I sat in a hotel room in Nashville lamenting the previous six weeks to one that was much wiser than I. My grandmother had died, my man had changed jobs and my daughter had gone completely rogue…all in the course of about ten days. This was the fall that fell.
You’ve got to find a way through this. Your daughter needs you right now. You have to see past your own hurt and anger. I know it’s hard but she needs you to love her.
Surely she didn’t hear what I had said. Love her? After the stunt she was pulling? Are you kidding me!
Fast forward several weeks and many arguments, groundings, things taken away and tears. I asked an acquaintance of mine who was a former addict but was now in social work what her mom had done during her most difficult days. Her answer? She loved me through it. Even on my ugliest of days my mom saw in me what I could not and she showed me by loving me.
Did I listen? No. How could I? I was so very angry. My heels were dug in. She WOULD listen to me OR ELSE! Loving her was the last thing I wanted to do.
Two more times from two different people came the advice to love her.
Sometimes the very thing you refuse to do is the exact thing God will ask of you.
We were having another shouting match. I followed her to the bathroom (the bathroom for Pete’s sake!) and was screaming (not for the first time), Your behavior is bullshit! You are tearing this family apart!
(I’ve never pretended to be a “shiny” Christian on here, only real. I wish my real was prettier and wrapped with a big bow but this was my reality for many months.) Until….
My daughter turned on a dime, looked me square in the face and said, You are being exactly like the very people you are trying to protect me from. You are no different.
If words could leave a handprint, surely I would have had marks across my face. The truth to her words shocked me to silence. She was absolutely right. I had become a venom vomiting, maniacal mom who was bitter not brave, hateful from hurt not helpful, unforgiving, unloving, angry and afraid.
Was she rebelling? Yes. But this isn’t about her. It’s about my response to her….which completely sucked.
Dr. Luke shared these words of Jesus, The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NIV bold is mine)
My mouth was pumping out what was in my heart which was full of anger, hurt, bitterness and fear and was a reflection of the words I spoke (screamed.)
Grace could not be heard over the volume of my voice and the wound of my words.
We both retreated to our rooms that night and I knew what I had to do. The next morning after she left for school, I went into her room, got down on my knees like I had done so many times during this storm but instead of praying for her to change, I confessed….
I poured out my anger, bitterness, fear and hurt. I confided in my Father my inability to see the girl he gave me through the fog of fear, the inability to love her like I should because of my own anger and hurt. But that I knew he could love her through me and I was willing for him to do that. I asked him to change me, to create in me a clean heart.
I got up off my knees that day with a peace like I’d not known for many weeks. My situation was no different but I was. (You can read more about that day here… https://kimwrights.com/2016/10/06/saving-face-or-amazing-grace/ )
Things slowly began to change between us. She began to confide in me more and I began to be able to see her with compassion and love once again. I could see that she was hurting and confused. I don’t want this to sound prettier than it was. It took a lot of conversations, counseling and God interventions to heal but heal we have.
Paul says in 1Corinthians 13:13, But for right now…we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (The Message)
I can have all the faith and hope in the world but if I can’t love someone who’s actions are unlovable, what’s the point?
The Message says it this way, If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. (1Corinthians 13:2)
In other words I can teach a Bible study, attend church, listen to Christian music, be faith full but if I can’t love my neighbor who may be different than me, believe different than me, act different than me, look different than me…What. Is. The. Point?
Why share this now? I can’t help but look around and see the venomous vitriol being spewed from every single direction. Name calling, hurtful words, anger, hatred. I get it. I really do. You want more than anything for people to listen. You want them to see your side of things. So you speak louder. But learn from my experience: screaming that someone’s behavior is bull crap or following them around (literally or via the internet) roaring your opinion does not change anyone.
Only love does that.
Love allows for grace to be given and truth to be spoken. Love allows for safe places and soft landings even when we don’t always agree. Love allows for difficult conversations and differences of opinions. Love allows for change to happen. It’s the greatest of these.
And it starts with me.
Fiercely for you!