Are you still living by old messages?

Sometimes it can be a challenge to know what really drives us.

When good friends get together the conversation can wander into unexpected territory. Roadside bombs may litter the way.  

Like the time a group of us started talking about being parents and occasionally wondering why we do what what we do. Blog. Women talking. 3.18

"Honestly, sometimes it's like my mother has taken over my thoughts--and my mouth," said "Kim." "It's as if I don't know if it's me talking or if I'm just a replay of my mom."

"Angie" said, "I know. When I was a kid what I hated most of all were the times my brothers and I would misbehave or maybe, disappoint her. Then my mom would go all cold and silent. 

"I vowed if I ever had children I would never, ever do that! Makes no difference. I love my kids, I really do, but when they act up I can feel myself going all cold and icy. My throat actually closes up. It has taken me a very long time and a lot of prayer to change at all and even so, I still have to watch myself."

Peeling back the layers

"JoJo" said, "I wish I had understood before we married how much my husband is like his workaholic father. I think then at least I would have been prepared, sort of."

After that everyone chimed in with their own story about negative messages and patterns that still influenced their lives.

In no time gloom settled over us like a black cloud.  

That's when "Annie" broke through with a bit of sunshine. "Okay, enough! Let's not get stuck on the past and how our parents messed us up. I'll bet we all can remember good things, too.

"Take my parents, for instance. They made lots of mistakes, but they were crazy about each other--and it showed. They laughed a lot and my friends always wanted to come to our house. What sticks with me is the love and the laughter. Am I the only one who thinks her parents did a good job?"

That's all it took to turn the conversation around. Soon every one of us found several ways our parents blessed us--for life.

We leave imprints, too 

From the beginning we all intend to be a good parents. We want our daughters and sons to grow up healthy and balanced, with sound values and faith in God that will carry them through. We aim to be the best mom or dad any kid ever had.

The trouble is we're human and life is hard. 

For many of us the necessary, non-parenting part of life takes up a lot of our time and energy. We end up too tired to listen enough or laugh enough, let alone be the wise and wonderful parent we imagined we would be.

We rush here and there, trying to be all things to all people. Inevitably, we fail at that because it's an impossible standard.

All the while our children are growing up. And storing up memories.

What I know now--and wish I'd known in the beginning

The truth can be so obvious we could miss it altogether.

Every child ever born, no matter where, no matter when, will experience good times and not-so-good times during their years from birth to adulthood. 

What we--and our children--do with that depends on us as individuals. What we--and they--remember also is affected by personality. Who knows but that may play as big a part as what was factual.  

That's not to imply any of us--or our children--are lying.  

The friend who recalled her laughing mother and father said, "Oh, they weren't perfect, but these are the memories I choose to carry with me. My sister was there at the same time, but she doesn't remember those years the same way." 

Raising children is a challenge. It always was

Most kids grow up with little awareness of the pressures and hardships their parents had to deal with. So did we.

You and I look back from who we are and what we know today--and make judgments, fair or unfair. Some of us keep digging to uncover ways our imperfect mom or dad failed us--and then we nurse our pain.

Why would anyone do that? Motivations vary, but for some, it provides a built-in excuse for ... whatever. One example would be if we can blame our parents then obviously, it's not our fault.

This may seem a convenient way out when we fail, but there's a downside: 

Any time I declare myself a victim I also declare I have no power, no control over my life and my circumstances.

Now, really, is that any cause for celebration?

What if? 

What if we laid down whatever burdens drag us down and just live freely in this day? We can, you know.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he [or she] is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17  ESV

Once we are ready to be free of living with old hurts, the Apostle Paul lays out our how-tos:

. . . clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   Colossians 3:12-13  NIV

We are human, we make mistakes. So did our parents.

You and I survived our parenting, however flawed it may have been. We may even be stronger because of what we had to overcome. 

Instead of stuffing down hurtful memories of childhood, let's sift out the good and thank God for it.

(And let's pray our children will do the same for us.)

Blessings and joy,


February 25, 2022

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