I was sitting here at my computer, trying to decide what topic to write a blog about. And my phone received a text. It was someone sending me a "TimeHop" picture of my two kids from 10 years ago. They were 3 and 5 years old. Adorable. Sweet little faces. Yet, when I see pictures like this, I feel intense pain in my chest. I can begin to cry immediately. You would think this would be because as parents it's hard to see our kids grow up. And yes, that's true. But the pain I feel is from guilt. When my kids were that age, I had just fallen off of the right path and was in a deep, dark place. A place that had left me unable to be the mom to them that I once was. Due to my mistakes, their dad and I had separated, and he had asked me to leave the home.
I was a stay at home mom at the time. I spent every waking moment with those kids. And now, I had to leave. Find somewhere else to live, find a job, and spend much of my time away from them. It was the most painful experience of my life. And those pictures of when they were little, bring it all back to my mind.
I could easily sit and dwell on those memories. That pain. I could succumb to it and let it fester into intense emotion and let the shame and guilt creep back in. And many times....I have. But let me tell you. It does NO GOOD to do that. In fact, it's damaging and will cause regression in my psyche.
Martin Luther, the famous theologian, once said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair".
Ain't that the truth. Negative and hurtful thoughts will pop up from time to time in all of us. Painful memories from our past. Shameful reminders that haunt us of bad decisions we once made, loved ones we hurt or who hurt us, destructive behavior we engaged in, people we disappointed. Like a bird, they are bound to "fly over our heads" but we don't have to let them take residence. Just as quickly as they appear in our minds, we can push them out and replace those thoughts with what we know to be true.
And what is it that we know to be true? Well, I know I'm a forgiven child of God. I am chosen and favored. I know that I am a TERRIFIC mother who gives of myself completely to my children and would sacrifice my last plate of food for them. When deprecating thoughts like "You are a bad mother" or "You really screwed up back then and ruined your life"....when those thoughts fly over my head, I recognize them for what they are. LIES. Lies of the devil.
I will sometimes even say the TRUTHS that I now know out loud. "I'm forgiven. I'm awesome. I'm chosen and favored by God. He wants to use me. People admire and respect me. My parents are proud of me. My kids love and respect me. My husband adores me." How do I know this to be true? There is evidence to back all of those statements up. And there is no evidence to back the afore mentioned lies. The past is done. It's forgiven. There is no need to dwell on that.
So the next time a thought....no....a LIE tries to creep into your mind and wants to hang out there for awhile- remind yourself of what you know to be true. Search the evidence. List your strengths and your accomplishments. Write them down on index cards and post them throughout your house, your car, your desk. Write verses on cards that will remind you that you are forgiven and loved and favored. Formulate a "mantra" or a positive saying that you can say when you are struggling. I call this mental hygiene. It takes work and consistency. It will keep your mind and spirit healthy. It is essential to your happiness and to your inner peace and self-love. And these same positive sayings.....say them to your children. Fill them with these uplifting thoughts and truths that they can remember as they walk through their days. Trust me, they will be hit from all different directions with destructive and hateful words and ideas. They need to hear how special and loved they are.
Comment below and let me know if this is also a struggle in your life and what have you done to help yourself get through those moments.