This one’s a hard one to write. Coming to terms with our “bad”self is hard but so important. It has been on my heart for a few days now and I feel it will bring healing to some momma hearts.
My oldest and I had time together this past weekend in Colorado. I love time with her (I love time with all of my kids – it’s my favorite) and thankfully they love time with me too, but that wasn’t always the case. I don’t remember how we got onto this subject but she mentioned something about an article she read that mentioned how most kids first bullies are their moms. 🙁 As she described the bullying tools moms use I saw myself when she was younger. I was her first bully. I am not sure she had made that connection but I saw it and owned and apologized.
When my kids were little, my younger self was so unhealthy. I was emotionally and spiritually immature and did not know how to parent well. They triggered the insecurity, inadequacy and ineptness in me. And I responded sometimes loudly and sometimes silently. Yelling was the way I tried to get their attention, silent treatments were used to guilt, anger to control, withdrawal or spanking to punish. It breaks my heart to remember all the moments that rush to slather me with shame and failure. I was a failure most days with my babies. Of course it wasn’t all bad and I definitely have some great mom wins but the ones I remember most are those moments I regret. I work hard to not let those moments define me, even still. I hate that younger version of me that was so immature and caused pain to those I love most. She was so ill-equipped, so much in her own mess, so lost for so long, so hurt and damaged in her own story. It is true, “hurt people, hurt people.”
In 2007, three months after my last baby was born, I joined an inner healing class that started me on the road to self-love. Sixteen years later I am a different person! A lot of Jesus and some much needed heart healing has transformed my life. My children are the daily reminder of the cross of Christ in my life. They have offered undeserved forgiveness to me over the years and each loves me so well.
I have done the hard work and still do. Something I learned when they were young was “if you can’t lead by example, lead through repentance.” I apologized alot to my kids growing up and still do.
When a memory comes that desires to cover me with shame,
I throw it off by stepping into the pain of it –
let myself remember it –
see and feel the hurt of all of it –
forgive myself –
then I call that child, retell the story, and APOLOGIZE.
The shame roars, “Don’t tell anyone, hide it, keep it a secret.”
The truth whispers, “Be brave, be honest, bring the healing that all want and need, tell your story.”
Owning our stories is a necessary part of our healing. All the versions of ourselves from 5 to 85 make up who we are. We are the culmination of the life lived and the stories we have lived in and through. Divorce of my parents at an early age had a huge impact which affected my own parenting. Early betrayal and hurt in friendships affected my own parenting. Offering my heart and body in an immature dating relationship affected my own parenting. Living in an abusive relationship affected my own parenting. Feeling inadequate, not enough, lacking affected my own parenting.
And all these parts of myself needed healing to change my own parenting.
I oftentimes get frustrated by the stories my teens come home with – the response of immature authorities in and around their lives – the adult bullies. I want to get mad but then I remember myself. If not for the work I GET to do daily I would not be different. Healing is a choice and an action that one must actively choose to step into! Most of us live blind, thinking this is as good as it will get but that is not true. God promises a life of abundance and abundance is found in the MORE, in the unfamiliar, in stepping out of what is comfortable, default behaviors into new ways of interacting and showing up. We must chase after our healing and freedom!
I have been chasing it for 16 years and it works!!!
My children love me! They want me around. When my almost 30 year old comes home she follows me around like a little duckling just wanting to be with me, my almost 27 year old texts me every Valentine’s morning to remind me that I will always be his 1st Valentine, my almost 20 year old calls and asks to come home and go to lunch talk through her struggles, my, working to be free and independent, almost 18 year old is learning to trust me in the daily and find her words to express herself, and my almost 16 year old snuggles in bed with me still sometimes when she needs a little extra. I am the luckiest mom on the planet. Their forgiveness still continues to heal my heart and my transparency and humility heals theirs.
So mommas, daddies, don’t be afraid of your past and all the mistakes you may have made along the way – your children are amazingly resilient and they want to love you! Give them the chance to do so by doing the hard work of healing! It is a legacy you will never regret leaving behind.
When I watch my almost 30 year old parent her almost 2 year old with patience, tenderness and so so much love I am awed at how sweet parenting can be. For a second I want to dance around regret and the pain of it all but instead I draw myself back to the moment, forgive my younger, bully self for not knowing how to or doing it better, and choose to live grateful for all the hard work I have done to repair my relationship with my own daughter and enjoy the sweetness of her with her own baby. Healthy momma, healthy baby. Her baby, my baby! We are all healthy because I chose the hard work of healing even if it felt like it was too late for her! She was 14 years old when I started inner healing work and definitely out of my house before any of the fruit took root in my life, but take heart mommas, it is never too late!
Your healing work TODAY always impacts your children no matter how old! Healing transcends age and time. It is the magic of God, He really did think of everything and wants all THE MORE for you and yours!
It’s never too late!!