“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

When I was in 8th grade, a guy told me I couldn’t be his Valentine because his friends thought I was ugly. Those words have stayed with me since they were spoken. I may not identify with them as much as I once did, but for a very long time, I did some stupid things to validate my worth and receive the approval of others.

“She used to be ashamed of her story, now she’s excited to tell them about God’s mercy, favor, and glory.”

I have made some awful mistakes in my life, many I have confessed to and many I have not. I guess this could be said for any of us. We confess just enough for people to believe we are transparent, but keep plenty close to the vest.

“A…heart like his mama’s”

One of my biggest complaints of Jake is how differently he treats me versus how he treats others. I complain that he is so polite to others whilst treating me not so nice.

His heart is definitely like mine. Last night, Jake reminded how mean I am to him. I have said some cruel and heartbreaking things to him throughout the years, which have obviously stayed with him. I have crushed his spirits, devalued him as a person and a young man. All the while sharing with others how “far” Christ has brought me.

Am I negating the distance I have travelled? Absolutely not, but how can one proclaim being a lover of Christ when she is not loving the most special gift He has blessed her with? Have my words hurt my son as deeply as the words spoken to me by an 8th grade boy?

“You are being too hard on yourself”

Am I? Or am I taking advantage of all the mercy, favor, and glory God has showered on me? Am I no different than the person that hurt me with his words all those years ago? Am I still the self-absorbed child that sought validation by putting others down because I was once hurt?

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” – Ephesians 5:8-13

May Your conviction produce a change and not be easily forgotten.

Sins of our Fathers…and Mothers

Whether we like it or not the behaviors of our parents (good or bad) have affected us in some form. We are, as much as we deny it, like our parents. Their makeup is what makes us their children.

As Jake gets older, his mannerisms, his laugh, his reactions, become more and more like his dad’s or mine with some of his unique personality mixed in. Sometimes it is great to see a mini me, but other times, it hurts me to see that a lot of my behaviors have influenced how he sees and reacts to this world.

In the midst of my most selfish days, I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have. Because of God’s grace, I have been forgiven and have repented of those sins, however, as much as I want to, I am not able to erase the consequences and the damage the exposure of those sins have had on Jake. So, instead of wallowing in regret, I pray for him, teach him the Truth and, probably the most difficult, apologize to him.

Intercessory prayer and the teaching of God’s Word is critical to guiding our children in their present and their future, but apologizing addresses the past. We, as parents, need to apologize for our behaviors and try to keep the influence of those behaviors away from our children. For example, Jake is at a difficult age; on the cusp of boy and manhood, the choices he makes are influenced by what he has seen and learned. However, by confessing my wrong behaviors and apologizing for exposing him to them, he can identify that what he has seen and learned from such behaviors should not be considered when making his own choices.

Apologizing to Jake was the most difficult thing I have done thus far. I almost didn’t even do it because I kept thinking it wouldn’t make a difference and what was the point if I already had forgiven myself and had received forgiveness from the Lord. But when I did, I felt such peace and another level of freedom from those sins. Jake, at first, had no idea why I needed to apologize, but when I explained that I didn’t want my bad choices to be an influence in his life, his expression changed. It was mainly a one-sided conversation because my son isn’t into conversing before fully processing what he has heard, so I am not sure what his thoughts are, but my prayer is that by confessing and apologizing, the sins of his mother don’t have as much power as they once did.

Three’s Company

“Come and knock on our door, we’ve been waiting for you. Where the kisses are hers and hers and his, Three’s Company, too!” Are you singing it? (I’m showing my age, but it doesn’t matter because I don’t look and, surely, don’t act it.) But, I digress.

This past weekend, my friend, Judy, moved in with Jake and I. This is a good move for us, considering we both could use the financial help and I had an extra bedroom. She and I haven’t ever had a roommate (since Jake and her mom don’t really count as “roommates”), so this is a new adventure for us.

As we prayed about the decision, I (possibly she as well, but I won’t speak for her) had the fear that this could ruin our friendship. We have a great friendship! We are supportive and encouraging of each other. We are each other’s prayer partner in so many areas of our lives and although we have walked different paths, we seem to be in a similar season. So, living together, I feared, would put a strain on that.

Although it has been only 3 days and the potential of a strained friendship could always be there, we have decided to just be honest about our feelings. For example, I was in a super cranky mood yesterday, I was suffering from severe cramps and hadn’t eaten all day. When I got home from work, Judy called me to help her finish move her stuff from her apartment to storage. I was in no mood to do anything except for lounge around the house, but I knew she needed the help, so I changed into my comfy jeans and headed out.

After a couple of hours, I was done. I just wanted to go home and my attitude was not hiding that fact at all. Later on, after we both were back home, I was still cranky because although I had dinner, I was still hungry and on top of cramps, I was now sore. All I wanted to do was just sit and relax. The 3 of us were in the living room watching television or on our respective electronic device. Judy was trying to make conversation and all I wanted was quiet. I wasn’t outwardly rude, but my tone was not loving in any kind of way. And instead of letting her know I would rather not talk, I gave short answers.

This morning, as I texted with Judy, I felt the Lord telling me to apologize to her. I did. She responded by justifying my behavior. Albeit, very nice of her, I reminded her that was not becoming nor was it conducive of a woman of God who is called to be set apart. I explained I was not having a pity party or guilt trip, but felt conviction to repent from my behavior. As the good friend she is, she accepted my apology, forgave me and that was that.

That simple incident reminded me that I am called to be set apart (holy). “As obedient children,” Paul says in 1 Peter chapter 1 beginning in verse 14, “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.” I struggle with this verse because I feel haughty thinking of myself as holy, but it is not haughty because as His child, God calls me to be holy.

I am, obviously, far from being holy and will most likely get aggravated with Judy and Jake before the day is done, but I pray as He did this morning, that the Lord will continue to remind me that I am called to be holy and that three can create a great company and not be a crowd!