sticks and stones...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

i sometimes wonder how much pain a heart can handle before it truly breaks apart. the last two days have tested me completely beyond what i am sure i can handle, but still, my heart keeps beating.

i was told yesterday that a precious little girl who is so incredibly dear to my heart was told that she was ugly. that her nose was too big. that her clothes were always dirty. this said by 2 girls who were 7 and 15 years of age respectively.

seriously? tears are rolling down my face as i write this. this sweet, beautiful little girl didn't deserve to hear such hurtful words.

the anger and despair that i have felt is made even deeper because even as i tried to comprehend how little girls could possibly say that to one another, i was reminded.

reminded of the cruel and hurtful words that came out of my mouth about another girl in my class who had done nothing to me. i was ashamed as i remembered the nickname that i came up with that dehumanized her, made her less then nothing.

and she was and is beautiful.

and i never apologized.

reminded of the words that slip so easily out of my mouth as i'm driving and readjusting to the *slower* traffic of alberta. i don't know these people, yet i feel that i have the right to judge them based on the fact that they happen to obey the speed limit.

reminded of how easy it is to retaliate when i've been hurt - trading one hurtful comment for another.

reminded, reminded, reminded.

and i was broken.

no wonder the young girls are treating each other so horribly...they are copying what they are seeing in the actions and attitudes of their mothers, their aunts, their teachers, the women they adore and look up to.

and i was slapped upside the head as i realized that my own little girls are hearing everything i'm saying. they are hearing each word spoken in anger, each snippet of gossip, each debasing comment about the person i've never met, each demoralizing word that i say about myself. and because they are children, they have no other frame of reference to know that it's wrong. right now, i'm their frame of reference, and i have a choice.

am i going to choose to show them how to be critical, judgmental, angry, bitter, gossips, haters? or am i going to show them that each person, no matter what they've done, has value. that each person deserves to be loved. because Someone showed me that despite my mistakes, despite the choices i've made that have ruined my reputation, i have value. i deserve to be loved. i have Him.

and He has called me to "...not let any unwholesome talk come out of [my mouth], but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (ephesians 4:29) and what other basic need is there then to know that you have value, that you have worth.

i am realizing that as a wife, a mama, a sister, a daughter, an aunty, a cousin, a granddaughter, a friend, i have a huge responsibilty in that one simple verse. to put down my sticks and stones of self preservation and allow myself to be vulnerable enough to love, vulnerable enough to forgive. vulernable enough to say life giving words when everything inside of me wants to do the opposite.

i have a responsibility to raise daughters who are different; to be women of compassion, grace and love.

but that starts with me.

and that starts with being broken.