Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Family Blessing-More Than A Review

"You are an outstanding woman for all you do for your children. I admire you more than you will ever know."
"Your children are blessed to have you for a mother. You are a gift from God."
"What a Godly example you are of a mother. Your children are so fortunate to have you."
"I don't know how you do it. You are amazing."

Those are just a few of the things I am told regularly from other bloggers and friends. They are copied and pasted here from actual e-mails, the most recent just a couple of days ago. If you want to continue thinking these things about me, then you will need to stop reading NOW.

No, I am not going to belittle myself, or think untrue things regarding my character. I do not have a low self-esteem (in most areas I am a pretty decent person), nor am I seeking someone to tell me I am wrong. I already have conformation from God that what I am about to share is truth. It is ok...I am forgiven and I forgive myself and I will take what I have seen in myself and change it immediately. I am sharing it, because I want to be held accountable. I need accountability. Hopefully, all the pretty pictures will make this post not so ugly! Anyone reading here for any length of time, knows the struggles I have had in raising my daughter. I have shared numerous times of my resentment, anger, hostility, and frustration. It is also no secret that I love this little girl more than my own life. I want to see her succeed in the future but walk in doubt and fear that she will be nothing less than a transient. Great faith there, eh? Well, in doing the library project I pulled a little book called The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg. I had felt a pull to read it, but then thought, "Nah...I have too much to do. I will put it on my mental list to check out later." Back in the pile it went. When putting books back in a box to take to the church, I again felt an urge to read this book. It is light reading, I am sure from the title. Just a quick read of 105 pages...a couple of hours at the most. So I pulled it and sat down just this morning. I am numb. I am humbled. I am convicted beyond words. A light read it was not. Not for me anyway.It started out as a sweet message about how a father used the principles of A. W.Tozer's words,

"If it is good, God did it. And if it is bad, I did it, and it's worse than it looks."

He uses this with his children, speaking a daily blessing over them. It all sounds wonderful and the principles are definitely scriptural. Jesus blessed the children. The Bible is full of actual blessings spoken over God's people.The book stays light, though with enough meat to really chew on...
"Our greatest responsibility to our children is to exhibit the heart of God to them"
Mr Garborg also shares the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree, and how the seed lays dormant for 5 years. Still it needs tending and care. You see nothing come from all your efforts until 5 years later when that one seed shoots sixty feet into a mature tree in one years time. A wonderful analogy as to all that we sow into people. We may not see growth, but the care and nurturing are still vital.

All of a sudden 1/2 way through the book, all the light, feel good stuff is gone. What is left is a huge knot in my stomach and words that feel like a knife in my gut.

""Death and life," says the book of Proverbs, "are in the power of the tongue." (18:21). Nowhere is the reality clearer than in the dynamics of family life. The words parents speak to their children day in and day out, even in casual conversation, create an atmosphere in the home over time that either chokes and poisons their young spirits or nourishes and strengthens them. The results can be devastating or life-giving: "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov. 12:18 NIV)

Oh. My. Goodness. Goodness is too strong of a word!! I should have said Oh my badness!! Mr Garborg goes on with his knife words....

"We have the daily choice as parents to speak life or death to our children. Speaking "death"---destroying their self esteem with negative labels, nicknames, household reputations, or self fulfilling prophecies---is what the Bible calls "cursing"; we will deal with that issue specifically in chapter 7. But even if we rarely inflict these kinds of verbal injuries on our children, we may still be guilty of draining the life from their spirits by our negligence or reluctance to "speak well" of them."

OUCH! I confess before man that I am guilty. I have given my daughter nicknames, a household reputation, negative labels, and self fulfilling prophecies. The author gave me an "out" that I could say I am guilty but "rarely inflict" this on my daughter. I can not in good conscience take that "out". I do this regularly. I could tell you it is a curse that most mom's of RAD kids have...I can't say that cause I do not know that to be true. I could justify it all, at least in my own mind, but that will only delay the see this is not the first sign that God has been dealing with me in this area. It has been going on for weeks now. Every time I turn around, I see something. A post from a fellow blogger, a piece of scripture (James 1:19-20 among others), a word from my husband....who listened with out comment as I read him, out loud, the above experts. Then when I was finished he said, "I am not going to say anything." That said it all.

"You Can't Saw Sawdust" That is the title of Chapter 7...that chapter where he will go into more detail on my parenting style and how my tongue created sawdust in my daughter's life. It may seem this chapter would be the dreaded one...yet it is where I found hope. The authors words were like a salve on my open, gash.

"Hurts and wounds can be healed. The resentment can be replaced by an attitude reflecting God's character. The heart of bitterness that destroys a life can become a heart of praise and gratefulness to God."

Words of you can not turn back the clock, nor put the toothpaste back in the tube, nor can you saw can however, per the author, take the sawdust and make something new...particleboard!! Solid and usable. Charlotte came to me splintered. Her physical life was hanging by a thread and by all reason, she should not have been alive. Today she is physically care healed her body. What about her splintered spirit? I see sawdust when I think of it. Today I will start to speak blessings and not cursings on Charlotte (and my other children) It is a lie to say that an unattached child is impossible to love. It is a lie to say an unattached child can not receive love. A blessing is love. A cursing is hate. Anyone, can receive either of these. Isn't it ironic that I always close my posts with the phrase, "Blessings"? It is time I start doing just that!


Tamara said...

Blessings need to be giving in more homes than just yours. Thanks for sharing your read and opening my eyes. May you feel God's blessings you as you are blessing your family.

Linda said...

Terrific post Bren, it never ceases to amaze me how we as mothers have so much power when it comes to our children. Certainly they have their own free will, (as God designed each of us) but we can have such a huge impact on that free will with how we handle treat love and respect our children. We each need to be reminded of this simple lesson that you speak of today, although putting it into practise isn't always the most simplist of things to do. God bless you Bren for seeing what needs to be changed in your own home and showing many of us what we need to change.

Milah said...


It looks like God was speaking to you through those chapters. I applaud your honesty, too many of us would deny any responsibility. Now I'm wondering what my words were like when my children were young.
Blessings to you and Charlotte and the rest of your family.

Donetta said...

What is so encouraging?.... Sis, is this...
If, If yes If
My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and turn from there ways then I , He HE...
Will hear from heaven and heal their land.

Pretty amazing you see it is a done deal. Knowing you kept your end...
just the grounds your walking on being HEALED>
cool stuff!

FallingForward said...

Bren, thank you for sharing. You know my parenting struggles and I know yours. I am humbled by your words tonight...God help me do a better job with these boys...

NeeCee said...

OUCH! I am deeply humbled!

Anonymous said...

Oh my.
I need to read that book.
Thank you for sharing yourself with us whom you don't even know (yet!. You will never know the lives you touched...thank youfor your honesty before God and us as well.
God bless you greatly as you seek to serve and honor Him.

julieQ said...

What a wonderful post, and you speak for more than just you for sure. It amazes me how we influence our children. May we always influence for good!!

Alesha said...

You go, girl! It doesn't really matter what we think. If God is talking, He's talking! :-)

I've read the book, "The Blessing" before I was ever married (college assignment - lol!). I'm assuming it's much the same concept.

You will be AMAZED at how quickly your words will begin to heal Charlotte.

Be sure to let us know how it goes!

MUCH love to you,

Coleen said...

As Mia Angelu (I probably spelled her name wrong) said "We did what we did because we knew no better. We do what we do now because we know better."


Michele's Quilting Journey said...

A beautiful, heartfelt, deeply touching (and recognizable to all of us) post, Bren. I have a friend who spent decades trying to be a 'Proverbs 31 woman'. She finally said...'it ain't never gonna happen'. She was trying to be funny, but truly it showed me her own depths of pain and loss in herself and how she isn't. I've watched her battles and seen many times the mirroring that God has given her in her own life to see what part she might have played in her own pain. But she cannot look in that mirror. YOU have. You have looked, you have felt, you have heart searched and felt again and now, you are doing. Your heart has been broken up by this gift of a 'library angel'...that irresistable urge to select, open and read a book. You are on the path. Blessings of the highest order to your and your family. The challenges and the lessons and the path of understanding are all one with the journey of the heart and you are well on your way, dear woman. God speed!