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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll be honest, painfully honest.   I have a history of shutting people down with my fast responses. 

Twenty years ago I sat across the table from a friend as she shared some marriage challenges.  Instead of being compassionate, understanding or allowing her to get it out, I was quick to offer her what I thought was the biblical response.

It pretty much shut her down. 

The conversation ended awkwardly and I felt horrible.  From that point on, I vowed to listen more than speak, and reserve my opinions for the right time.  Which meant seeking God's will, rather than feeding my own "need" to be heard.

God worked in me and I've seen amazing changes in myself.  Then I became a parent of teenagers. It was like some crazy "freak out" gene flared to life.  Instead of practicing what I learned many years before, I let my opinionated inner self reign!

And pretty much shut down my kids.

I'll admit most of it was fear driven.  If they even hinted curiosity at anything that fell outside my moral perimeters, they were "treated" to my arsenal of opinions and beliefs.  I justified my reactions by saying I was teaching my children right from wrong.  But I was really closing doors to communication.

A few years ago, I put myself back in school, and started to retrain myself to not react quickly.

Yesterday, something happened that showed my change in reaction is paying off.  My middle son asked me a very loaded question.

"Mom, would it be wrong to use a drug that is legal but had the same affect as an illegal drug?"

Pause.  Silence.  I'm collecting myself.  Breathe.  Breathe.

Now all you mommas out there are probably thinking exactly what I was thinking. "WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THAT???  DO YOU WANT TO USE AN ILLEGAL DRUG?"

But this son didn't deserve my paranoid response.  He's never given me reason to question his integrity.  He deserved a calm answer from a mom who trusted him.  

So I gave him a simple answer to a complex question.  No lecture. No interrogation.  No fear-based response.  And the day went on. 

It's my prayer that he'll trust my response next time he has a hard question.  I've blown it so many times, I'm thanking God for a glimmer of hope. 

In His Love,


Anonymous said...

Wow! I need to practice this also. I have always been the overbearing and opinionated self and have shut people down too. I have gotten better with age but I too have teenagers and find myself doing the same as you. I pray that God helps me to listen more and speak less. Thanks for sharing! You always seem to know what I need to hear. I guess that's God working through you!

Anonymous said...

Would love to know what your response was to that difficult question!

Debra said...

If I may ask how did you answer him? Very nice writing. Also did you use regular cabbage in the pork recipe?
Thank You.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

I told my son the reason most drugs are illegal is the effect they have on a person, and that they are highly addictive. So even if a drug was legal, but had the same effect, it would be just as dangerous.

We also talked about how one addiction leads to another in a constant search for the next high.

I'm trusting God gave me the words my son needed to hear. I'm daily in need of His wisdom!

Kristen said...


Once again, you have really nailed it for me today. Often times my mouth gets in the way of what my heart really should have said. Thanks for your humility and your honesty!

Mary said...

This came at the right time for me. Thank you!

S. Kim Henson said...

I can soooo relate to your story. When our kids were teens, my husband and friends would look at me as if I'd been taken over by an alien when I had calm conversations about tough topics. They had seen lesser issues bring on major hissy fits.

Thankfully, I had an older friend who reminded me God cared more about my kids than I did and He'd watch over them. She'd say, "Pray, do your part and then let go." And another who would tell me, "You can love 'em into Heaven or preach 'em into hell."