Lessons I’ve Learned

        There was time in my life when I allowed another’s lies to define who I was.

       That was a lifetime ago; and that time has ended.

       I don’t know why God put this on my heart today. Maybe with all the violence and ugliness going on in the world, we all need to be reminded to love one another. Maybe someone needed the message I had to impart.

       We learn, as Christians, to see Jesus when we look at people; but how many of us actually have that thought running rampant through our mind every second of our busy days?

       My former mother-in-law never missed an opportunity to voice to my mother that she told her son he should not have married me – and this was while we were married. Do you think she was seeing Jesus when she spoke those words to another mother? Truth be told, it would actually hurt me to voice that sentiment to another mother. I identify with other’s feelings on too deep a level to ever consider voicing such a hurtful comment. 

        I remember a time when my former husband and one of his co-workers went fishing for the day. At the end of the day, after cleaning the catch, we shared a meal with the other family. As women will do, we talked as we stood in the kitchen preparing the meal. I was surprised – or perhaps not – when she very candidly told me that her husband had told her of a conversation he had with my then husband. In that conversation, he said that I was a bitch. There is no other way to phrase that particular word – my apologies. She went on to tell me that her husband said that he was told I did nothing but scream and yell and fuss all of the time.

       Anyone who knows me will tell you I do not handle matters in that particular way. I am a person who holds their anger inside. I rarely ever show my anger or hurt. I detach and become very quite. That doesn’t mean I am not human. I am, and I have been known to slam a few doors – loud and hard – did I mention loud and hard – but screaming is not something I do. I do not like confrontation, and I avoid it whenever possible.

Ephesians 4:29 – “Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.” 

        I asked this woman, if after getting the chance to know me, if she still thought that I was this kind of person. I did not let on, but I was extremely hurt when she replied that she did in fact still believe all that she had heard, because she did not feel that my former husband would lie – which said to me that she thought I was lying when I denied the allegations. What I wanted to do at that time was grab my daughters and leave. I did not want to stay in a place that was detrimental to my emotional well-being. I could feel myself shutting down, and pasting on that fake smile.

       What I did was hide my hurt and anger inside of me, and stayed for dinner. I never told anyone how devastating that conversation was to me. Little did I know that it would become one of many such conversations in the years to come.

Colossians 4:6 – “Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person.”

        Ever since that night, when the thoughts come back to haunt me, I get angry with myself. I am angry because I did not stand up for myself. I am angry because I did not confront my ex-husband. I am angry because another person believed his lies. I am angry because I let what this person believed bother me. I am angry because I wish the memory would vanish. And, that, is not very Christian like either.

       And, then I think, maybe the memory comes back to remind me that I am worthy. I am worthy of Jesus’ love. I do not need people like this woman in my life because they make me feel like less than. And, to feel less than, is an insult to God. It is also a lesson that we need to know and remember. Lies hurt; lies maim; lies destroy; and lies kill. Lies destroy a person’s spirit; what lies within.

Proverbs 14:1 – “A wise woman builds her house, while a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.”

       For a while, the WWJD – What would Jesus do – bracelets were extremely popular. It seemed as though everyone was wearing some form or another of the symbol. I wonder if our actions would be significantly different if we had WWJD branded on our foreheads. While it sounds like a farfetched idea, I urge you to think about it for a moment. When we opened our mouths to lie, or to gossip, would we continue or would we close our mouths?

A "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) bracelet

        This story brings me to a lesson we need to remember. Everyone is of God. And, to insult or lie or belittle another person, is to belittle God, our creator. For that reason, when we see or speak to others, we need to remember one of the greatest lessons of all – look for Jesus in each face we see and not be led astray.

       As always, I encourage you to share your opinions and experience, and/or questions. Remember to show courtesy to others in your comments.

 

Donna

 

 


 

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“You choose your actions, not the consequences”

 There is a saying, “You choose your actions, you do not get to choose the consequences”.

 

Never is that more true than in divorce.

 

The reasons, no matter how substantial, cease to matter as time wears on; it is the consequences that live long and prosperous lives.

 

       It no longer matters that there was abuse, infidelity, lack of love, miscommunication; it is the consequences that linger on. And, it is those consequences that affect everyone, from adults to children, grandparents to godparents, cousins to godchildren.

 

       I have not written any personal stories on my blog in a while. When your heart is broken, your mind struggles to be happy and that makes it difficult to write, at least it does for me. What made me sit down to write this morning was something that happened this past weekend.

 

        We attended a family function the other night, and my own deeply guarded pain bubbled to the surface as I watched and listened to the pain of a child, now a grown young man, who was caught up as an extended casualty of a divorce that had nothing to do with him. He didn’t understand when someone he loved dearly suddenly disappeared from his life without a word. The only explanation he was given came from his parents. His anger and hurt got the best of him and he confronted the accused, the one he did not know had been banned from his life due to divorce. As I watched their pain surface, my own pain jerked unchecked from its hiding place once again.

 

       It is human nature to choose sides when there is conflict present, but what so many fail to realize is that the pain and the consequences of anger linger far into the future, where it has no place. There seems to be a demon present in some people that rears its ugly head to cause a normally sane person to loose all perspective, and anyone who will listen to the lamenting is drawn in.

 

       Children are often manipulated and lied to in the name of revenge, as adults circle the wagons and prepare to wage war, a war that will affect a child far into the future. Adults choose the action; the children suffer the consequences, most times needlessly. Divorce is an ugly animal. I myself have witnessed this behaviour on many occasions, as adults choose not to accept their part in the break-up of a marriage – it does take two to make a marriage, just as it takes two to break up a marriage. It seems to be a little remembered fact.

 

       I have seen adults who have finally moved past their pain; neglect to calm the waters (anger) in those around them. Therein lays a huge injustice. I have witnessed this in the lives of people who are close to me repeatedly.

 

       It is no misnomer that divorce brings anger and pain. It is how we as adults, conduct ourselves, that determines the extended consequences to those around us. Children do not need to become the pawns in the ugly game, but they do more often than not. As adults, we transfer our feelings of hurt, abandonment, and anger onto the shoulders of those who are too young to process the emotions. Children are not born hating, we teach them to hate, to hold grudges, to take sides, to mimic our adult behaviors.

 

       Never has it been more evident than in my own life, but also in the life of the young man this weekend, a child who lost someone in his young life due to a family divorce. A child, now a grown young man, who when confronted with the opportunity to speak with the person he lost, did not know how to process his anger and hurt. I stood by and watched the pain of two people who were hurt deeply through no fault of their own, struggle to communicate, one young, one older. Hurt knows no bounds. I can only pray that maybe it is not too late for the two of them to perhaps mend the great divide, a divide caused by hurt, anger, and lies. Who knows? Maybe they can overcome the one major obstacle standing in their way. But, to mend one relationship with the truth may mean destroying a trusted relationship built on lies. It is a difficult decision at any age.

 

       The point of this story – maybe it is to assuage some of my own pain. Maybe it is a plea to others suffering from or causing some of this pain to think twice before they step off into abyss – we, as adults, need to think before we destroy a child’s trust in another human being. I’ll close with this advice: think twice before you circle the wagons and pull out the heavy artillery, there just might not be an enemy.

 

The views expressed here are my own.

 

 

Lessons I’ve Learned

There was time in my life when I allowed another’s lies to define who I was.
       That was a lifetime ago; and that time has ended.
       We learn, as Christians, to see Jesus when we look at people; but how many of us actually have that thought running rampant through our mind every second of our busy days?
       My former mother-in-law never missed an opportunity to voice to my mother that she told her son he should not have married me – and this was while we were married. Do you think she was seeing Jesus when she spoke those words to another mother? Truth be told, it would actually hurt me to voice that sentiment to another mother. I identify with other’s feelings on too deep a level to ever consider voicing such a hurtful comment.
A "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) bracelet
A “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) bracelet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       I remember a time when my former husband and one of his co-workers went fishing for the day. At the end of the day, after cleaning the catch, we shared a meal with the other family. As women will do, we talked as we stood in the kitchen preparing the meal. I was surprised – or perhaps not – when she very candidly told me that my husband had told her of a conversation he had with my then husband. In that conversation, he said that I was a bitch. There is no other way to phrase that particular word – my apologies. She went on to tell me that her husband said that he was told I did nothing but scream and yell and fuss all of the time.
       Anyone who knows me will tell you I do not handle matters in that particular way. I am a person who holds their anger inside. I rarely ever show my anger or hurt. I detach and become very quite. That doesn’t mean I am not human. I am, and I have been known to slam a few doors – loud and hard- did I mention loud and hard – but screaming is not something I do. I do not like confrontation, and I avoid it whenever possible.
Ephesians 4:29 – “Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.” 
       I asked this woman, if after getting the chance to know me, if she still thought that I was this kind of person. I did not let on, but I was extremely hurt when she replied that she did in fact still believe all that she had heard, because she did not feel that my former husband would lie – which said to me that she thought I was lying when I denied the allegations. What I wanted to do at that time was grab my daughters and leave. I did not want to stay in a place that was detrimental to my emotional well-being. I could feel myself shutting down.
       What I did was hide my hurt and anger inside of me, and stayed for dinner. I never told anyone how devastating that conversation was to me. Little did I know that it would only be one of many to come.
Colossians 4:6 – “Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person.”
       Ever since that night, when the thoughts come back to haunt me, I get angry with myself. I am angry because I did not stand up for myself. I am angry because I did not confront my ex-husband. I am angry because another person believed his lies. I am angry because I let it bother me. I am angry because I wish the memory would vanish.
       And, then I think, maybe the memory comes back to remind me that I am worthy. I am worthy of Jesus’ love. I do not need people like this woman in my life because they make me feel like less than. And, to feel less than, is an insult to God. It is also a lesson that we need to know and remember. Lies hurt; lies maim; lies destroy; and lies kill. Lies destroy a person’s spirit; what lies within.
Proverbs 14:1 – “A wise woman builds her house, while a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.”
       For a while, the WWJD – What would Jesus do – bracelets were extremely popular. It seemed as though everyone was wearing some form or another of the symbol. I wonder if our actions would be significantly different if we had WWJD branded on our foreheads. While it sounds like a farfetched idea, I urge you to think about it for a moment. When we opened our mouths to lie, or to gossip, would we continue or would we close our mouths?
       This story brings me to a lesson we need to remember. Everyone is of God. And, to insult or lie or belittle another person, is to belittle God, our creator. For that reason, when we see or speak to others, we need to remember one of the greatest lessons of all – look for Jesus in each face we see and not be led astray.
       As always, I encourage you to share your opinions and experience, and/or questions. Remember to show courtesy to others in your comments.
Donna