Thursday, August 27, 2015

Weigh Your Words

So, I'm out in my garden trying to prune back the leaves that were decimated by the surprise frost we had the other night and I can't get this out of my head.

I've been wanting to write something feel-good for a while now.
       *Spoiler alert* This isn't it.

My heart hurts.

I don't even know how to actually say this...

Maybe this will work:

Weigh your words. 

Can we all try to be a little more careful and selective with what comes out of our mouths and especially how we say things?

I'm 31. And, I'm married. And, I'm a mom... a mom to little littles.
And it's hard.

I wish I was a more confident person. But, I second-guess myself and my decisions.

Am I feeding the kids right? Do they need to go up a size in clothes/shoes? Should we buy *fill-in-the-blank* or *fill in the other blank* on our tight budget this month? Did I discipline appropriately for that scenario? Should she still be taking an afternoon nap? Is it better to start a family devotion and never finish or should we just not start at all so we don't teach our kids that its ok if you don't follow through? Is the food coloring in that cupcake going to give my kid ADHD? Do they need a sweatshirt today? Do we vaccinate? Not vaccinate? Stagger/delay vaccinations? Should we sacrifice our dreams to make sure our kids are growing up closer to family? How much juice is too much juice? Should I homeschool again or send him to the public school? Is it selfish to take some "me time"? Did I treat that rash with the right stuff? And, it goes on and on and on...!

And, the craziest part isn't how many things I can question every single day.
The craziest thing isn't even that no matter what I choose, somebody is going to disagree. I've come to terms with this truth.
Hands down, the craziest thing is that when someone inevitably disagrees with our choices, they are going to feel that their opinion matters so much and is SO RIGHT that they need to tell me about it with ridiculously bold language that leaves no doubt that if I still choose the opposite of what they say,  I am obviously the WORST mother in the entire universe and I'm ruining my kids for life.

Dramatic? Yup.

Does that really happen? Yup.

I know this is cliche, but, you guys, I'M OVER IT.

I cannot believe how often I have conversations with girlfriends of mine who are in this very challenging stage of life with littles at home who tell me that someone has reprimanded them for a decision they made.

No decision I have ever made regarding my children (or anything else for that matter) has been 100%, unanimously, completely agreed with and approved by every single person on this planet. I'm going to disappoint someone.

It's fine if you disagree with my choices, but please, watch your language. I mean, I have had STRANGERS tell me that I'm "handing my kids over to the devil" and that I'm "obviously not a Christian" and a "total hypocrite" based on something I put on Facebook once.

They don't know me. They don't know that the decision they were tearing apart was prayed over, counsel was sought from people we trust, scripture was researched, and it was not made lightly. But, sure, go ahead and destroy everything about me even though we've never met. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7

Those harsh words - that is the devil's work. he is a master of slander. he wants me to second-guess everything. he wants me to believe I'm failing my husband, my kids, my God. he is the master of lies and manipulation and guilt and fear. he wants me to be so paralyzed that I never make decisions and step out in faith.

STOP HELPING him tear young mothers down.

We all second-guess ourselves enough. We don't need others to help us feel like failures! Stop confirming the lies we're being told that we are raising our kids wrong or failing at being moms!

Weigh your words. 

Is it really necessary to say it?

If you are that concerned, get in my life. Talk to me with kindness. Find out my motives FIRST before you judge. If you truly have a concern about something I'm doing with my kid, ask a question. Find out why I did it before you tell me how to fix something I don't think is broken.

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires." -James 1:19-20

I am willing to listen to people in my life. If someone who knows me has a concern, I am able to hear it. But, if you don't know the full story, how can you have such a strong opinion on it?

And, don't you know that God is bigger than that? He can and will redeem situations that I screw up. He will be victorious through my failings.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6

Trust Him with me. Trust Him to make up for my lacking. Trust Him to fill in the gaps I leave in my kids. I do. I have to. I have to trust that if I am doing what I believe He wants me to and I still screw up, that He is going to answer my prayer that He'll redeem it and fix it anyway.

Then, if you still think I'm wrong, pray for me. Trust Him to correct me. He corrects me gently. He corrects with kindness and love. He corrects and teaches with my best interests at heart.

I'm just so heartbroken by how many of my friends feel just devastated by random people who claim to have "good intentions" but seem to have nothing but harsh words.

It's hard enough to be a young mom these days. Why be so critical and hurtful? Why be so judgmental? Why be so disapproving without offering some kindness, help, encouragement?

Choose kindness. 

I say that to my five year old at least once a day and now I'm saying to all of you grown-ups reading this.

Choose kindness.

In your words, your thoughts, your actions.

Weigh your words.
Choose kindness.

Err on the side of kindness.
Be too kind. Be too forgiving. Be too gracious.


"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." -Galatians 6:10

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." -Ephesians 4:29-32