“No one ever wants me around because of you guys!”
Those were the words I spoke to my children the one day when I was frustrated by their behaviour. Immediately I regretted them. For they were not true, they were deeply hurtful, and I could not take them back…I could only apologize. And apologize I did, but I knew that those words were still there, in the minds of my children.
And the truth is that those words didn’t come out because of my kids actions. Those words came because of my undealt with pain. They came out from my heart, where deep within, I have experienced rejection, hurt and judgement which was linked to me being a young mom and also having a big family.
Yes… I felt rejected by my friends when I became a mom. And although I chose to let go of some of my friends because of other reasons, some of them quietly disappeared from my life as I slipped into a different stage of life than them: Motherhood.
I was 18, a child myself, and my three month old baby had just been admitted into the Children’s Hospital, he was sick. Very sick. And many times that first week I thought we were going to lose him. I lived off of 2 hours of sleep or less a night and the hours I was awake I was in constant fear and stress. I felt like I had failed my son. I wondered if he was sick because of me, or my lack of knowlegde in parenting. I wondered why they couldn’t find out what was wrong with him. And I watched them poke him every hour for blood. I watched them dig IV after IV into his arms, legs, and head knowing that even if they were successful in a few hours the tiny vain would collapse and they would have to do it all over again. We lived at the hospital for six long months. And the pain of watching him suffer was unimaginable. It took all of my attention and all of my energy.
But there was another pain…during my sons entire six month hospital stay, only TWO of my high school friends bothered to stop by. The rest had forgotten me. Oh we had lots of support… family, new church friends…but MY friends, they were gone. And because I had so many other things to deal with at that time, I swallowed the pain and tried to forget the fact that becoming a mother meant loneliness.
Time and time again, I pushed down painful things said to me, like the time one of my friends called me just two days after I had my third baby, asking if I could come to her show that evening. I told her that I’d love to see her but I couldn’t, because I had just had a baby. She got upset at me and never called again.
Or the time after I had four kids, when one woman told me that she would love to have my family down if we weren’t so big.
And that time I excitedly announced my pregnancy to someone who instead of congratulating me, informed me that she didn’t think she would be able to watch ALL of my kids. I was hurt that this was the first response that came to her mind, as I rarely asked her anyways.
Words! The rejection of them sting. And here they laid dormant in my heart, not held against those who said them, but rather my own precious children…who had absolutely nothing to do with them! The wounds caused by these careless words hadn’t been dealt with properly and as a result, I began to inwardly blame my kids for all the friends I had lost. For every time I wasn’t invited. For those lonely moments where I realised that we weren’t welcome somewhere because of them. And that day, I spoke very hurtful and careless words that may someday sit in their little hearts, needing to be healed.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
I sometimes wonder why our words hold so much power. Why we’ve been given such a powerful gift, to speak life and death. And I wonder how many careless words I’ve spewed, which I will someday be held accountable for…
How many words have I spoken to my husband or kids that will sit in the back of their hearts, only to come out in times completely unexpected and unrelated to me?
Our words can really hurt! And they can cause huge damage! I’m sure every one of us still remembers the sting of at least one hurtful word said to us on the playground at school or at home with our parents or siblings. And the problem with the tongue is that no one has complete power to tame it. No one can completely watch what they say one hundred percent of the time:
“…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest on fire. The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing…” James 3:5-10
So does this mean all is hopeless? No one can tame the tongue, so we should all just give up trying?
Not at all!
Our words reveal our hearts, there’s a verse in the bible that says: “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
This verse is saying that as long as we’re holding on to our pride, anger, bitterness, self-pity, or frustration our words will in fact reflect these things and bring death to those around us.
But if my heart is alive with love, joy, humility, peace, patience and kindness my words will bring life.
This means there’s GREAT hope. Because while there may not be a way to control our tongues the way we’d like, there IS a way to get rid of the hurt and the lies we hold in our hearts. We can break every lie with truth!
So when my thoughts start going in that downward spiral, when I feel like everyone has abandoned me, I can say “NO! That’s not true! We have MANY new friends who invited us over and enjoy being with us, not just in spite of our children but BECAUSE of the connection our children have given us!” and I can choose to let go of the pain of rejection, of holding on to friends that have moved on without me and I can rather embrace and thank God for the new friends and blessings he is pouring into our lives.
Taking every thought captive is work. It’s HARD work. Because sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball in cry and feel sorry for myself. And sometimes I do. But I have to tell you it’s SO worth it. Because when your words start bringing life and healing, not only will others love being around you, YOUR heart will be filled with joy because your words are reflecting it. And that is the kind of fruit I want to eat.