick of it, you make me so stressed out”
- The “growl”……”AGHHHHHHHH I am so tired of your whining, _____,_____”
None of this dialogue was ever intended to directly insult my children. It was, in my warped way of thinking, challenging them to be better. You know that children are naturally driven to please their parents, so if I told them the downfall of their actions, it would inspire them to be better, right?
So, I know that all of this has been going on….yet I’ve felt somewhat powerless to stop it or get a handle on it so it just continues.
I came home last week feeling all geeked up and full of the Holy Spirit, but fully expecting an assault by the evil one. Any time you do the Lord’s work, you can almost expect that He will give you a chance to practice your newfound truth. I got it full force yesterday morning.
I have been so careful about keeping calm and not yelling since I got back. I know that is my downfall and I was determined to change it. I also, mistakenly, thought that my children would be miraculously different….peaceful, loving, giving, meek little souls because I found God up on that mountain, ya know!!!! Um, yeah…..no
Because I asked the child discussed above if her hair was brushed yesterday morning, it opened up a whole world that needed to be dealt with and dealt with now. It was a full on show of disrespect; yelling, shouting of words that should never be said to an adult, throwing/breaking things, threats, etc.
As things have gotten progressively worse with said child, I was determined to figure out the root of her problems, but yesterday morning clinched it for me. We needed to figure out what was going on and quickly.
I stewed about it all day. I had, in a fit of anger, taken away her softball game for last night. While I knew that it needed to be done, I was in a very chaotic place in my heart of “What if her anger is food related? What if it is because she has some hurt in her that is manifesting itself in this anger? Did I punish her for something that she can’t control? Is she hurting this bad and I’m brushing it under the rug?” I was just sad. I was sad for her (as I truly didn’t believe that this good-natured little girl was acting out just to a lack of consistent discipline). I was sad that I had let things get so far out of control without investigating more. I was sad that I was failing her as a mom.
As the day wore on, I was just torn about whether or not I should’ve taken away her softball game. The one thing that she loves more than anything. I prayed all day about it. I threw different scenarios out to my husband. I sought advice from a trusted friend. I just didn’t know what to do. I was a 1/2 hour away from having to make a final decision about the ball game and whether or not she’d be playing in it and I was at a loss and in tears.
Then she got home.
Within 2 minutes of her walking in the door, she got mouthy and disrespectful again. It was over something that was calmly said and no big deal, but she came back swinging.
That was the final straw, we’d be staying home for the night.
Later on in the evening, I made her come sit and talk to us. I told her that I didn’t believe that she was just a discipline issue and that I thought there was more going on in her. I told her that we thought that it was either food related or that she had a broken heart over something. I asked her which it was.
Through the course of much discussion and digging on my part, it finally all came pouring out. Long story short………
She feels worthless. Not good enough. Like she has to work to be loved.
Can there be anything more devastating to a mom’s heart? How do you hear that the lackadaisical comments that you’ve thrown out in your frustration have seeped into the depths of your precious daughter’s heart and taken root? How seemingly innocent words, said with no ill intent on my part, have changed who she is at her very core? Heartbreaking.
I am still working on wounds that have been my reality for most of my life. Little things that people have said to me that stuck for some reason or another and have shaped who I am. All my insecurities and all of the things that hold me back from freedom started with an innocent comment. A command to perform that wasn’t meant as such, but made me feel that my worth was performance based nonetheless.
I’ve spent the last 9+ weeks digging out my soul junk. A desire to earn love and worth. A rating scale of how well I’m performing and how that equates to whether or not I’m “worth anything”, or whether or not my life has meaning and purpose. I’ve carried this for years and I just put it on my daughters to start basing their worth on how they act.
I’ve put it on them that they are too much. “Why are you always so loud/crazy/obnoxious” because I have a hard time with loud chaos. I am asking them to change who they are. Who GOD himself made them to be. Do they need to be out of control all the time, no……but there are many people who are “too much” who were put on this earth to be loud and bold for Christ. Am I stifling that in my children because it’s too much for me? Am I making them change who they are because they are worried about what I think of them and feel unworthy of love because of my actions?
I have “dumbed myself down” so many times to fit what I feel others around me desire. To fit in. To feel wanted. Such a waste. I am who I am. I will write more about this when I write “#youbeyouboo”, but it’s being played out right in front of me.
So, last night, we instituted a new rule.
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything. If you aren’t building the other person up or making them feel good, don’t say anything.
Will it take some reprogramming on all of our parts to filter out mouths, yes. Will we mess up, yes. I’ve become an expert as asking for forgiveness since I’ve been back. Such an important step, but that’s for another post.
I’ve seen how hurting people hurt people because it just played out in my own home, but the cycle stops here. I’ve been entrusted with these future women and I want them empowered to be who GOD made them to be, not who I feel they should be. It is my prayer that God continues to heal the junk in my heart and that He replaces it with His promises to me of who I am in Him. And I pray that I show my family that they too are enough in Him, even as we mess up as parents.
Gentle words are a tree of life;
a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. ~ Prov. 15:4
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ~ Col. 3:12-14
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ Phil 4:8-9
Does this resonate with you? Are you a hurt person hurting other people…..even if it’s unintentional? Do you ever wonder how your “innocent” words are received by others? If you are encouraged by this, please like and share using the buttons below!
(Linked to Woman to Woman Ministries)