A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Going through the hard stuff - article

I submitted this article for publication in a small local magazine that has published several other articles of mine, and I really wanted to post it here.  Some days my topics for submission really fall from real life, from moments in time that are very meaningful - unlike tonight where I watched my toddlers attempt to (badly) sing along with the X Factor.  It was hysterical, but probably only to a besotted mama!  I thought I would put this out on my blog and see what you thought.  (Disclaimer:  Nothing horrible is going on, everyone is good, life is just life, and kids get to learn to deal with unpleasant situations.)

Going Through the Hard Stuff
By Christy Oswald

I honestly think, as a parent, one of the things I have struggled with the most over the years, is watching my children work through difficult situations. Whether it was the unkindness of a friend, the interactions of toddlers, the drama of preteens and teens, it really doesn't matter. We watch our children struggle with the harshness of life, and I find that it hurts ME a great deal.

It is very hard to not step in and react in those situations. I really WANT to. Honestly, I could arrange or fix the situation, take it out of my child's hands, and make SURE my kid simply did NOT have to deal with the ugliness of life.

And, that would be a colossal mistake.

I so want to protect my child, shield him/her from any hurt or discomfort, but honestly, they need to learn to deal with what is sometimes the unkind reality of life. Better that they learn to deal with it while I am close by to lend a listening ear, some advice or direction and certainly some love and support. Oh, but the agony of watching it happen and not just MAKING IT STOP!!!!!

So, I want to encourage you, one parent to another: be there for your child, support your child, but let them find their way through this maze. I always think of it as similar to how we support a young tree. That young sapling is supported by ground wires and all to help it through those winds of the first winter and year. As it strengthens, it is better able to support itself and stay strong, and so we can lessen the support it gets. Eventually, it is a strong tree, that needs no support to withstand the winds of life. Our children are the same way. We need to give support, without taking away their ability to work through and withstand the storms of life. And sometimes that means, loving them as they learn to deal with difficult people and difficult situations. But with each experience they will grow stronger and have more in their toolbag to use to deal with the challenges of life. If we were to always step in, to always just fix it, they would never develop that ability. And they need it. They need to learn to manage those things within the loving support of our family. It is a balancing act, and one that changes as our children age, and that is honestly different from child to child. Follow your gut, think of how you can help them learn to deal with difficult situations, because odds are, eventually, they will have difficult coworkers, bosses, relationships, neighbors, something will happen. They need the tools to be able to manage in these situations. You are aiming to give them the skills for life, not just to get through today.

But, oh, how hard it can be when we want to protect our child from all the hurts and discomforts of life. I get it, I really, really, really do. So, consider this a hug from me to you, as we walk our children through the process of growing up and becoming mature, responsible, caring adults!!!

Christy Oswald is a writer, an animal lover, and a mom to ten. At this point, she has a child in every age range, and some days has seen more than she would wish for. She has been known to sit on her hands and bit her tongue in order to not step in where she shouldn't, and allow her children to work through situations. She probably has the scars to prove it!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Strength to you on a bad day - a message

I hope you will bear with me a little bit.  This is a message directed to one of my daughters, but may be pertinent or helpful to someone else.  It is entirely my thought, and I hope it sends some words of encouragement to someone.

First of all, we all have bad days.  I know that right now today feels like the worst ever.  You are in the thick of things, the emotions, the frustrations, the sadness and hurt.  Today, it feels horrible.  There is no minimizing your day and how you feel about it.  Some days it is just better to take the time to feel it, pull the blankets over your head and deal.  You can hide away some.

But, tomorrow, you need to get out from that hole and go on with life.  I am pretty sure you will feel better about it all tomorrow, or at least have a little bit of perspective on your side.  Honestly, it is amazing what some sleep and a little bit of time will do.  And, if it doesn't, keep going.  Jump right back into life and get going.  That alone will carry you along.

Odds are tomorrow will be a way better day.  Some days your bad day is the result of someone else's bad day.  You get kind of caught in the crossfire.  It happens.  It isn't fair, and it is really, really hard.  Try to extend some grace if you can.  At the very least, try to let it go.  Learn what you have to learn from today, but move forward.  Your life still awaits you.

Know always that you are loved unconditionally.  By your family and your Lord.  Go to your Bible.  Read and immerse yourself in grace and His love.  He will send some peace.  His Word is His love letter to you.  Try to put gentle words in your mouth, turn away from harsh responses (no matter how deserved) and do your best.  It is hard.  It is.  You know how I struggle some times with the same thing.  We are all human, just the way God made us.

I am telling you, from years of experience, that things will look better soon.  I cannot tell you when, but it will.  Most likely tomorrow will be a stellar day.  Seems like that is often the way it goes.  Try to view tomorrow with a fresh outlook.  Be positive.  Keep a servant's heart (I know it is hard at times, I know).  Let your actions show.  Be slow to anger, be slow to use your tongue.  I bite mine regularly some days.  And I am finding that it helps as later on I realize my reaction would have been based solely on emotion rather than reality.  Some days it is better to simply say nothing.

It is really hard when you know that things are unjust, but I firmly believe that these things will show in time.  You do your best, be humble and keep on keeping on.

Please know that I love you.  That God loves you.  That life will look better soon.  I promise.  Please read the Bible verse below, you know it is one of my favorites!!!!  He has YOUR best in mind, always.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11