Stopping the cycle of dysfunction

***Yes, you probably noticed the blog is different.  I tried to update it a little.  There is still some work to be done, but I am happy with the progress.  Maybe in a couple weeks, my blog and website will be in one spot.  Simplify right?***

Back to this blog...

I wasn't blessed to have faced all of my demons before marriage and incidentally before having children.  So it has become their burden as well to walk this life with me, broken, struggling, full of mistakes.  Just as  my husband hasn't laid down his dark spirits either, but I walk with him through dark times.  Our sweet innocent children haven't had major heartbreak yet, so their time will come.  I am not talking about sin, I am talking about the issues in your life that tear at your spirit, the ones you live with and are afraid to let go of.

For years, I  didn't want a daughter. I was scared she would see the demons.  In true honesty, I am more terrified I am slowly revealing the demons to her and handing them to her in a fun package that will weigh her down for the rest of her life.  I am handing them to her in the things I say, in the way I talk about myself, in the way I talk about other people.  Dark things that don't reflect confidence, or security.  Negative self talk, eating issues and one of my greatest downfalls, comparison.  Always seeing the better in others and the worse in myself.

The first day I had both my boys in school I cried a lot because I missed them.  I was a wreck for awhile, seriously, I didn't think it would be that hard.  But on that first day, I had a friend trying to cheer me up, and she said, "You get all this time with Little.  You have this rare three years of just you and her, and you get to teach her what it means to be a girl.  To be a woman."

My fear and insecurity and treacherous negative thoughts enveloped me at the thought of teaching someone else how to be something I don't even know how to be.  I am to be her role model.  Her example of a woman.  A wife.  A mother.  A christian.  A girlfriend.  A girl.

I took this picture the other night when I was up late, and Little woke up sad.  I pulled her out of bed and crawled on the couch to snuggle her and rub her back till she peacefully drifted back to her dreams.  I laid there looking at this face and just praying to God that I wouldn't screw her up so deeply that even He couldn't fix her.  How do I love her enough to hopefully not pass along all my issues, all my faults, all my insecurity about what it means to be a woman?

And then God slowly spoke in my ear..."give them to me.  You can't give them to her, if you've given them to me."
(what I love about this picture is that by just looking at it, you would never know the doubt, fear, control issues and insecurities that lie deep within someone.  Everyone is more than skin deep.)

See in order to teach Little how to love herself for who God created her to be, I need to face my issues with who I am and love me because I too belong to my creator. It's easy for me to say to my children, "I don't love you because you got a golden ticket at school, or you learned how to tie your shoe, or helped wash the dishes."  The same is true for the mistakes they make.  I don't see the good or the bad, I just see my kid, and I love them because they are mine. (I know they are God's and I do pray that my control issues will always allow me to understand that and not hold on too tight.)  But really, its just because they are apart of me, they are mine.  That is why I love them.  And I know that God would express the same opinion  about me if I dare ask that question and open my ears to hear the answer.

I love that face.  I mean I really love that face and the personality that goes with it and the girl that she is.  I am wholeheartedly in love with my daughter.  That night while she laid on my chest, I just wept.  I want the most for her life.  I want her to love without abandon.  I want her to have real confidence, the kind that comes from knowing that no matter what, she belongs to God Almighty and no make up or boy will ever change that.  I don't want her to be a people pleaser, always bending for the approval of others to the sacrifice of herself.

I deeply wish she won't be a perfectionist like me, never pleased with what she creates because it won't ever be good enough.  I don't want her inner dialog to be negative thoughts that tear at her character and value in this world.  I want her to live a life outside of guilt, unlike her mother, who is a struggling recovery addict to guilt.  I want her to feel comfortable in her body and skin without make up and a dress.  That she could love herself just as much in sweats as she would in glitter.

I deeply desire that she would know that her beauty is far more greater and goes much deeper than her skin. She will be told she's beautiful her whole life, because she is, and I am terrified that it will take her a lifetime to realize that it is her heart and character that make up her beauty.  I don't want her to use her beauty to manipulate people like her mother did in High School.  I don't want her to use her beauty to obtain privileges that aren't rightfully hers just because she has big stunning eyes.

I don't want her to think she has to perform for us to gain our acceptance.  That she needs to be funny, outgoing, creative, exciting all the time, but that truly we love her without those things.  That she could be whoever she wants or needs to be and that is all we ask, for her to be true to herself and in tune with the creator who made her.

I desperately want her to realize that I don't want her to be me, but I want her to be her.  I desire for her to forge her own path.  To find out what being a woman looks like for her.  To love and respect who've I become, but look at me and say, "I want to do things different."

Helping her means having to face my own demons.  Helping her means letting go of all my baggage.  Teaching her means forgiving myself.  Guiding her means loving myself.  Respecting myself.  Believing in the woman I have become.  It doesn't mean perfect, it means respect.  Respect for the mistakes I've made and the forgiveness and understanding I've gained.  It means respect for my body and how it ages.  How I talk about myself will speak directly into her self talk of what a woman is.  Oh man, I am one respect away from quoting the song, so I'll stop before my inner Aretha comes out.

So far this girl has her own strong opinions about everything.  Her clothes, the way her animals should go to sleep on her bed, her hair, her toys, her books, her food.  She has nothing short of the strongest will I've ever seen.  I don't want to break that with giving her my issues.  I want to help train her in how to use that.

I want to help her embrace her life.  I want her to always love food, art, music, people, books, God and her family.  I desire for her character to run deep and her faith to be strong, so that when she is faced with trial, she can confidently stand in the grace she has known all her life.  I prayed a lot that night with my daughter tucked in tight with me.  I let go of my fear and insecurity of raising her.  I held on to my other issues, because apparently I'm not done with those yet.  But I don't look at her with fear anymore.  I look at her with hope.  I am hopeful because I know God is capable of healing me and helping her.  I have hope, and in that hope, I can love my daughter with abandon and fearlessness.  I don't know what "a woman" is supposed to look like, but I look like me, and I'm what she's got, so we'll start there.

And the thing I pray over Little every night is, "Let your insides match your outsides sweet girl."  And I believe God answers prayer.