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When you finally get over trying to be perfect

 

“I don’t want to be a servant — I want to be a Caroline.”

So says the three year old wonder-child who humbles me as a parent and makes me think deeper about life.

I want to be a Caroline.

That’s confidence, isn’t it? And freedom?

I love that about my girl; she hasn’t learned yet to try and be anything but who she is.

She doesn’t know that one day she’ll feel the pressure to be good enough, to be holy enough, to be quiet enough, or wise enough or all the “enough’s” that fill our head and make us neurotic about who we are and how we should live.

The “enough’s” make me tired.

And I think they make a lot of us are real tired, because in all the enough’s we begin to lose ourselves in order to be something else…something better…something expected…so far from who we really are that when we fall apart, we just give up.

Because something has to give.

And we all fall apart.

We break. 

But here comes the upside, the so unbelievably bright side: when you are just done, and broken, and tired, you’ve made it.

You are now about to experience the most profound, amazing, life-altering, freedom and grace that will set you so free you are going to fly.

I mean it.

I mean it.

When you are broken enough and tired enough and angry enough that you just can’t mold yourself, fix yourself, do better, be better, when you are just done, grace is lavished on you like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

The world opens up and humility surrounds you and compassion overtakes you because you realize that life is just so hard and “everyone is facing a hard battle”, and instead of trying to be kind, you just become kind.

And you become grace to others.

Because that’s what the Spirit does in a broken beautiful one: He does the work, you just accept the molding.

You walk, one foot in the front of the other by the faith that gives you the hope you are already changed, perfect (Hebrews 10:14) according to heaven.

And when you realize how much you can’t change yourself, you can see others as broken beautiful ones as well who are just trying to make it through this hard life, and you just want to love them and nod your head at them and say, “I know, I know. And I love you just the same.”

Funny, what happens when you stop trying so hard to become what you already are in Christ; you begin to exhibit the things you were trying so hard to do. I’ll tell you why: it’s because you really get love, and you really get loving God and loving others, and you so deeply get grace. When the Law of loving slays you good, you can do nothing but love.

You still make messes and wound hearts and say stupid things, but you never stop loving and extending grace, because it’s all over you now.

And you don’t have to choose between being a servant or who you are —  because you are both, in one, in One.

So come on, my broken, beautiful sister, and let’s walk side-by-side, not checking to see who is ahead or behind, or who seems to have it together, or who seems to really not have it together at all.

Let’s stop looking around and look up, and walk forward, and trust the One who does the molding in us all.

SM

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My Care

This post originally appeared on A Holy Experience.

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He Lifts Out of Pits and Puts Us on the Rock

She broke me, but He found me, and so when she was broken, I could love her.

That’s the story.

That’s the story of what God does; redemption.

He lifts out of pits and He sets feet on the Rock that is steady always.

When I was broken, he held me.

When I tried to run, tried to bleed out, He didn’t leave. He knew. He knew I’d come back into the only arms that can really hold, really love, really stay true.

He loved me in the pit and He loves me now.

I don’t walk alone anymore.

The truth is, I never did.

But I didn’t know it. I do now.

He is the wooer, the holder, the healer, the redeemer.

He lifts out of pits.

He places on a Rock.

He puts a new song in our mouths.

We praise Him.

Because

He brought us through the fire and we know now we can trust Him.

The fire left its mark.

We are now light, and the world sees, and the world feels the warmth and the world draws close.

Because He’s attractive. He is incense to them. It burns through us.

And they cry out for Him.

And He lifts out of pits and places on the Rock.

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SM

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Respecting Our Children

They were outside playing and he said he didn’t want to get wet.

She doused him anyway.

My sweet, wonderful, full of fun helper doused the boy who didn’t want to get wet. She figured it was all fun.

And then he went missing. “Where is Caed?” I asked her.

“He came in before us” she replied.

Hmm.

Ah, he was hiding in his bedroom underneath his blanket. He was soaked and when I went to tickle him (thinking he was hiding for fun), he looked up at me with tear-wet eyes and said, “I didn’t want to get wet, and I told her that.”

My children love Miss A, and she loves them and never wants to hurt them or make them sad. She was just playing with them and having fun and had no idea the boy would be so upset. She is so humble and sweet and she went to the boy and said she was sorry. Of course he forgave her, and they went on as usual. But a lesson is learned.

Read the rest at (in)courage today!

SM

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To the Broken One

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You blew it. Or at least you think you did.

You’re so angry and you’ve been angry for so long you’re not even sure you know why anymore. But behind the anger, the rage, there’s the dull ache of too-long pain. In fact, right now the pain feels unbearable. You feel like you don’t want to stay but you don’t want to go; it’s all so confusing. What if everything comes crashing down? The walls you’ve built, the ones you thought would keep you safe, are about to be torn down without your say so. You should be in charge, but you’re not. And now you’re scared and you don’t know what it all means or where to turn and it hurts more than you ever thought it would.

What will they say?

What can I do?

Can I fix this mess?

Here is what I want to say to you, the broken one, the one who doesn’t even know how to climb out of the pain and anger and bitterness you’ve carried for far too long: I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry you’ve had to carry such a burden for so long. The weight of bitterness, of resentment, of regret, of anger, of a loveless marriage, of great loss, is too much for anyone to bear. Yes, you have reaped some of your own pain, but I see you. I see more than your pain or anger or meanness. I know you have a longing soul; I know there are soft places of your heart you keep tucked away. I understand. You’re not the only one.

It’s never too late to let the wall drop.

It’s never too late to say, “I’m sorry.”

It’s never too late to ask for help, to let people into the hidden pain.

It’s never too late to forgive.

You may not know it in your bones, but you are so deeply loved. It sounds trite, I know, or maybe patronizing, but once the truth gets into your soul it becomes the most profound thing, the most important thing of your life. This true love. And because of this love you have the invitation to have your broken heart bound up, healed, made new.

No matter what happens from here on out, you don’t have to be identified with your past or your pain or your failures; only God has the authority to tell you who you are. Have you asked Him? Have you cried out to God and said, “Who do you say that I am?”

Ask?

And you will receive.

You can be healed in those places of the soul that need healing. You can be made new. You can walk in freedom. You can be weak. It’s okay to be weak. Because when we are weak, God is strong in us. He will give us strength when we have none. You don’t have to be brave or tough. It’s okay to be scared out of your mind. You don’t have to walk alone. But if you want to be free and whole, you will need to surrender. Hands up. Willing.

Jesus will not leave you in the pit.

He hears your cry, and He will turn to you. He will lift you up and set you on solid ground. He will put a new song in your mouth. You will smile, and you will praise Him for what He has done: the impossible. And people will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

All is not lost, though some may be.

But you will make it if you bend your knees. Cry out to God who hears you. Please do. Please let the weak, vulnerable you have a shot because you matter and you are loved. So very loved.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Love to you,

SM

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Teaching Our Kids Self(ie) Control

Today’s post is by the ever-inspiring Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family. She has a new book out titled, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World and it’s Fantastic! Enjoy!

I only did it to get a like.

I read this on a t-shirt at Target the other day.

I guess it’s supposed to be cute, the only problem is, in many cases, it’s true.

Our kids are growing up in a selfie society with technology in their back pocket, on their wrists, and just about every room in the house.

Media and technology are amazing tools. But when our children are just a click away from scary and damaging stuff, we have to be proactive in allowing them access.

Anything else is just simply irresponsible.

I’ve talked to moms who have 4th grade sons addicted to pornography and middle school girls who are suicidal because of hateful instagram feeds. We need to know what our kids are looking at–not so we can control everything they see, but so we can empower them to look away when they need to.

Here are some of our technology restrictions:

We get final say in what social media accounts our kids have, and we get to be their “friends” or follow whatever they sign up for.

We can read our kids’ texts if they give us reason to.

We don’t allow FaceTime or other video chatting, chat rooms, etc.

We won’t let our kids interact online with people they don’t know, whether it’s gaming or followers on Instagram we don’t know. Privacy settings on our accounts help control this.

We don’t allow apps to be deleted, so we can monitor what’s being downloaded.

We reserve the right to ask our kids to put their phones or media away at any time. After all, they are our phones that we are letting them use. I love what blog reader Kim Adam said: “I pay for it and that makes it MY phone. I am the parent and I will say when and where they can have it.”

We require our kids to pay part of a bill if it is associated with technology.

We don’t allow devices at the dinner table. And please, don’t walk and text.

Ultimately, it is ours and we are letting our child use it. We can and will take technology away if we need to.

We have a no-media day every week. When we first announced this several years ago, I wish I’d videotaped the response. At the time, it wasn’t funny. My kids flipped out—which proved the need for creating media-free hours. It took time and consistency, but they got used to it.

As far as social media and our kids go, we carefully consider each “new thing.” The problem I see with social media is that it creates an alternative world that offers an inflated view. We can easily distort reality and show only the edited or filtered parts of our lives. I’ve certainly succumbed to unhappiness after a hop into Facebook, so I get it. I’m a middle-aged woman who feels the pressure, and considering that kids are more impressionable and naïve than adults is exactly why we need to be careful and involved.

I have mostly been really proud of my kids’ choices, but they are human and we aren’t done raising them. I know they will make mistakes and learn from them. We’ve discovered many teachable moments by getting involved in what they are seeing or saying on the Internet.

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Here are 10 Technology Guidelines to Teach Our Kids:

  1. Nothing is ever really private. Statuses and pictures can be shared and altered.
  2. Or permanently deleted. Everything is traceable. I read something really disturbing on Facebook the other day from an old friend, and when I went back to show my husband because I was alarmed, it had been deleted. But it definitely wasn’t forgotten.
  3. Some things are better said face-to-face (like apologies or confrontations). Social media makes it easier for us to be cowardly. We need to teach our kids the value of looking someone in the eye and making things right. Sure, it’s harder, but they won’t forget it.
  4. Remember there are real people with feelings behind every avatar. Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh words. And sometimes I just want to remind the offenders that I’m a real person. I think it’s good to teach our kids that our (online) words can hurt.
  5. It’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, but kindness always wins. “If you are not kind on the Internet, then you’re not kind.” —Glennon Melton. It’s as simple as that.
  6. Don’t let negative comments to your pictures, statuses, or no likes at all change how you feel about yourself. This one is especially important to teach our girls. There’s this whole secret online code between mean girls, and we have to remind our daughters that who they are doesn’t change because of how people see them.
  7. It’s easier to attain a bad online reputation than a good one—so watch what you say. We’ve all probably done something online that we regretted. Our words follow us.
  8. Avoid drama. We all read and see things we don’t agree with, and I want my kids to use self-control and click off that page.
  9. Don’t ever mention your location. Predators don’t lure kids at the school bus nearly as much as they do online. Our children need to know the dangers of over sharing.
  10. Take a day of rest from social media. Recently, I asked my teen to take a break from social media. She wasn’t in trouble or doing anything wrong. I just noticed she was isolating herself and thought it would be healthy for her to take a couple of days off. Later, she thanked me.

Available Now

-excerpt from Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead To Life’s Ultimate Yes

Kristen Welch blogs at wearethatfamily.com where she shares about parenting, marriage and inspirational encouragement. Her family founded Mercy House, a non-profit that empowers impoverished and oppressed women around the world. Kristen is an author and her newest book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is now available!

There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.

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