Honey, we need to talk about our daughter. There's a part of her sweet, gentle, little spirit that needs attention. Remember the day she bounced down the stairs, landed on both feet with a thud and then pirouetted her way into the kitchen?
(Right. Um, which day? That’s every day.)
No, the day that she came to me and sang in her best Taylor Swift “What’s for dinner mama?” And I said…
(Ok, wait. Which time? Because, she does that almost always.)
Hon, you interrupted me. Stay with me. The time she sang, “What’s for dinner mama?” and I told her I was cooking breakfast for dinner.
(Oh, yeah that day. Yep, I remember.)
She was crestfallen! It was like I had asked her to give up the Disney Channel!
Her sweet face washed with sadness. Her shoulders slumped over and she managed a very soft, barely audible, “Ok.”
Then I said, “Sophie, we can’t always have your favorites and you have so many and it's great you have so many foods you love but sometimes mama can’t hit all the meal homeruns, okay?” She nodded and then picked at an imaginary hangnail.
Remember when I started working on dinner and then I turned around and saw her still standing there and she was crying? Not just crying but her blue eyes were a spilled over water tower. I honestly thought she had burned or cut herself because I dropped the pan on the stove and yelled, “My word! What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
She looked up to me and two more tears raced down her cheeks. She knuckled her swollen eyes and sobbed, “I’m such a disappointment. I am ashamed of myself. I should be happy that I have food but instead I acted like a brat. I’m so sorry mama. I really am.”
I was shattered. Do you remember this conversation?
How could she think so horribly of herself? I mean, I’m pleased that she self-corrected and it's good that she's so grateful for a meal but really? The tears? All of the shame? It doesn’t seem like typical young-girl drama when she carries so much remorse and her heart is genuinely troubled by all of this.
And last night when she danced into our room. We’re sitting in the bed and the TV is on but we’re staring at our phones. And as a side note, babe we really should have a technology free zone in the bedroom. Don't cha' think? Maybe only read and sleep?
Never mind that for now. Anyway, like I was saying, we were staring at our phones and she bounces into the room and she’s carrying her Jesus Calling 365 Devotions for Kids. Her face is glowing and both of us immediately put down our phones, muted the TV and really looked into her bright eyes. She said, "I want to read this part of my devotion. It is soooo good." Then she spun once into a little twirl as sweet as soft serve ice cream.
She read aloud, “Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. John 3:8." She was so happy! I mean her spirit was just radiant, right?
Remember, I was encouraging her and said, "OH WOW! What an amazing message. That is fantastic! I love it when you read your devotional! That is so great! Is there another verse we need to read in the Bible that goes with it?" She brought the book over to me and I looked down at the worn pages. This previously loved book was passed on to her from one of her friends after she had enjoyed it a year. I looked over the page and saw that the verse she just read was at the top, but at the bottom, there was another verse address. Galatians 5:22. I was about to show her the additional verse when I noticed the date.
It was June 13th, not today’s date of July 13th. My train of thought on the verse search was completely derailed. I wish I hadn’t said a word, I just happened to notice it was the wrong date and I said it out loud.
And then our daughter mumbled, “I’m so stupid.
(Yes. She did say that.)
Our beloved little girl called herself stupid. Every time our kids use that word, we tell them that stupid is such an ugly word and not to say it!
Her face covered in self-disappointment right away. Her body language was completely transparent. I wrapped my arms around her and drew her into a huge bear hug. I loved on her and told her not to say things like that about my girl. I reminded her about the phrase I read earlier in the day about “Never say anything about yourself that God wouldn’t.” I said to her, "God loves you, sweetheart and He doesn’t care WHICH day you read His words. He just wants you to read them and pray about them." I’m so heartbroken about her. Why does she torment herself? Why on earth does she think that she’s always making mistakes? I feel like we encourage her and love on her and pray over her. We are raising her to be confident and kind and yet she shreds herself for something so small.
(I know. It’s hard.)
What should we do?
(Maybe you could stop being so hard on yourself?)
What? No. Huh? We are talking about our daughter! Where have you been?
(NO! Where have YOU been? As crushed as you are to see our baby girl beat up on herself and I am too, you have to know that I am equally crushed listening to you do it to yourself.)
Don’t be ridiculous. I do not call myself stupid out loud.
(Nope, you don’t. But, you do worry and fret and wring your hands and cry and pace and get upset and then cry some more about things most people wouldn’t give another thought. For instance, the other day you said you made a mistake on some work. You felt horrible. It was fixable. Your boss wasn’t upset. You’re still talking about it. You say things like, you let people down and that you weren’t good enough and that you disappoint everyone. Let’s face it. Your self-talk is belittling. But what's weird is that you are so amazing at encouraging our children. You are wonderful at cheering on others and telling them how much potential they have. But you don’t cheer on yourself. So maybe you should not say things about yourself that God wouldn’t say about you.)
You’re right. I’m horrible at that. I should do better.
(I think you’re missing the point.)
Nope. I got it. Thank you, honey.
Seeds to Share:
Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he create them.
2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17 - May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope. Encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(originally written in July 2015)