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.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rocking Around the Relationships

I could hear the frustration building in their conversation, two young mothers discussing Christmas gifts for their kids. The questions of how many presents, what kind of presents, and comments of Johnny wants this and Susie wants that, were bubbling forth like froth from freshly poured root beer. I wasn’t eavesdropping, I was just sitting in a rocker next to them soothing a colicky baby in the church nursery and remembering . . . remembering what it was like years ago when I had the same questions, the same overwhelming feeling, and the same stress. Still, I was trying to mind my own business—really.

Then one of them turned toward me, making it my business. “What do you do for your kids at Christmas?”

“Yeah,” the other mother said, “with your seven kids and all, do you do a Pollyanna exchange or something?” (She was still trying to wrap her mind around the size of my family. I could tell. This happens often.)

I smiled and thought, Yep, adding three more kids to our family two and a half years ago has put a strain on our budget, but it hasn’t come to that yet. “No,” I said, “my kids get three presents just like Jesus did. A wise friend shared that idea with me years ago. It’s helped me manage the Christmas stress throughout the years.”

“Wow, that’s a great idea!” the first mother said.

“Yeah!” the other agreed.

Then mother Number One got serious, leaned in, and nearly whispered, “But did your kids ever say anything? I mean . . . were they disappointed that that’s all they got?”

She wanted the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

“You know, I don’t remember any comments, but it’s a fair question. I think I’ll go home and ask my two children who are now young adults.”

It’s enlightening having honest conversations with adult children. Some things you want to hear, some things you don’t. Ah, but having a relationship with your kids—ROCKS! So I asked them, individually and privately, how they felt about receiving just three gifts at Christmas.

Here are their responses:

First Born, “It never really bothered me except one Christmas, when I was hanging out with my friends, and I heard about all the stuff Joe got. But you know, I really don’t think the three present “thing” has hurt me at all.” (He's a social worker. He thinks about the overall affect on a life in terms of permanent damage.)

Second Born, “Only during times when kids were comparing their stuff, but that’s not what Christmas is about. It’s about family. It’s about being together.” (He's our social one. If there's a party, he's there.)

We long as parents to give our kids an amazing moment each Christmas morning. Believe me, I get that. I still try to have at least one present each child opens up that makes their eyes sparkle and makes me feel like I’m the best momma in the world. But we all know it’s not about the gifts or my feeling like the best momma. It’s about the relationships. It’s about belonging. Being known. Being loved. And together celebrating the relationship we can have with God. For long ago, he sent His son just because He longs to be in relationship with us. And He thinks being in relationship with His kids—ROCKS!

What are you doing to keep your stress level low this holiday season?

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter my fiftieth blog post celebration. See previous post.


  1. Hey, Carolyn

    Thanks for the thoughts. I totally agree. I can't remember most presents given or gotten. I'm really into it for the relationships - heavenly and earthly. God bless!

    Pastor Howard

  2. Thanks for bringing the perspective back into focus! Christmas can get CRAZY and STRESSFUL if we let it!! I needed to hear this.

  3. Good thoughts my friend. Now that the kids are older, it is neat to talk to them and get their perspectives. I try to make a budget and stick to it as far as presents. Sometimes (depending on how old the kids were), they got a lot of presents because the items they wanted were not as much money. These days, the items are more expensive, so there is much less to open. The boys have always been great about it, even when it was hard hearing that a friend may have gotten that video game player system and a ton of other gifts when the game system we got was a shared gift between the two kids along with a couple very small additional gifts. But I agree with you that keeping the focus on Christ and our relationship with Him and spending time with our family is most important of all! Merry Christmas!!!

  4. And Merry Christmas to you, Susan!!!


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