The Words We Use

An Invisible Weapon

As a child I remember hearing the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

The problem is, words can hurt.

They can leave scars no one can see.

Unlike sticks and stones, the damage done won’t leave visible bruising to the body; Neighbors, friends, family, and teachers won’t see the injuries.

That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there.

It doesn’t mean the wounds aren’t real.

Words are the invisible weapon that can do lifelong damage and never heal.

It is not what goes into the mouth the defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. –Matthew 15:11

I’m Going to Be Real With You

My children have these unseen injuries, and I’m the one who caused them.

How’s that for real?

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I can try to rationalize the circumstances when I used words as weapons against the little people God has entrusted me with; it won’t make a bit of difference.

The fact is, I made HUGE mistakes.

I spoke in anger and frustration instead of love and respect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

My tone caused as much damage (if not more) than the words I used. Maybe I could pat myself on the back and say, “Well, I’ve never called them names.” That means nothing when I know I’ve bruised and battered them with words of indifference.

Instead of praising them for their imaginations and efforts, I’ve asked, “Why would you do that?” Instead of saying, “Thank you for trying to help”; it’s been, “Look what you’ve done.”

These words have hurt them time and time again.

Realizing this now, tears at my heart. I’m bleeding from each of the wounds I caused my children.

The Words We Use--wellofaith.com

I swore I would never treat my children the way my siblings and I were treated when we were growing up. I swore my kids would never have a reason to question whether they are loved.

Yet, here I am.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perversness in it breaks the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4

When my children acted out, I wondered what was causing them to misbehave. I never stopped to consider it could have been my actions and reactions leading to their outbursts. That my words, said in frustration, anger, or disinterest, might have led them to lash out in search of some sort of control.

This family the LORD has blessed me with deserves more than that.

I Can Change

My children will not grow up questioning my love, or remembering only the harshly spoken words.

I will not be the reason their self-esteem suffers, or they turn away from God and family. I will not push them away with my own actions.

Our Heavenly Father knows my sins. He knows my heart, and my weaknesses. He trusted me to raise these children, and I will do my best, and when I stumble I’ll turn to Him.

I will control my words–both the words themselves, and the tone of my voice. I will focus on praise; on building up my children into strong, mature, loving, adults. I will do my best to let them spread their wings, to make mistakes, to be helpful, to explore life, and be the people God created them to be.

Most of All, I Will Pray

I’ll pray for guidance.

For patience.

For understanding.

I’ll pray for a kind tone and a joyful spirit.

I’ll pray for a million questions from my three-year old, so that I may show him through actions and words that he matters.

I’ll pray for my daughter to try new things–even when they involve me sitting back and ignoring the mess, because I want her to see as well as hear how proud I am of her, and how much I believe in her.

Finally, I’ll pray for each and every one of you who have faced these same problems. Those who have hurt their friends, families, and loved-ones with weapons so powerful they can damage people indefinitely.

Heavenly Father, 

I pray today that you help each of us control our tongues. That we may build one another up in this world. That we use our words to soothe and encourage, not to draw blood. Give us pause when we speak, that our children will not be a casualty of our sinful ways. 

Amen.

 

If you feel led, please share this post so it may remind others they’re not alone in their struggles with the words we use.

 

Blessings,

Sare Signature

 

 

 

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Walking in the Desert with Jesus

Reading about Jesus' time spent in the desert, and how without fail He stood up to Satan and his promises of glory and power, has made me even more grateful to be a daughter living in the New Testament Times.

Our LORD, Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert. Something some might think He didn’t need to do. For instance, if I were to walk a mile in His sandals, and I knew I only had a few years to get my work done, I’m not sure I would have taken the time to go out into the desert alone. I would most likely have been trying to find all the right people to make things happen. I’d be out there putting up “Help Wanted” fliers, and searching out my Disciples–possibly eating as many chocolate cookies and cakes dipped in chocolate, and served with a side of chocolate, as I possibly could.

This of course, is just one of an unimaginable number of reasons why Jesus is Jesus, and I’m just a daughter trying to live my life in a way that would be worthy of His grace.

He went out into that desert because he was “led by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1). It didn’t matter that He was on a time crunch, or that He already knew what His future held. He followed the Spirit, straight into 40 days and nights of hunger, only to be met on the other side by the slick serpent, Satan (now you try saying that ten times fast).

Reading about Jesus’ time spent in the desert, and how without fail He stood up to Satan and his promises of glory and power, has made me even more grateful to be a daughter living in the New Testament Times.

I’ve been doing some thinking on this, especially after Pastor R asked if anyone had been led to the desert, and what happened from it. At the time, I didn’t really have an answer. Especially since, I have never gone a week without food, never mind five weeks (and yes, I’ve got a tendency to be a little too literal. Something God is helping me with). I’ve realized though, that I do have an answer. Several, actually.

Being new to this walk, I don’t always see the proverbial forest for the trees. I don’t always see what is right in front of me. Not until much later, when, while doing what must be my 4,000th weighted elevator squat, the answer smacks me between the eyes.

Before my little family moved back to the PNW, we lived in a tiny little town in the high desert of Southern California. This place was often referred to as Satan’s Arm Pit. Not to be confused with Satan’s Butthole, Death Valley. This town was desolate, dirty, and lonely. The buildings were run down and the locals were mostly consumed by their need for Meth or whatever other drug they could put into their already ravaged bodies.

The four years we spent in that particular desert, were what I credit as my saving grace. They were my time of fasting. We had been placed there for a reason. I hadn’t heard the actual command to go there. I hadn’t even realized we were being led there. We went because that is where the Marine Corps sent us.

It was while we were there I realized something was missing from my life. There was a huge gaping abyss inside me that nothing seemed to be filling. I was thirsty, but I didn’t know for what. The day we found out we were heading back to the place I’d run from nine years ago (hello, liquid sunshine and evergreen trees), was the day a light went on inside my heart. That thing I was missing. That thing that would fill the black void inside me. It wasn’t a thing. It was a greatness, a joy, a forgiveness. It was God.

Obviously, I hadn’t been listening. God had sent my husband and I into a real desert, because I’m incredibly good a denial and God must have realized a figurative desert wasn’t going to be enough. I’d been blocking all His little nudges, all His taps on my shoulder. He needed me in that desert so that the blinders would fall off. It was that desert that led me to this path.

So yes, I’ve been in a desert. I walked that desert and came out the other side. I’m stronger for it, just like Jesus was.

We’ve all got our personal deserts to go through, just remember while you’re walking along those scorching dunes of sand, you’re not alone. You’ve been led there, and God would never leave you alone to navigate alone.

Blessings and Love,

Sare

Listening to the LORD

I’m new to this whole prayer, Bible reading, and listening to what the LORD is saying to me. Often times (okay, pretty much all the time) I feel like I’m never going to get it. I feel His presence in my heart, like the sun warming my skin after the cold, but I don’t ever really ‘get’ what he’s saying.

I’ve prayed about this daily, and it’ll probably remain in my prayers for years to come, because I really do want to understand the words being spoken to my heart. I need to understand where I’m supposed to go, the lessons I’m supposed to learn, and the life I’m supposed to live.

Mostly, I feel like I need an interpreter.

Does anyone know of a “Voice of God” interpreter I could make use of?

Recently, while reading my daily selection for the Bible in a year reading plan I’m on, my Bible had a study guide for “Hearing the Lord”.

Excellent.

I was overjoyed and ecstatic the LORD had visibly shown me a sign. For the first time, I think I ‘heard’ Him. I’m of course, making use of the verses listed within that study, which leads to more praying, and more listening, so I have hope that one day all those warm rays of light hitting my heart will make sense to me.

Until then, I guess I’ll just enjoy the peace my time with God brings me each day, and keep looking for an interpreter.

Blessings,

Sare

Building Character One Tooth at a Time

My son is eight months old, and is cutting teeth. Of course, like with everything my son does, he can’t do it part way. He isn’t interested in cutting just one tooth, but four. He is working on having eight teeth inside his once gummy little mouth. Some times, this isn’t bad, but there are times when those tiny little teeth get the best of him (and me).

This morning, Boy Wonder woke up just shy of the 2 AM mark. A time not meant for anyone to be up. Even after a bottle, diaper change, and snuggles he couldn’t be comforted and would melt down in volcanic proportions. These things always seem to happen when my husband is away from home. He hasn’t ever experienced the all night wake ups with our children. That is an experience they’ve saved just for me.

So, there we were snuggled in my bed, him giggling and kicking his legs at the cat– who was inching her way to the pillows–and me humming (possibly whimpering) softly to him in the hope he would show signs of sleepiness, when it hit me.

I am truly blessed.

Before I started this journey, I wouldn’t have felt this way in the wee hours of the morning. I would have felt irritation, frustration, and sleepiness. Not blessed. It’s amazing how things have changed.

 

Yes, I would have loved to have slept through the entire night like we usually do, but in that moment the only thing important was the tiny little person God had entrusted to my care. This was reiterated this morning when after barely three hours of sleep, my little man once again became inconsolable. With a lack of sleep and a migraine, having already finished my volunteering in my daughter’s classroom, I came home to a little boy who couldn’t understand the pain he was in.

After much snuggling, the demise of my favorite necklace at the hands of an unhappy boy, and many meaningless sounds of comfort, my son once again found his happy. While we were curled together on the futon, the cries turned to giggles and a tiny smile formed. In these moments I knew, without a doubt, this is what life is about. Being with my child while he is miserable, to experience that one moment of joy when the pain lessens and he can once again smile. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleep in the world.

I am blessed, because the LORD sees something in me that I don’t often see in myself. He sees comfort from the pain of teething, and a love that is unconditional.

Blessings,

Sare

Parenting with the LORD

Honestly, the title of this post should have been “Trying Really Hard to Parent the Way God Would Want, but Failing Miserably Every Step of the Way”.

Unfortunately, that title was a little too long, and didn’t really set the positive tone I’m trying to make a daily part of my life.

There are many days (probably six out of seven days, recently) when I wonder just what it was God was thinking when He blessed me with children. Patience? Tolerance? Joy? Or is He trying to show me exactly what I put my own mother through?

When my daughter was younger, I knew I was blessed. Without a doubt. All of my friends children were loud, rambunctious, and spent several years in the terrible twos. Often I would hear stories of PB and J sandwiches being placed inside the DVD tray, or the freshly poured bowl of cereal being dumped onto the keyboard. (YIKES!)

My daughter was curious, independent, and knew her mind, but never once did she do anything that could fit into the category of ‘terrible’. She never destroyed anything, never drew on the walls, and I didn’t have to worry about her running off. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m so glad MY daughter isn’t like that.”

Like so many young Mothers I took credit for the amazing gift the LORD had intrusted to my care. I just knew her lack of behavior issues was my doing, because I was just that good of a mom.

Oh how wrong I was.

That perfect little girl is six now, and there isn’t a single day that I don’t want to pull my hair out. No, she never stuck PB and J sandwiches into the DVD player, or poured cereal onto my keyboard, but while missing out on those exciting experiences, the LORD has blessed me with a child that still knows her own mind. Even when that mind is contradictory to what I expect from her.

Instead of PB and J sandwiches, I’ve experienced the “Battle of the Jeans”, because little girls don’t wear jeans–or so my daughter told me over and over again whenever I tried to get her to wear them.

I’ve become well versed in the “Momma, look at the nice stranger can he come home with us?” story. But, my personal favorite is that somewhere between learning how to walk, and learning how to read, my perfect little girl got a not so perfect attitude. One complete with sassing, pouting, overly dramatic expressions of displeasure, and a belief that since I’m her mother, I don’t know anything.

Did I mention she is six, and not a teenager?

So, what is it the LORD is trying to teach me? How does He expect me to handle this precocious red-head mini-me?

I spent a lot of time yelling at her, and contemplating selling her to Gypsies. At a few really low points I would have been willing to give her to them for free.

Recently, though, things have changed. Not her attitude, but the way I’m (trying) to handle it.

Now when things aren’t going smoothly, I will give myself a mental time-out and pray. I ask the LORD for patience, for guidance, and for the right words to say. I ask Him for the right focus, and then, even though sometimes it is really, really hard, I thank Him.

I thank Him for blessing me with someone who knows her own mind, with someone who even with an attitude still has an amazing and loving heart. I thank Him for blessing me with someone who if I step back and listen will teach me amazing things.

Does this make her perfect? No. Does this make me a perfect mother? Not even close. I still feel like I’m failing most days, but I figure God knows what He is doing, even if I don’t. I just have to have Faith in His greater works and knowledge, and know that I’m not alone in this parenting thing. He’s with me every step of the way.

Great Blessings,

Sare