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Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

Me and Cauri

My daughter recently went with me to a speaking engagement where I shared the journey of my pregnancy with her (you can read about it here). It was one of the most distraught times of my life. Although Cauri had heard the story many times, she had never heard the feelings I experienced during that time. It moved her to tears to know I loved her so much.

And that broke my heart.

I realized although I sometimes share reasons for my teaching or discipline with her, many times I don’t share what I’m feeling.

So my dear, darling, challenging daughter, I want to share with you what I feel almost on a daily basis raising you.

I wake in the mornings and feel worried.

Worried that your heart will be hurt by unkind peers or impatient teachers.

Unfortunately, as the morning continues, I feel angry.

After fighting to get you out of bed, we argue about running late, lost homework, complaints about nothing to take for lunch, and leaving a huge mess in the kitchen for mom to clean since you “don’t have time.”

When you leave for school, I feel relieved.

Relieved we have time to get over ourselves and come back together in the evening for a fresh start.

Relief quickly turns to sadness.

Sadness that I am the one who caused you hurt before the day even had a chance to begin.

The day is then spent feeling helpless.

Helpless as I wonder about your day. How the test is going for which you spent so much time studying, if your friend is still upset with you and turning mutual friends against you, if the bully who sits behind you in two classes is calling you “stupid,” again, about your decisions and if they are wise or made out of emotion. And knowing you’re dealing with all of it away from me and beyond my help or rescue.

By the time you waltz in from school and you look content and happy, I feel reassured.

Reassured all went well during the day.

Reassurance quickly turns to feeling irritable.

Irritable from the complaints over what I’m making for supper, from all the arguing between you and your siblings, from all the things I’m trying to remember: which kids have activities, who is driving what carpool, everything on my to-do list that did not get finished earlier in the day, how much homework each of you has for the evening, calls or emails I need to return before the evening is over. I’m irritable and don’t listen well. I’m short with my words and yell.

As the evening progresses, I feel tired.

Tired from not knowing how to help with homework, from not knowing how to give you direction with your life question, from the sibling arguments, from disrespectful talk toward your dad and me, from feeling unappreciated after having worked at my job and on the house and taking care of all your needs throughout the day, tired from my brain working in overdrive, and tired from all those feelings I’ve been experiencing.

When the evening is over and we all go to bed, I feel guilt.

Guilt over not handling your questions well, not listening when you were trying to tell me something important, saying things to you I shouldn’t have, not having all the answers to your needs.

And guilt for feeling worried, angry, relieved, helpless, irritable, and tired. All of which reminds me of my shortcomings as a mom.

I leave my bed to check on you sleeping kids and I feel thankful.

Thankful God gave me such wonderful kids, thankful all of you are tucked safely in your beds in our warm house, thankful you made a decision to accept Christ’s sacrifice and are guaranteed eternal life, thankful you are mine.

I feel thankful and I kiss you on the forehead as you sleep.

And then I pray! I give all of my feelings and all those things out of my control to God.

Through it all, I feel indescribable love for you.

But know love is MORE than a feeling. While feelings change, my love for you never does! And that love, dear child, will never be compromised!

Pearl Buck quote

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© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..” ~ Jeremiah 1:5a

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  ~ Psalm 139:13-14

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  ~ Psalm 139:16

“God created you with a longing to know you are significant, accepted and secure – and then He met that need through Jesus. You are LOVED with measureless grace and affection.”  ~ Renee Swope A Confident Heart 

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furtick

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  ~ 1 John 3:1a

“The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted. i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk – don’t keep on looking at it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. ~ Matthew 10:29-31

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”  ~ Malcolm Forbes, American magazine publisher

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” ~ Helen Keller

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

“All your efforts to win God’s affection are unnecessary. All your fears of losing his affection are needless.” ~ Max Lucado

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13

“Every artist was first an amateur!” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18

“Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head, and don’t let their criticisms go to your heart. The degree to which you do either of these things is the degree to which you’ll be ruled by what other people think of you.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  ~ Romans 8:31-32

You may also like:

Are You Insignificant?

When to Heed or Disregard Criticism

Don’t Shut the Shades on Life

This post is part of the Whimsical Wednesday Link up

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and the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Hateful words spewed from my “friend’s” mouth.  I had worked hard in my volunteer position only to have her cut me down and question my motives.  At first, I was defensive.  Then my heart began to agree I was a terrible person.  My mind raced wondering who else may think the same of me.  Finally, I determined not to open myself to anyone ever again and was tempted to quit the position.

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Have your thoughts ever spiraled out of control leading you down a destructive path after receiving an unfair criticism?  We’re tempted to believe all criticism is true.

When trying to determine if criticism is constructive or unfair, consider the following:

  • Is the criticism meant to help me change in order to grow?  Or are the chosen words meant to cut me down and doubt my abilities?
    If someone is interested in seeing you succeed and proceed to the next level, their words should be considered.  However, if the person’s words are not constructive and are destructive then reject their opinion.
  • Is the person acting as a caring friend or is jealousy coloring their words?
    My “friend” was not being caring.  Her credibility was damaged when it became apparent she was jealous and desired to assume the position I held.
  • Is the person criticizing me in an open forum such as social media or are they using proper channels to speak with me privately either through a private message or phone call?
    Social media allows people to speak in haste.  It allows us to depersonalize others giving us permission to say whatever we feel without regard to how it will be received.  Most of these harsh comments can be disregarded.
  • Did the person share their thoughts anonymously or did they use their real name?
    As soon as a letter is received through the mail, I immediately glance at the end to find a signature.  If it is unsigned or is signed, “Anonymous,” it gets thrown in the garbage.  Anyone who is not brave enough to use their name has nothing of value to say.

After deciding the criticism is from a credible source and is meant to help you grow, it’s time to determine if it’s valid.

  • Take time to pray, look through scripture to determine if there is truth in his/her words, and read your affirmation file.  An affirmation file is a file to keep all complimentary notes received, quotes that add to self-worth, verses from the bible that reveal how God feels about you, and even verbal compliments received that have been written down and filed.
  • After seeking God on the matter, reading the bible, and looking at the affirmation file, you will be able to see things clearly.  Thoughts crowded with false, accusing, negative self talk are replaced with truth.  You’ll be able to see if there is room for growth.
  • Decide if the comments are to be disregarded or considered.  If the person’s words disagree with God’s and the comments in the affirmation file, they can probably be disregarded. However, if God uses the person’s words to reveal truth to you through convicting scripture and if there is nothing in the affirmation file to disagree, then their words should be considered.

Once you’ve determined the words are valid, make a plan of action.

  • Pray and commit to making the changes needed.
  • Take time to write down how the changes will impact your effectiveness.  This can be used as an ongoing motivational tool.
  • Determine if help is needed in making positive changes.  Will counseling or additional training improve your chances of succeeding?
  • Enlist accountability partners who will be honest with you about your progress.
  • Write down the positive impact when following through on the changes you’ve made.
  • Thank God for helping you make positive changes to your life.  And thank the person who set you on the path of growth through their constructive criticism.

When criticism is unfair, we need to ignore it and ask God to remove it from our minds and hearts.  When criticism is truly constructive, it can help grow our effectiveness and impact.

“Whoever heeds life-giving correction
will be at home among the wise.”  Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)

This post is part of a blog link up at 

http://rachelwojo.com/replacing-negative-inside-chatter-with-praise/ 

and

You may also like:

Can Anger Be Controlled?

When Someone Refuses to Forgive You

And We’re Waiting….And Waiting…..And Waiting……

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Are You Insignificant?

August 7, 2013 — 10 Comments

“Connie, you’re just a slut and I have no doubt you will be pregnant before you’re 18.”  Those were the words of my “Christian” Vice Principal at my private school after he learned I sneaked out of my house the night before.  He presumed upon what I had done (and was wrong by the way) and chose the most hurtful words possible.  Words I found devastating!

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The news reached the other teachers and each, with the exception of one, treated me as if I wore a scarlet letter.  I was a disappointment.  I was someone who failed at life before I had even reached the age of 16.  I better marry rich because I would never amount to anything in life.

They had me convinced.  If they, being Christians, thought so ill of me, I couldn’t imagine what God thought of me.  So by the end of the day, I decided I was done with Christians.  I was done with church.  I was done with God.

Have you ever been belittled?  It can be through biting sarcasm or serious insults.  Have you ever ached to have that all-important person in your life believe in you only to have them ignore your greatest accomplishments?  Has anyone made you feel as though you would amount to nothing in life?

Take heart, there are others also.

David, in the bible, is also among the rejected.

David is the youngest of 8 boys.  The runt of the family.  When Samuel, the prophet, shows up at the door to anoint a new King (per God’s instruction) among one of the brothers, David was not even invited to the feast.  He was told to keep the sheep while David’s dad paraded each of his brothers in front of Samuel.

After each son is rejected by God, Samuel has to ask if there are any other boys.  Only then, did David’s dad mention his existence.  David had killed bears and lions to protect the sheep but those accomplishments did not impress his dad.  He thought of him as the least.  The hobbit.  The one who would probably never advance above the lowly position of shepherd.

When people we admire don’t believe in us, their negativity can seep into our conscious and breed insecurity.  It’s not long before we are repeating their words to ourselves, convinced of their validity.

But David did not buy into the belief he was insignificant.  How did he escape the prison of insecurity?

He believed in the person God said he was more than the person his dad and brothers said he was.

Can we drown the voices of the world?  The loud voices telling us we’re not good enough?  That we’ve made too many mistakes?  That we will never do anything of importance?

Is it possible to listen to the voice of God telling us we are valued?  We are worthy?  We are significant?

Yes!

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Thankfully, the day I walked away from God on that dark day in High School was the day He pursued me.

When I came home, my mom could tell something was wrong.  Even though I didn’t want to tell her knowing she would be mortified from the embarrassment I caused her at school, she would not leave me alone.  I had to tell her.  I told her word for word what the Vice Principal had said.  Her face became red and little veins popped out in her forehead.  I knew it was a mistake to tell her and braced for the punishment to come.

Instead, she turned, grabbed her keys, and walked out the door.  I had never pushed her so far that she had to escape from my presence so now I was terrified.

Later, I learned she drove across town, marched into that Vice Principals office and made him wish he had wandered into a Mother Bear’s den.

That was the day I realized my mom was on my side.  She saw something in me that deserved to be defended.  She believed in me.  She knew I was capable of being great and that I could do something significant with my life.   And she didn’t appreciate anyone telling me differently.

My mom taught me imperfect Christians who make frightful mistakes is no reason to give up on a perfect God.  People cannot do what God has already done.  God is the One who gifted me, assigned my value, and wrote a perfect plan for my life.

If you are struggling with insecurity, I encourage you;

  • Look past the bad others think of you and the mistakes you’ve made.  God forgives and redeems.
  • See the value God assigned and the beauty He gave you.
  • Rather than walking in the plan others presume on your life, walk in the perfect plan God already wrote for your life.  Remember, He even took into consideration all the mistakes you would ever make as He made your life plan.

You are significant, worthy, beautiful, important, gifted, and have value.  He believes in you!

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”  ~ Psalm 139:13-15

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

 

You may also like:

When Someone Refuses to Forgive You

Perfect Mom?  Hardly!

Are You Noticeable?

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson