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
In relationships, when you are trying to recover and heal, the pain is real. Opening yourself up to pain can have good and lasting effects. My husband always said, “Look at the fruit”. I ‘m glad to say that the fruit of my apology to my daughter has been awesome. Even though she and I suffered a deep hurt, we are bouncing back with a vengeance.
My daughter and I talked again last week. She was on her way to school. I told her about the article, and she brightened up and said “Oh yeah? Look at you!”, in the way she often does like she’s the parent teaching the child. She seemed as happy for me getting that off my chest as I was, about her forgiving me.
I noticed something, and it was a big something. The tension between us was gone. That unsaid weight that can hang over a relationship. She accepted me and I accepted her. She understood me, and I understood her. Between us had stood an invisible wall that we laughed around, had dinner around, shopped around, and played around, but it stood there, unmoving, solid and stoic. I had tried to tear it down many years ago, but so many bricks had been laid, some of which I had no idea how they got there. While I was laboring for God, it was like someone came in the middle of the night and had created a whole house around us and rooms in between. I had to go and find out what room my daughter was in. Not an easy task.
It hurt me that I had let that happen. I am not a person that often cares what people think of me, if I believe in what I am doing or hey, just don’t want to do it. But in this circle, in this realm of religion, it seemed I was weak. When I was not a Christian, I could be in a room full of people smoking weed and if I didn’t want to do any, I could stand my ground. Back then, it wasn’t really on any moral ground. I just wasn’t interested. Now why, when it came to religion did I crumble to other peoples’ opinion of my child? Why couldn’t I just stay focused on what God was telling me as an individual?
I beat myself up about that but only for a “minute” though, because I know that it doesn’t do any good.
I know that when a woman wants to shed the past and make changes, so many times, we go for our hair. My daughter had been talking about cutting her hair for a while, not just for style, but mostly because she wanted to re-grow her hair and start over. She’s in beauty school, so her teacher fixed her up and she has suuuper-short hair now. Her teacher said, “Girl, you’ve got to have confidence to wear your hair like that!” Now, some people may not look well on that, but I see past the outward of what she did.
She has confidence.
When she first came by the house, she’d did a self-cut.
I said, “oh wow, I wasn’t expecting that but you should get your teacher to line it up right and smooth out the look”.
I told her how pretty she was. She’s grown, she can do what she wants.
She has a beautiful face, so there’s nothing she could do that would detract from that. I wasn’t going to say anything negative after our bond had been restored, nor did I feel compelled to.
The first place you learn how valuable or special you are is at home, from your parents. If that not given, it’s hard to have good self-esteem.
I have seen her confidence in herself blossom, and that’s what’s important.
When an apology from the heart is given, healing on both sides can come quickly.
I 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
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)
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 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.
Feel free to comment below.
Over the past few years a change has happened in my life in a good way. My hope for my future and what I can accomplish seems brighter than before. I’m not sure why I feel like this except that I have greater focus. This is a change for me. So I want to ask the question of how does one change. I know in my life, change always seemed to come in pieces. Very rarely, if I’ve made major changes did it come from one grand incident where I said, “I need to change”. Usually, there was a long string of good or bad happenings that brought me to a point of change. Continue reading