Monday, April 29, 2013

Sit Down and Shut Up

This morning, my 100 Days of Prayer Journal prompt was: What do you say to yourself about faith. Ask God to reveal what you need to be saying. Over the past week, I had to confront some long-buried issues from my childhood. I didn't want to deal with them. And, I still don't want to. Almost 100% of the time, I think that talking about things is the best way to deal with them, but in this particular instance: I don't want to talk about it.

Delving into the past did make me think about a lot of other stuff, like the fact that I'm glad my kids aren't going to have to deal with the resurfacing of awful crap from their childhoods. I'm not a perfect mother. My family is not perfect, but it isn't a nightmare. And I don't worry that some day my kids will wake up and question every person in their lives. I don't worry that someday they will wake up and feel as if their whole childhood was a sham.

My family of origin had a lot of laughs, but it also harbored a lot of secrets. Secrets that we didn't even admit to ourselves. Secrets that are buried with two of my brothers and my dad. Secrets that destroyed some of us and really screwed up others. Secrets that "aren't nice" to talk about as my mother would say. And some that are too awful even to remember. But if you peered through the windows of our glass house, the Swans looked fine. Looks can be deceiving.

I wanted what any child wants: to be accepted, loved, and cherished, but mostly I was criticized, belittled, and beaten. I never felt good enough. I sought acceptance anywhere I could find it--with friends, with alcohol, with boys...mostly with boys. Fortunately, God sent me the perfect boy when I was pretty young. One who would tell me nearly 25 years later, "I feel like you were mine before I even knew you." Swoon. The boy who wishes he could have protected me from everything--even my own family. The boy who walked with me and held my heart and my hand while we made the family of my dreams.

I'm off topic. Sorta. Back to my kids. They are amazing. I tell them all the time how proud I am of them. I'm not perfect. Sometimes, I yell. Sometimes, I swear. A lot of times, I'm impatient and nit-picky and neurotic. I apologize...a LOT. I always stick up for my kids when other people--people who should tell them how great they are--don't. I tell those people how great my kids are even though they don't care or they would see it themselves. I seek validation because I never got it from the people who mattered. There's the revelation: I sought approval from everyone because I never got it from my parents. My kids don't seek approval from anyone because they got it from us.

Wow. Make sure you're sitting down the next time you ask God to reveal something to you.

I read a million books trying to figure stuff out, but all I needed was God. Not the God of my childhood, who scared me. The God I found at MY church. I spent 39 years trying to do it myself, and in one short year, God completely changed my life. I never have to live another day seeking approval, because in Him, I am accepted, loved, and cherished. In Him, I am good enough. When people tell me they don't believe in God, I don't judge them. I pray for them. I pray that everyone's heart would feel as full as mine does now.

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