I have a beautiful family. Two precious boys, two wonderful girls. They look great on paper, smiling and laughing, playing with their friends, drawing, reading, normal kid stuff; but underneath, my children have a real, dark struggle with self worth.
I’m not an expert, and I can’t tell you how such a thing develops within an encouraging and supportive family, but it does. I have two children that fight off the personal demons of fear of rejection and self worth. This has been an ongoing issue for a few years, showing up in little phrases like, “He doesn’t want to play with me because he doesn’t like me”, or “I’m just going to fail this test because I don’t remember anything”. Those nagging feelings are nothing more than whispered lies from the devil, and even though I knew that, I didn’t know what to do to HELP them with it.
I felt exasperated when I heard those phrases, again and again, the same words spoken by the same little mouths. I felt helpless to explain to them, helpless to convince them of my love, God’s love, their unconditional acceptance within our home. It became a bitterness because years were going by, and the phrases grew in their stature; before it was “doesn’t like me”, and now it had become “hates me”. Even though my children have been raised in a loving Christian home, they felt like failures, they felt hated by the world. I would get angry and shout out “No one hates you! The world is not against you!” But nothing was working, and I began to feel like the failure. Why couldn’t I get it across to them that what they were thinking was a lie?
But then something amazing happened. My daughter was acting out because she felt excluded from her brothers’ play time, and began to mope around, and lash out verbally to them, to me. I called her into my room, grabbed her hands and looked into her eyes, “Don’t you understand?”I cried out, at the end of my emotional rope. But as I hung my head in silent frustration, I remembered something that was sitting less than two feet away. In a drawer of my desk was a stack of papers that I printed out almost two years ago. On the pages were list of affirmations in God’s word.
I grabbed the stack of pages, handed them to my daughter, and told her to begin reading them one by one until they were all finished. Through tears and jagged, breathy gasps, she began to read. At first I could barely make out what she was saying, but then to my amazement, her voice got clearer, stronger, and she stopped crying. She read the words, and they sank into her heart, and I knew that God had given me my answer.
I have decided that I am going to keep those papers available so that every time I hear those words spoken, I can counteract the lies with the Truth. What my children needed all along was to put God’s word in their heart. Now that I know this, I have the key to helping them to heal.
Today’s guest post is by Lili Morris. She blogs at Infamous Morris – Ducks in a Row.
picture by jon helgason