No one told me when I was a little girl how deeply love would invade my world. No one told me that love could be so fierce, capturing my heart with a first breath. As that first cry escaped their lungs my heart was catapulted into love.
Every fiber of my being wanted to love my babies well. Would it be enough to hold them close, whispering the “I love you’s” as my lips brushed their tiny cheeks? As I kissed their boo-boo’s would they know? As I held them tight would they feel my love? Could any of this be enough to reveal what was implanted in my being?
Many years have now passed, never to be captured again. Broken people raise broken people. I am one of them. I could easily allow myself to wallow in the regrets of the days gone by and give up, yet I can’t. For it negates the power of the One who says He takes the years the locusts have eaten and restores them. I put my weight into believing He will right all the wrongs my actions have done. I think of Jesus’ words, “forgive them Lord, they didn’t know what they were doing.” They are true of me.
I got swallowed up in lies about who I was. I became a striver working hard to make life as perfect as could be. I focused on modifying behavior, sin management at it’s finest. It’s all I knew. I was told it was the key to godly living. I shudder at the thought of it even now as I remember. I left my children wondering if they would ever be good enough to be loved. I failed my own.
Shame does that sort of thing. It takes things and twists them all up in your mind causing you to react and respond in ways that hurt those you love the most. I wore shame like a covering, projecting it onto my children. I had no idea that my shattered life would weave faulty messages into the fabric of theirs. It is one of the great regrets of my life. It’s one of those things I wish I had known.
But as they say, it’s never too late. Until I am in the grave it is never too late.
I’ve thought about it some today. I’ve thought about it a lot since I saw the movie “The Help.” Watching Abileen say to Mae Mobley every day, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” hit a spot in me. I wish I had done that with my children. I wish I had been focused more on who they were than what they did.
Instead of them knowing how crazy I was about them, they were left thinking that nothing they did could please me. As He has healed me, He is allowing me to help heal my loves. God is bringing me back full circle these days. Today, I sit to consider.
What if time was erased? What if all of a sudden we were back at the beginning of their lives? What if I could start afresh loving them in the healing ways of my heart that I now know. What would I tell them?
“I am pleased with you because you are mine.” “It pleases me when you know that I love you, just because.” “I want you to know that it is OK to make mistakes, you will be loved regardless.” “I am pleased when you know you are safe, with me.” “I am pleased when you let me love you as I do.” “You matter to me.” “More than anything else on this earth you matter to me.” “My pleasure is not linked with your behavior.” “Your behavior is not the barometer that tells me who you are, you are my child, bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” “You are my treasure, my love.” “I will never, ever be disappointed in you.” “Your place in my heart is not based on what you do, it is because of who you are to me.” “There is only one you, no one can ever take your place, it is secure.” “When you fall down I will be there to help pick you up.” “You are mine and I am yours, forever.” “I love you to the moon and back.”
He is the God who restores what the locust have eaten. He is restoring me.
©copyrighted: 2011, Julie L. Todd