This post goes in the mom journals. Lord give me the words to express this in a way that best encompasses who we are and not what we do. Having a family changes everything. Living through health problems puts life in perspective. I am going along with a bit of a theme right now as I have posted on personal boundaries, being grateful for my life, and now this… the peace-making. Making peace is not always peaceful. Confrontation, severed ties, and painful bandages hiding real problems must be ripped off. Here is how we handle these things together as a family. Also, check out my journal on the right… my new hobby… art journaling:)
We moved to Missouri over a year ago in order to be together. A family member reminded me on the phone the other night just why we moved here. She wrongly guessed it was for more money or a lower mortgage. Actually, we pay the same in housing expenses only now we own instead of rent. And money-schmoney… we’re one of those rare breeds that could care less. We moved to be together. We would have spent money to move here if it meant being together more. Before moving my husband had worked almost 2 hours away. That’s four hours of driving each way. We missed him. We missed family dinners. When we moved we got our family back. It takes to work on being a close knit family.
The move has paid off in ways I didn’t think about. My sons, of which I have three, have grown to see our family unit as impenetrable. Earlier this year, my oldest went over to another family’s home. While there he was asked, “Isn’t this better than being at your house?” He told me he didn’t know what to say. He didn’t want to lie, but he also didn’t want to hurt this host’s feelings. So he said yes. As soon as he came home he shared with me everything that he felt conflicted about as that was not the only strange thing that happened to him. We prayed and talked through it and decided that he wouldn’t go over this family’s home anymore without me or Dad with him. He really liked that and I was thrilled that my kid felt comfortable enough to talk to me about his feelings.
A touchy subject that I am only recently learning is in the area of forgiveness. When to forgive? Always. When to forget? Sometimes immediately and sometimes never. The world’s way is to pick and choose who to forgive… if I only forgave those who “deserve it” I couldn’t accept Christ’s forgiveness and in turn anyone else’s. No one deserves forgiveness, Christ is Forgiveness Himself. I have looked the most heinous crimes square in the face and forgiven every one of them. My husband and I recently had a large argument and we said some things and did some things that were not very , ahem, “Christian” of us. Should I forgive him? Damn skippy. He forgives me for all of my faults and everything done to him. I have forgiven people for waaaay worse… violent crimes that don’t even begin to hold a candle to me and hubby’s argument. I am not of this world. I don’t live by the world’s standards. If I did I would be angry and hold everyone I love accountable for their actions. Not a gracious or joyful way to live. It has become normal in today’s world to rationalize the big things when done by people we love and act as judge with the small things over those who are “undeserving.” I could tell you stories that would make your toes curl of those who have forgiven only to turn around and have their own faults held against them ten-fold. It’s the world’s way. It makes us want less and less of the world and the people who think that way.
As we seek to be rooted and grounded in the Lord, my kids know that it is a privilege for people to know them. Chris and I put up with a level of abuse up to a point. I use my guts as a thermometer. When I begin to defend my choices and suppress my anger more than I actually converse with a person, it’s time to re-evaluate whether or not our family has to out up with the stress. This year I got so sick from the stress of an unhealthy relationship that my eyelids began peeling from crying so much. The lying and manipulation that goes on in an abusive relationship or friendship made me physically sick. My kids would even notice and pick up on the lies and ask about them and I would have to cover for my “friend.” When my personal woman-to-woman talks began to get used against me I decided to forgive, but not forget. Still friends? Yup. Do I trust with anything, let alone a piece of my heart? Nope. And I would never divulge secrets as revenge.
A good friend of ours in Jacksonville, the leader of our homeschool group actually, shared with me that she had to cut ties with her own parents because her mother was causing so much stress in her family. Although it was extremely painful because her mother was a good person and was also her mother… the family finally had found peace and serenity and could homeschool and eat organically and live in a way that is consistent with their views. Without verbal abuse.
My kids have been bullied before. My son has bullied another before when he felt that he was being picked on. I know how he must have felt. That’s how I feel with other adults. I will not become defensive or a become a bully in response to emotional bullies. However I will step back. Being in my life is a privilege and not a right. I view my relationship with others that way and I value myself enough to know that I am worth kindness, or at the very least, no nastiness. I would rather be punched in the face every single day than to be manipulated and made to feel that if I speak up I will get my head bitten off. One time I stood up for my family and in return I was gossiped about and people who “loved” me dropped off the face of the earth. God only knows what this person must have told everyone. One more reason to stop associating with them. My kids know this is not acceptable behavior as well. Their kind hearts are worth more than abuse, whether it be verbal, emotional, or mental. When they tell me that they felt they couldn’t be themselves or that they weren’t “allowed” to be honest or be themselves, or if they get hurt by another child or very rarely an adult, we act as a single unit and prayerfully decide how to handle the situation.
I have been pretty serious about posting on boundaries lately. My thirties have brought about new insight into the Lord’s heart. I am standing strong for myself and for my family. And I have never felt better about it. It hurts, but you know, having people be nasty to me hurt a lot worse.
Have a good weekend guys.
All my Love,