Words that Hurt

While I do not have a degree in psychology, in the last 33 years I have raised 10 kids, which means I have a lot of “field experience.”  Wouldn’t you say? (I mean along with experience as a cook, cleaning lady, chauffeur, educator, social recreation director, event planner, arbitrator, nurse, doctor, etc.)

Over the years various ones of my children have come to me at one time or another and expressed their hurt over what an acquaintance or friend has said to them.

The first thing I do (after I give them appropriate hugs, sympathy,  and words of comfort) is point out that the first lesson that they can learn from this hurtful experience is to not ever treat others in the same way, as they know how much it hurts.

The second thing that I point out is that they need to forgive this person, whether or not this person deserves to be forgiven, because God commands us to forgive others, since He forgives us so much. They don’t have to feel forgiveness, they only have to choose to forgive.

When we have covered those things, I tell them that “hurting people hurt people.” People that feel bad about themselves, insecure, who have had people hurt them in some way, hurt others.

So when they are hurt because of someone who is hurting, they can 1) know that it is often not personal; it is the other person who has a problem, and 2) have compassion that this person has some hurts, so we can 3) pray for them, and 4) treat them in a kinder manner than they (my child) have been treated.

People who are healthy inside, people who know they are loved and are at peace with who they are, have no need to hurt others.

True, some people say hurtful things out of sheer ignorance or insensitivity – my children have sometimes been dumbfounded as they have witnessed such things as a thin teenager telling a heavier teenager that she, herself, (the thin one) is so fat. How is that supposed to make the not-quite-so-thin teenager feel? Or someone making a racial/ethnic/religious comment to someone of that race/ethnicity/religion.

I have found that my children have been somewhat helped by learning that hurting people hurt people and we can actually look on them with compassion. Yes, it still hurts. And I do give my children my sympathy.

But they (and we) don’t have to let those darts sink in. And we can be diligent to guard our own words and not be a person that hurts others, but rather a person that brings healing, speaking words that give life and encouragement.

Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

 

Life Is Precious! (Repost) – Corrected

teresa01I originally wrote and posted this in March of this year when the father of my best friend from high school passed away. I am reposting this in honour of my dear friend, Teresa, who passed away 1 1/2 weeks ago from cancer. Her life – one life – touched so many others: her husband of 33 years, her five children, her thirteen grandchildren, and the 400 or so who attended the memorial service for her, so many speaking of what she meant to them, how she listened to them, encouraged them, positively influenced them, etc. One life…meaningful, important, precious.


This past weekend I attended the funeral of the father of my best friend from high school. He and his wife were like second parents to me in those days, as they welcomed me into their home, took time to answer my questions, and to pray with me.Walter Nelson Thomson

This man not only touched the lives of his wife and five children, but mine and many, many, many others.

One life…so valuable!

Lababygilmanultrasoundst month I saw the ultrasound of my first grand-baby, growing in my daughter-in-law’s womb: I was filled with awe! This little life will be born, will love, and will touch lives.

One life…a miracle! Full of potential.

A couple of weeks ago I took my daughter to a pediatrician. The nurse ushered us into a room and oriented us. She was very kind and helpful. At some point I mentioned that my daughter Abigail was the ninth  out of our ten children. Instead of the usual surprised reaction, she casually responded that she was the seventeenth child in her family! I told Abigail on the way home, “She was such a blessing to us and I’m sure she blesses so many every day! I’m glad her parents didn’t stop at sixteen!”

One life…blessing many!

In my post from January 5, entitled Making a Difference I recount two stories, of two different women  with extreme physical challenges who made a difference in many lives. My point then was to show that we can all make a difference. My point now is that life is precious – all life is precious, no matter how old, or young, or healthy or unhealthy!

The God-given reason that life is so valued, is that mankind was made in God’s image.

That is good enough, but at this time when I have been touched with a loved one’s death, and a loved one’s new life, and realize each day how each person’s life touches so many others, I am made so aware of how precious life is…each life…your life!

Your life touches many others. And if it doesn’t, it can. It doesn’t depend on what you do or how well you perform.  You are valuable. Because you are God’s very good idea made in His image. Wow! Be inspired! Value life…yours and others’!

Is This World Getting to You?

I am an optimist: with water at the mid-way point in a glass, I don’t see it as merely half full (as opposed to half empty), I see it as mostly full.

But in spite of my extremely optimistic tendencies, even I can’t help being affected by what is going on in the world – whether it’s ISIS enslaving, raping, killing everyone who is not of their brand of Islam, or Hamas’ determination to annihilate every last Jewish person, or the treatment of and killing of unwanted people, be they too old, too infirm, or too inconvenient (through euthanasia and abortion).

Then in my country, scandalous news broke out a few weeks ago concerning a radio celebrity, that has opened up the topic of harassment and abuse of women, and it seems that just about every woman has experienced these things at some level.

How does one handle all this?

My solution is threefold:

1. Read the Bible: the Bible reminds us Who is in control. God told Abraham that his descendants (he didn’t even have any descendants yet) would be slaves in Egypt for 400 years, and then he would deliver them and bring them to the promised land (Genesis 15:13-16). This is exactly what He did. He told them that they’d be dispersed from the land for their disobedience (which they were), and that He would bring them back (which He did).

Then there are all the specific promises/prophecies concerning the Messiah, which have been fulfilled (click here for list).

With that amazing record, I have every reason to be encouraged as I read God’s Word in the Bible about what He will bring to pass: evil will be defeated!

2.Pray: Why? Because God wants us to. Because turning our attention to God gives us the right perspective of who is in control. In fact, we’re to pray with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). As we give thanks to God for who He is and what He has done, it reminds us of how He has acted/helped/delivered/provided/comforted in the past, which should encourage us for the present and the future. And God responds to our prayers. (see my husband Alan’s latest TorahBytes message on this subject).

3.Follow God:  While I am not God, I can follow God and live my life in a way to be a light and to make a difference in this world.

While I referred in this post to big-scale evil things in the world, we all have at  some time or other smaller scale problems/negative/hard things in our lives.

In fact it was a smaller scale negative issue that prompted this blog – a negative thing that a loved one is dealing with.

The solution to these personal troubles that we or our loved ones face is the same:

1. Read the Bible.

2. Pray

3. Follow God

It might sound simplistic, but getting right perspective, appealing to the King of the Universe, and then following Him, does make a difference.

I woke up this morning, troubled. I opened my Bible to Psalm 131 and read “I have calmed and quieted my soul…O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”

My soul is quieted. I will hope in the Lord.

Striver toward perfection or laid-back? This applies to all of us.

While there a lot of different types of people in this world, and I believe each person is unique, in the area I have been contemplating there are two types of people: Those who think they are never good enough and strive toward perfection, never feeling satisfied, and those who are what I call “comfortable in their own skin”, who, while knowing they aren’t perfect and aren’t as good as others in various areas, are fine with that.

I happen to fall into the latter category. However even the laid-back type of person that I am can sometimes become uncomfortably aware of their(my) short comings, of areas that need serious improvement, such as when one gets a well-meant (and unfortunately true) lecture on her shortcomings as a mother from one’s adult son…as I did. This particular son is one of my fans and shows me love, honor and respect, so while being brought face to face with my shortcomings in a certain area didn’t feel good, it was easier to take from him than from someone who doesn’t have that “I-am-for-you” spirit.

The specific area being discussed happened to be about my parenting of my youngest two children. Perhaps if you have a whole bunch of children, you too have become more lax (and in my case, too lax) with your youngest? If so, you understand. The following day I was contemplating what he said, and I realized that from time to time over the years I have noticed lacks in this area, had determined to do better, and yet here I was again.

I could have felt that it was hopeless. But I didn’t. Why? Well for one thing each day is a new day and God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23 ). I don’t walk this life alone. As a follower of Yeshua (Jesus), I have God’s Spirit in me, and He is able to help me in my weakness. No matter how many times we fall, we can, by the grace of God, get up and continue walking toward the mark. Not only that, if it is more than a matter of just “improving” in an area, or “doing better,” if it is a matter of sin, John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There is always hope. And my hope today is that God is going to help this laid-back mom pick up her boot straps and raise those last two children with all diligence, to His glory.

Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

As I was blithely reading “The Tale of Two Cities” to some of my children this morning, the phone rang. It was one of my adult sons, who was calling to urge me to write a blog today as it is “Pregnancy Loss and Infant Remembrance Day.” He seemed to think that as I have experienced seven miscarriages in my life, I was qualified to write such a blog. I didn’t think I was and I gave him some reasons. But he maintained that I did have something to say.

So here I am.

One reason that I gave my son for not being the right one to write such a blog, is that in spite of the fact that I have had seven miscarriages, I do have ten healthy children (most of whom are adults – I feel funny calling them “children”). So yes, while I have experienced loss, I have also experienced enormous blessing.

What can I say to the woman who has had only miscarriages, with no living children?

Another reason I did not want to write such a blog, is that each and every person’s story is unique: some might still grieve for that baby (or those babies) that they lost ever so long ago, others might have not really wanted that pregnancy and experienced relief at a miscarriage (and may or may not feel guilt over those emotions), others might have experienced some lost but have gotten completely over it, others…you see what I mean?

What can I say to each situation when they are so different? I myself was in a different space for each of my various miscarriages and I would not presume that all other women felt what I did, or feel what I do.

But then I realized that I do have something to say. I can tell you what I know. It applies to all of humanity, whether you have experienced a miscarriage or the death of a born infant, or have experienced some other trauma, physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.

The best thing you or I or anyone can do is go to God. What I mean is: communicate with God, our caring Heavenly Father. Tell Him your feelings, whatever they may be. He can handle your sorrow, your anger, your confusion, your guilt. Wait in silence before Him, let Him communicate with you. And read His Word, the Bible. Because it is full of wisdom and comfort and so much goodness!

If you are reading this and have no relationship with God, but would like to, I’d be glad to talk with you about that. I couldn’t do life without Him.

Oops!

Due to my lack of technological knowhow, the beginnings of a blog post that I was writing got sent to you. That one sentence was not my post. Please click on this link to read my actual post.

http://wp.me/p4aQVf-7I

Thanks, and sorry for my mistake. One of these days I’ll get the hang of it.

 

Nature Speaks

I took a walk in my favorite spot in Ottawa earlier this week:

2014-09-30 17.31.32

2014-09-30 17.35.18

And then today I took a walk in my neighborhood

2014-10-02 15.45.00

Walking among such autumnal beauty, the blue skies, warm sunshine, beautiful foliage and that wonderful smell of autumn leaves brings to mind a song that I learned decades ago: “La nature me parle d’un Createur” (or “Nature speaks to me of a Creator”).

Babies also speak to me of a Creator! 2014-08-14 09.38.46

A little human life, grown in the mother’s womb, but a completely separate human being with his/her own personality – it never gets old, I haven’t lost the wonder of it after all these decades. Wondrous!

And then these little ones grow! And each unique person with their unique looks, personality, creativity, strengths, and abilities also speak of the Creator to me.

And so I write what is on my heart: thankfulness for such beauty as I have the privilege to see and for such richness of relationship that I have the privilege to enjoy with God, my husband, my children, my friends. And thankfulness for the peace and plenty that we in Canada enjoy at this moment.

But earlier today, I saw yet another video of brutality in Syria – suicide Jhihadists targeted schools and killed thirty children. My peace and the tranquility of my life exists in stark contrast to so much of what I have been reading/seeing of late. Horrifying images of innocent people being massacred.

What to do ? Can I ignore this suffering? God forbid. To start with, I can pray. Then, I can live out the things that God values such as truth and justice and mercy for the oppressed. And I can teach these to my children, not merely as concepts, but to actually live out. And then I can seek God for an open door to help in whatever way He leads.

I don’t feel guilty for living in a peaceful country and being free from fear of brutality or starvation. No, I appreciate it. I am very, very thankful for this. But I don’t want to forget my brothers and sisters around the world that are living a life amid brutality and deprivation.

My goal: to be thankful and appreciative, and caring for others, in prayer and word and deed.