Live and Learn

A friend of mine posted this:

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I laughed at the sentiment because I understood what she meant.  Not that I would call another human being trash, but I understand the thought.  People that are toxic to you emotionally and mentally, need to be removed from your life.  They are useless to your forward motion and your journey in life.  They become neither helpful or relevant. Part of walking on water is learning about people and who those people really are.   Those that withdraw love, friendship or contact with the wind are “fair weather friends”.

My mom used to use this phrase all the time and it’s taken me until 54 to learn what that truly means.  My son and I were up at 2 AM one morning and I told him that in life you probably only going to have 1 or 2 true friends.  That’s reality.  Everybody ain’t yo friend. When people withdraw themselves from your life, sometimes it’s a blessing.  It makes you see how much they did not value you as a person in the first place.  You were, to them, some kind of tool they could use temporarily.  Maybe your presence made them feel a certain way, or they simply looked at you as an acquaintance and not a friend.  It’s not that you become close to everybody—that’s impossible, but it’s the people who try to sell you on their love and care and then cut you off that are amazing.  You can’t think of anything that would cause it, or anything you’ve done but all of a sudden the contact stops.

It’s tough when the cold water of reality hits you in the face.

I was never that important to you anyway.

So you live and learn.

God encouraged me one time when cold shoulders have hit me in life that I had not wasted time at all.  Everything we do in sincerity and every person we meet teaches us something about life.   My husband told me years ago, “Because you’ve experienced these things, sweetie, now you know who not to be”.

  1. He encouraged me that hard lessons learned are the ones that stick, never think your time was wasted.
  2. He let me know that my sincerity is what HE values.
  3. He removed toxic people from my life because God is truth and he never wants us to be deceived about who people are.
  4. He reminded me that their removal was His design so that I wouldn’t lean on false support but only on Him.
  5. He showed me that anything we do with a good heart will never be ignored by Him and He is what is important in life.

Often you can look at the mistakes you’ve made in trusting people and say “how could I be so stupid”?  How could I have been so careless with my life and my time?   But it’s then you begin to see that those people who’ve cut you off, never did truly value you as a person.  You meant something to them but only in your own mind but not in reality.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?  The line between fantasy and reality.

A person showed me a chart one time.  On one side there was a circle called Fantasy and the other Side was an overlapping circle called Reality. There was a space in between where a person has to find a balance of what is achievable in a relationship.

Our fantasies about the character of people will eventually clash with the reality of their character.  We are all human.  Thankfully, I am learning to find those spaces where I keep fantasy at bay and deal with the reality accepting who they are and who they are supposed to be in my life.  Sometimes people are just lessons—that’s all.

When people say they love you and care about you, should you believe them or realize that people often just say things to fill up space or because they have a feeling of love, but don’t understand the reality?  You figure, “Oh… I get it.  It’s time for me to lower my expectations”.

It’s like buyer’s remorse.  You bought what they sold but you were sadly disappointed in the performance of the product.  No matter how hard the sell, (and you often do get the hard hustle sell “I really do care about you” “I really I do!”).  You look at their actions and sometimes you can even look into their eyes and you know it’s a scam.  It’s particularly disheartening when they are using the bible to sell the love product.

I was listening to a detective story one time and the detective explained his approach to his casework. “One or two coincidences, maybe, but when you have coincidence, after coincidence, after coincidence. Well to believe anything else is just plain stupid.”

I saw a sign one time that said:

“YOU WILL NEVER FIND THE RIGHT PERSON UNTIL YOU LET GO OF THE WRONG ONE”.

Lesson learned.

 

 

 

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5 Signs of Religious Addiction

Here I am,  asking Jesus to fix it again. This blog is about spiritual awareness.  I decided to write this when I was talking to my husband the other day, as I go through this phase of spiritual awareness in my life.  The first phase was many years ago when my religious naiveté wore off and I realized that everyone who called themselves a bible believing, born again,  hymnal-carrying “church of God” Christians was not one.  Back then, I was comforted by the Lord when he encouraged me to focus on Him alone.  I realized that you can’t make other people do right, you’re only responsible for your own life in Christ. Continue reading

Follow-Up to the “Apology”

dont forget the teachingI didn’t expect the outpour of response from the prior September 5th post, but I appreciate the feedback. As a blogger, I simply wanted others to know that this was a much-needed catharsis for me. This is a  real-life continuation to me of a prior article on this blog on the Prison of Perfectionism.  I am still healing from the many layers God is pulling back in my life to move me forward in my ministry.  To those that have written me privately out their pain. I’m sure if your parents had felt freer in doing so, it would have led them to support their own parental instincts in raising you. Continue reading

An Apology to My Daughter

This may help other families in Christian ministry to never put their children last even if they are leaders in the church.

There comes a time as a parent that you have to own up to your parenting skills good or bad. First let me say,  I am very proud of all my children and their good character. I cannot say that I was the most attentive parent or the perfect mother, but I believe that my children did pick up some good things through the love they have seen in our home, our Christian character and a sense of right and wrong they can carry with them as they go through life.

However, the first child, as someone once said, is always the guinea pig.  As parents, and yes, each child is different, you don’t always know what to do.  Being in the public eye does not change or enhance your parenting skills, it only makes them harder, because everyone is watching and critiquing.  That’s just life.  People always place a target on people that are up talking to and teaching other people–the subject doesn’t matter.    My husband and I were trying to figure parenting out ourselves.  We still have children at home.  Sadly, the most we heard around  our church was to discipline children or we’d hear nothing at all.  So we were left to ask friends, relatives like anyone else.  Finally, a preacher in our group said across the pulpit, “preachers children are the most criticized and usually are worst than the average, Why? Because the people require so much time of the minister, they don’t have time for their own families”.

To My Daughter:

I love God, I think you know that and believe that about me.  But as a female minister in our church, there had been for years very little understanding of the balance between home and serving God.  In our religion, even though we talked about Home being first, in practice it was probably about the third on the list after, worshipping God, serving our Pastors and the church.   Teaching balance was an area in which our church was woefully lacking and has been for probably the last 20 years.  It seemed to fall apart around the time you were born.  So when God called your mom to preach, I began to feel extreme pressure to conform to what people expected me and my family to be and do. It was as if I never married or had a child. I didn’t want to slow down because I loved God and the church, but also there was another element pushing me.  If you did not conform, you could not function because you were not going to be considered a good saint.  Sweetheart, you grew up during a time that the older Pastors and Teachers, like the one who made the above statement,  had passed away.  The new set, seem to not understand this at all.  There seemed no room for special situations, mostly because leadership failed to understand women and mothers’ roles in the home.

When your brother was born and was two years old, he stood on the seats in church.  The usher came by and asked your father to please not allow him to stand on the seat.  Dad complied and said “sorry, I’ll watch it but he’s just a child”.  The usher said, “but he’s a church of God child and he’s a minister’s child” as if there was special DNA that would make him different from any other child.  One time, you had gotten distracted and pushed past an elderly saint at 5 years old because you were active. You were quickly branded as a “difficult” child.  I was told that the instant I spoke, you should fall in line.  Sometimes you did, but there were other times, like any normal child that you didn’t.

If I had been a nobody, maybe this would not have happened.  But, I was the only female preacher with small children.   Leadership at the time expected me to do what male ministers did– leave everything to their spouse.  However, my spouse was a man, and often he was treated oddly, to say the least. I don’t think they knew what to do with our dynamic.  They didn’t seem to realize that directives for him in scripture were totally different.   A totally different role in the home.  He was often working and providing, and sometimes, so was I and we all know children expect love differently from their mothers.  The leadership of the last 20 years has never realized that and often instilled in the people that “one size fits all” mentality. I’m not angry at them, it was just limited understanding.  Unfortunately, in trying to conform, you became collateral damage.   My decisions, caused you suffering.  For that, I am so sorry.

I was feeling the pressure to be a perfect mother in a system that didn’t really understand putting the home first at all.  We had services 4 times a week, street meetings, home bible studies and if you were late, that was not good, if you were not there, that was seen as even worse.  You were too young to understand the pressure I was under to “be an example”.  But you were there at every meeting, road trip, and bible study until I had your brother. This is what I was taught.  However, as a looked at the “examples” around me.  So many of them seemed to be failing with their families as well under this type of religious practice. As I look around, so many children in our religion have been bitter and some are bitter about their neglect.

 As I valued my life more, got closer to God and listened to Him more, I realized that Christ was our only “perfect” example and he never called on any person to take that place.  I remember my former Pastor  and his assistant saying that he regretted not spending more time with their families. I keep hearing all these regrets, but the system never changes.  My husband always said that if you want to see if a practice or teaching is godly, look at the fruit. It’s worked ok for some, but others not so much.

It was not Christ’s intention in giving me the gift of preaching and teaching to help other people and lose you. So please don’t blame God.   Yes, my Christian character should be above reproach but I cannot be Jesus for people.  I was never supposed to be.  I’m just me, your mom.

I remember that a woman Pastor in our group was asked what would she do if she had children because she was still young.  She said,” I guess I’d have to slow down”.  That’s reality for a wife and mother.  Sadly, not many people in our group made any distinctions so we just took children with us everywhere.  Sometimes the results were good for them, but sometimes not, depending on the child.  And often the parents made no distinctions about the needs of their particular children to treat them as individuals. Cookie-cutter parenting.

My dear daughter, you’ve been through a lot and I know we love each other as we talked this out this weekend. I am more focused on Jesus in my life and less on people.  I know in my heart what God wants me to do in my home even if others do not understand those directives in scripture.  I know I am taking the godly path for a woman of God to care for her children and her home.

There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.             (I Corinthians 7:34)

 

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.(Titus 2:4, 5)

I remember when you were seven and I apologized to you for being so harsh. Right there,  I listened to God.  He told me NOT to continue with the advice I was being given to “bring you in line”.  You were not “bad” by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, most people I knew thought you were lovely and mannerable.  But often, because of my position, that was not enough, or rather I was made to feel that was not enough.   And so, I told you how sorry mommy was for the way I talked to you, corrected you and sent you the message that you were not good enough no matter what you did.  I could see the wall that was coming between us.  I tried to repair it by going on mother/daughter weekends together, and you appreciated that, but a lot of damage to your self-esteem had been done already.

We were both robbed. We didn’t really get to enjoy each other like we do now, and that childhood time is gone. When you are away now, I really miss you. I never really got to enjoy and embrace you as a person.  As you know, I am trying to do better with your brothers and be there for them.

We never had this conversation until this weekend.  Thank you for your forgiveness.

me and sydney

Feel free to comment below.

KNOW YOUR VALUE

fine goldSometimes, people and circumstances can make you feel rotten,  but you must take the time to understand the value of your life.   When God created you as an individual, your birth itself was instant value. When God changed your life to walk with Him, that is, again, instant value. Your spiritual life is God giving you a chance for a special, dynamic experience which the bible describes in terms of building materials. You need to believe in your worth in order to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading