All puppies are born cute and adorable. But Rascal, an Australian shepherd mix, was down right handsome. It was obvious why the neighbor’s little girl picked him out of the litter of abandoned pups. Those floppy ears and tiger stripes would have melted any child’s heart, not to mention that fluffy, snow-white chest to rake their fingers through.
We had a dog years ago. A sweet little chihuahua we named Peanut. He lived a short, seventeen years. When he died, I didn’t want another dog. It hurts too much when they die.
Then there was Rascal.The puppy next door the little girl took home and hugged and played with for a day or two, then tossed him aside like a broken toy.
Eventually, he ended up in our yard. Then camping out on the front porch. Then playing with us and the grandkids in the house.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
I overheard mom telling my dad that the doctor they were taking me to said my spirit is broken. I was seven. He also said I had too much religion. The doctor was a shrink.
A shrink! My parents actually believed that their seven-year-old needed to see a shrink!
It’s true, I was overly sensitive and emotional with a so-called learning disability and social disorder. And yes, I pitched a conniption fit every time mom washed my hair and combed out the tangles every morning. And compared to my calmer, less spirited siblings, I was like a wild Mustang.
But a broken spirit? What did that even mean?
As a kid, it meant nothing to me. I was just a kid doing what kids do: being a kid.
However, when I got older and more aware of the dysfunctional world in which I lived, I realized that yes, I was broken.
A broken spirit is fearful and discouraged and depressed and blames all the world’s ales on themselves. A broken spirit second-guesses every choice they make and feels guilty for being true to themselves. A broken spirit is a dead soul walking down a treacherous, dark and, lonely path.
A broken spirit sends you crying to the altar Sunday after Sunday, praying for forgiveness from the wretchedness you feel inside. I was seventeen that Sunday morning when my mother stood up apologizing for me, saying she didn’t know what was wrong with me, and reassuring the congregation that I was a good girl.
That Sunday, the altar of prayer and hope, and forgiveness became a place of judgment, shame, and condemnation. Where were the loving arms, the tender voice, the words of understanding and encouragement? Where was God?
Although I never went back to the altar, I never stopped searching for the truth about who I am and why I feel the way I do.
And in my endless search, I discovered that I am a free spirit, that I see things in black and white, and that living the truth is better than living a lie. And when I pulled against the reigns, the people in my world didn’t like it, especially my mother. And more than anything, I wanted to please my mother.
To make a very long and painful story short, my mother manipulated and controlled my entire life; even after I got married. She played me like a game of cards and cheated to win at any cost. And it cost me, my soul. My friends saw it long before I did and even warned me of the damage my mother was causing. But, she was my mother and would never do anything to hurt me.
But she did. Again and again, using every dirty, emotional trick up her sleeve to keep me feeling guilty and confused and angry until that anger became an uncontrollable rage. Finally, when I saw the destruction it was causing my marriage and my child, I said enough! I walked away and slammed the door shut on my mother for six long years. I went into counseling for two years, read Christian Living books, and began healing and living my life for myself.
Only when I felt emotionally strong enough did I pursue a relationship with my mother, who never understood me, never saw what she did to me, only what I did to her, and continued trying to manipulate and control me. But, I was stronger and wiser, and more determined than ever to take back my life.
No one has the right to live and control someone else’s life. Isn’t it hard enough to live and control their own? It angers me when I see moms and dad’s pushing their dreams and aspirations on their kids. Let them live their own lives, dream their own dreams. You raised them right, now give them the right to make the right choices and be there for them if they screw up. No, you won’t always like the choices they make, but you can always be there no matter what. The biggest part of loving your kids is letting them go. Let them spread their wings and fly, and keep loving them from the sidelines. If you don’t, you won’t be in their lives the way you want to be. You may not be in their lives at all.
I have one child, a son, and a pastor of twenty years. His dad and I have seen his highs and his lows. We’ve listened to his heart cries. We’ve watched him make choices that didn’t make sense to us. When he decided to travel halfway around the globe to fulfill his passion, his dangerous mission to save the world, we never stood in his way. His wife and kids never stood in his way. We watch him from the sidelines hoping and praying he comes back home safely. We love him. We trust him. We encourage him. We never try to live his life for him. He is a free spirit. His wings are big and strong, and he will continue to fly as high as he can until he can’t fly anymore.
And my heart couldn’t be more proud and happier for the man he has become.
Our kid’s hearts are in our hands. Love them. Teach them. Encourage them. Never, ever crush them, for if you do, they will flounder through life with broken wings that may never learn to fly.
My granddaughter wrote the following article and has given me permission to post it on WordPress. Leighton James makes great-grand-baby number eight. We thank God for our healthy, growing family.
When Lucas was born, we had no idea what the first several years of our lives would look like. Doctor appointment after doctor appointment, we were left wondering why. Why did our son have all these medical issues? Why can’t l have a seamless breastfeeding journey like all the other new moms? Why does every appointment have to bring new heartache?
It’s hard not to carry those same fears and burdens into this new journey with Leighton. It’s hard to not be on the edge of our seats, waiting for some diagnosis that we aren’t prepared for. It’s hard not to compare our story to someone else’s.
But today . . .
Today was a breath of fresh air. Today was a sigh of relief to know our boy is healthy and perfect. Today is a reminder that God is faithful.
I will always be grateful for Lucas’ journey, that continues to teach us and shape us in more ways than one. But today . . . Today l am thankful for the reminder of God’s love and especially for our healthy baby boy.
Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.