It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

It was the first time it had ever happened to me. Let's just say I was driving a little too fast.

I always keep two hands on the cart, but yesterday I was in a rush. I had to get groceries, fix dinner, put it in the frig., plan for an 11:30 meeting, and make lunch for me and a friend all before 11:00 AM.

I rounded the corner, one hand on the cart and one hand on my list. Crunch!!! I could feel shocked eyes on me, but I didn't stop to look up or access the damage. I grabbed the cart with both hands and pulled it in reverse. I was in a hurry. I needed to locate a box of Ziti, preferably with the recipe for Baked Ziti listed on the back.

Bingo! I found it. I added a few more boxes to the cart (I couldn't resist, they were on sale...99 cents!), and motored off to the deli.

It wasn't until the wait in the checkout line that I stopped and thought about what had really taken place. I got the giggles. Then I panned the end aisle displays, What did I hit anyway? I knew it wasn't spaghetti sauce jars; that would have been I mess I couldn't have ignored. It wasn't the sports drinks either. I peered up at the aisle listing guides looking for the boxed pasta section. Then I spotted it. A large display of potato chips. There were no chips on the floor, so I decided to keep placing my groceries on the conveyor belt. But I had a new focus. I'm no idiot. I know when I've had a near miss.

The rest of the day I chose to remain in the present and not look ahead to the next thing on my "to do" list. It was difficult. But as I look back on it, it was worth the effort. I had warm sunshine on my face, memorable conversations with friends, and wonderful banter around my dinner table filled with six of my kids and my husband. My list didn't get completed, but I wouldn't have missed the things that weren't written on it for all the ziti in Italy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Convicted of the Mother Crime

Child Z had committed a mother crime. What's a mother crime? Well it's a crime I, Momma Carolyn, trained my child not to do.

I had talked about it. Warned about it. And yes, preached about it. "Don't do that. It will hurt you...and others."

I'm one of those parents. You know, the kind who read the how-to books, attend the parenting seminars, and listen to the radio commentaries. If I were a bird, I'd liken myself to an eagle with two centers of focus, the ability to see forward and side to side at the same time, and spot prey in the murky water from several hundred feet above. Yep, nothing was going to happen on my watch. No way! I had trained myself for the job. And I was going to do it well. (Are you ready to puke yet? :)

So when child Z committed the mother crime, I got mad...really mad. In fact, I stayed angry for days. And questioned, "How could, Z, do that? What was, Z, thinking? This wasn't suppose to happen." And finally, "Where did I go wrong?" Ouch! That thought hurt.

Time has passed since that particular mother crime, and with seven kids, many more mother crimes have been committed and will be. But as I reflect on my parenting today, after twenty-two years of on the job training, I think I've learned something, and I would like to confess my "mother crime".

For far too long I've been focused on teaching my kids how to make good choices and not on how to accept grace and mercy when they make a bad decisions. It's not about any of my children, A-Z, getting it right,... or making me look like mother of the year. It's about teaching them when they get it wrong, which they will,...if they're like their mother, that there is grace and mercy each and every time. I once heard a secular psychiatrist say that if he could convince people that they were forgiven for the things they have done, he would be out of a job. I don't want my children to be imprisoned by the bad choices they've made or will make, but free to embrace mercy and grace. And if I can focus on teaching them that, maybe I can help that psychiatrist move on to another job.

So today I convict myself of a "mother crime", but I will not sentence myself. Because just as God's word is full of guidelines for making good choices, it is also rich in the promise that His mercies are new EVERY morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just Do It!

"So Mom, how did you do it? How did you keep going?"

"I don't know, Carolyn." She shrugged.

I spent this last weekend with my mom. Saturday she turned 82 years old! A survivor of The Great Depression and World War II, she's always been my hero. My present to her this year, as in the past two years, was time. Time to sit and chat, eat and play, praise and worship, and sit and chat again. Together. No distractions. Priceless.

"Come on, Mom, I want a formula." I pressed. "How did you launch six children into this world and keep your balance? How did you watch them make mistakes, learn about life, the hard way, and still keep going without getting depressed?"

"I never had time for depression. I had to survive from the time I was two. If I started to feel blue, I would just slap myself on the face and say, 'Come on, Doris,' and keep going. I don't know...I just did it."

I smiled.

"And", she added, "I trusted God was working in their lives, and I prayed. And He answered, not always in the way I wanted, and many times far better than I imagined. But He always answered. And...I thought about all the ways the Lord has blessed, how He's blessed me."

And my gift of time to my mother became a timeless gift to me. Thanks, Mom, and Happy Birthday.
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