Let It Go
By Barbara Russell
Choices. Life is full of them! One choice we make every day is whether or not we are going to “Let it go!” There came a time in my life when I realized that it just wasn’t worth it to hold on to past hurts, or the pain that other people’s choices bring into my life, day by day. They go on their merry way, while I languish in my pain.
The older I get, the more I understand, “I die daily.” No one can make me mad or feel guilty. I choose to feel guilty, and I choose to be mad. The truth is I have no control over the choices that people make, or what they say about me, or do to me, or to my husband or children. The only control I have is what I, myself, am going to do this very moment. Languishing over past hurts, fretting about the future, or worrying about the “what if’s,” causes me to become an unproductive wife, mother, and the keeper of my home.
Sometimes we may think that another mother’s life is so perfect! Not every lady chooses to display all her heartaches. We all have “skeletons in the closet,” and burdens that nobody else knows. Some ladies have chosen to give those to the Lord, while others have chosen to go back and revisit them over and over…“If only my life could be different.” “If only ‘that thing’ hadn’t happened to me when I was a child.” “If only I had married someone else.” “If only my life was like Sister ____’s.” “Why doesn’t the pastor let my kids sing or play an instrument in church?” “Why did that person have to say such mean and hateful things about my husband/children? They don’t even know the whole story!” “What if ‘they’ come and take my husband away? What if my husband dies and I’m left to raise my children by myself?” “I don’t feel like making supper. I’m not going to home school today; it’s too stressful.”
Have you ever noticed that the days you allow these thoughts to fester in your heart and mind are the days you become worthless and ineffective in your daily duties as a wife and mother? Hiding in your bedroom and making your children fend for themselves, or expecting the older siblings to do your job as a mother, is not wise. Is it really worth it to harbor feelings of whose fault it is, or who hurt you, or how your life would be so different… if only! Those thoughts will never change your past! Isn’t it sobering to think of how many times we torture ourselves, just to end up in the same place we always do…never changing the past! (And we CAN’T change the past, but we CAN change our future!)
Remember, no one makes us feel guilty, mad, dirty, worthless, fearful… It is a choice. Harboring these feelings can actually cause one to become ill. Prov. 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Do you feel stressed, suffocated, have anxiety attacks, or stomach problems? I have learned that these things are either a physical or spiritual issue. It may be profitable for you to analyzing your food choices and change your eating habits, if necessary. But if it’s not physical, then consider the possibility that it is a spiritual issue.
Are you fearful? “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Do you have an unforgiving spirit? “…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32) Are there trust issues? “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Do you speak unkindly to your husband or children? “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” We are torturing ourselves, our children, and our husband when we live in fear, or refuse to let go of those painful memories and day by day choices of others.
Where do I let it go? To the Lord. “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you”. Sometimes I quote Scripture or sing a song, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Sometimes I choose my thoughts, “…whatsoever things are pure, lovely, of good report… think on these things.” And sometimes I just choose to forget, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…” The Lord wants my burden. He wants my fear, sadness, pain, and guilt. He will carry it for me! I don’t have to!
At first, it’s like baby steps… Every time, every moment, REFUSE to entertain those negative thoughts that pop into your mind. Let it go! This doesn’t mean that you’re giving up, or that you’re admitting what happened was right. It simply means that you are releasing control of your life, and allowing the Lord to have control… so that you can go on with your life! Sometimes, this is difficult, just because we feel we want to be “in control,” or “in charge,” when we really aren’t!
We are actually choosing to be selfish when we chose to not let it go! All we can see is how “this” is affecting ME! We can’t see how our refusal to let it go is affecting our children, husband, and everyone around us! If we want our home to be a haven, a little bit of “heaven on earth,” then our attitude must be, “Yes, I’ve been hurt; Yes, it has caused me pain; Yes, I have scars; Yes, it was wrong!” but I will continue to die daily, “…lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15)
By Malissa Custer
I stepped into the ostentatiously decorated 2nd grade girls’ cabin and wondered if I was ready for this. The thing I was dreading most was the plastic covered mattress and the impending sleep deprivation. Fourteen wide-eyed little girls, the “Purple Bandits,” staring at me with high expectations for a wild and crazy time.
I must say it is different than teenagers, in so many ways. I’ve been going to camp with BBC’s teen group for coming up on 10 years now. Teenagers need you for different reasons than second grade girls. Teenagers want to be left alone until, all of a sudden, they don’t anymore. You have to be prepared, and not pushy. Stay on positive or neutral ground with them, so they come to you easily when they need help in their spiritual journey.
Second grade girls are looking for fun, and lots of it. They love the hype. They love sparkles. They still think adults are the greatest ever and love you easily, while hanging on your every word. They need a surrogate mom, here and there, to keep them secure for the week’s activities. They need an authority to be pushed into eating the JELLO they were determined to take, and not eating clover just because a fellow second grader said it was “good for you.”
What a whirlwind of a week, that truly was packed full of fun and memories for those vibrant, tiny humans. I’ve had the majority of the girls’ moms inquire gently about how the week went, and how their “purple bandit” survived. I got to know each of the girls pretty well. Kids that age love to overshare and never quit talking – much to the dismay of their mothers. If you asked, I could probably come up with their basic personality along with their strengths and weaknesses pretty easily. At different points in the week, they showed both. I won’t go into detail, and I certainly won’t discuss those things with anyone else.
My question to you, fellow mom, is this: Do you know your child’s personality and strengths and weaknesses? Is it easier to find and dwell on their strengths, because it makes us feel so good? What about the flip side? Do you see their faults? Do you know how they struggle? Do you know the sins that habitually plague their little soul? Are you correcting the bad behavior without depth?
Challenging our children in particular areas is what I like to think of as offensive parenting. Correcting and managing is the defense, but you can never win the game without an offense. What would I define as “winning the game of parenting?” Well, my first goal for my children is salvation. If I want to see that goal accomplished, I need to help them see their shortcomings as God sees them – their sin. That takes a lot of dialogue and thought, after the initial correction of the violation. They also need to get to know God, and not just at church either. The other side of this coin though, is that it is not your work to do. Their salvation is between them and God; you are just the coach. I can admit that I’ve felt a debilitating fear wash over me when I put too much of the weight on my own shoulders. A large piece of this puzzle is prayer. Pray for wisdom; pray for strength; pray for that child.
The goals and dreams that follow after that first one are many. The only way to develop children to their full potential is to challenge and push them. Know their strength, and push them harder. Identify their weakness, and address it so they understand themselves and adjust.
Things can be hindered by our own issues, of course. If we are unwilling to face ourselves, we won’t be able to help our mini-me. We may be missing the point, because other things are stealing our focus. We may not be dealing with the problem, because we are lazy. How about parental pride? Blinded by the good, we don’t see or address the bad. Things get tricky when we don’t have ourselves in check and lined up with God. We cannot expect spiritual progress for our children, when there is none for us.
Don’t waste a minute of that adoration these young kids hand out so readily. Capture their heart, and develop that relationship before it is too late. Know them before they enter the complex teenage years.
Each child has so much potential, for good and bad. It is up to us to encourage the good to blossom, while pruning the bad.
I hope this is a challenge and encouragement to you. I walked away from camp feeling recharged to dig deeper with my kids. I wanted to pass a little of that energy along to you.
Also, if you were wondering, I slept great when I had the chance. My fellow counselor recommended a layer of memory foam, and she turned out to be a genius!