Recently I was asked to share some of my testimony with a Mom to Mom group and decided to interweave a few life lessons. Being invited to share always brings about mixed emotions. On one hand, I am thrilled to share but yet I am overwhelmed by fear. Also, almost every time I agree to share, I have the craziest things go down and this time it was literally me. I was outside talking on the phone and stepped on a huge manhole cover that was not level and forcibly fell on my right leg leaving me with two huge bruises and a cut knee. I also experienced whiplash and for days I could hardly lift my head as I had tweaked it. The phone survived it all without a scratch.
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.” — Richard Branson
Lesson 1: Always be Teachable
If you are going to speak for a group you need to know what they are about so I googled “Mom to Mom” and read that this organization was a biblically-based parenting program designed around the Titus 2:4 concept of older women teaching and encouraging younger women in the relationships with their husbands and children.
I certainly qualified as older, having been married for over 32 years with three daughters aged 29, 26, and 16. However, I want you each to remember that you qualify as older to others and that we all have life lessons plus experiences which can inspire, encourage and direct others. Part of being teachable is realizing we don’t know it all so it’s important to seek ways to surround yourself with people, books, conference, etc. from whom you can learn. Life is one big lesson after another when you are teachable.
Lesson 2: You Are NOT an Accident
This truth was hard for me to believe as I was given the opposite message for most of my life. My parents were not married when I was conceived. However, I was part of God’s purpose, as there may be accidental parents, but there are no accidental births. My life was not a surprise to God. He had my life planned long before I was born. “Long before [God] laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love . . . Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)”
Lesson 3: God is faithful
An unplanned pregnancy, being female instead of the wanted male, and a forced marriage, created lots of conflicts, hardship, and bitterness between my parents which inevitably lead to their divorce when I was seven. Life was hard and chaotic!!! My mom did her best to provide as a single mom living off welfare and working hard. I had a few learning differences such as ADD and anxiety while growing up thus making my life doubly challenging. We moved a lot during grade school. My mom remarried when I was almost 13, I felt that my younger sister and I were seen as the extra baggage as we were not invited to the wedding. Because of the neglect and lack of belonging in my childhood, I grew up feeling unloved and struggled with trust, insecurity, and abandonment issues. I was an angry young person. In fact, when I began counseling I was told I had only two emotions – anger and neutral. Through God and dedicated work on my part, I was able to learn the gamut of other emotions.
Lesson 4: Hurt people will hurt people (even themselves)
During my college years, I struggled with loving myself and made many poor choices in regards to the guys I dated as several were abusive thereby perpetuating my insecurity and lack of self-worth. Seeking to numb the pain, I drank and experimented with drugs to escape. I turned my anger inward becoming anorexic, as my weight was something only I could control giving me a false sense of power. Did you know that others will not love you any more than you love yourself?
Lesson 5: Your past, need not dictate your future as God is our Redeemer
It was only 20 short years of my life that were used for my good and His purposes.
Joel 2:25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…
Eventually, I met an amazing man who was unlike the previous guys I had dated. Jon saw many beautiful things in me. His kindness, generosity, and love began to fill my empty emotional cup. He became my husband in 1985 when I was 22 and he was 23.
Just recently I had an aha moment, thanks to Brene Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness, The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand I Alone. Crazy but for most of my pre-adult life I never felt like I truly belonged anywhere which caused great pain and personal suffering in my life. Brene goes on to say that “not belonging in our families is one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit, and our sense of self-worth.” This was true for me.
However, when I married Jon, I found a place of belonging as I had the family I sought as a child. I saw and experienced unconditional love. I was warmly welcomed into this new family. An added bonus for Jon and I was getting married on his parents 25th wedding anniversary thereby allowing us to experience many shared moments celebrating our anniversaries together.
Entering marriage with an empty emotional cup and little trust or confidence in my role to ever be a good wife and mother produced much fear. Unknowingly, I had made Jon, my god as I did not know the true God. Thankfully, God intervened in 1987 when both Jon and I made the most life-changing decision by accepting a relationship with Christ (24) through a home visitation. I now had another place of belonging.
Now Y’All come back soon as I will be posting the remaining lessons real soon 😉 Blessings.