When did it happen? When did she go from puffs and polly pockets and princess dresses to real life? She’s going to be 13 this year and when I look at this picture, I can’t tell who is who!
Jeremy threw a word out to me this weekend when I was complaining about something: Guilt. It stopped me dead in my tracks. That’s it. It’s guilt. Guilt that burrows its way inside from the moment you deliver your first baby. It can start to grow quickly and deeply so that you may not even recognize it when it surfaces in the form of different emotions. Why am I angry and snapping at my spouse? Why am I feeling unsettled about this or that decision? Why am I sometimes sad for no apparent reason? When he said this word, it’s the moment when everything stood still and a rush of emotion wanted to drop me. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt that I am not focusing more on my spouse when he deserves it, guilt that I am leaving my kids alone too much to now fend for themselves in this new phase, guilt that I am not walking the dog enough! This guilt lets me know that I am not doing enough for my kids at helping them build friendships and not scheduling enough activities for them. Guilt lets you know that you are not being a good enough daughter to call and check in or visit, guilt that accuses me of buying myself a cute dress or getting a pedicure when I don’t really need it. Guilt that says “enjoyment comes with a price, watch out”, guilt that I am not spending enough time with God, guilt that what I did in my past couldn’t surely result in me having happiness for my future. Before you know it, this guilt is pulling you around with a chain around your neck leading you in the direction it wants to take you, whispering lies and deceitful thoughts. It wants to destroy your present and it wants to destroy your future because as it whispers to us daily, “I’ve already destroyed your past”.
Guess what I realized in hearing this word “guilt” and letting it rise to the surface? I realized it’s this “GUILT” that is causing me to stumble around angry at those I love most, causing me to feel sad when I have everything to be happy about, unsettled when I am perfectly content. I am angry at myself because I’m being told by this one word that “you’re not good enough”. And to go one more level deeper, guess what this leads to? Performance. “You’re not good enough so you need to perform in order to BE good enough.” What? Oh my. There it is. I’m striving to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend all in the name of performance driven lies. I’m being told “if you focus on doing more, more, more for others, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be good enough to arrive.” And we all know we will never “arrive”. I am striving instead of abiding. I’m being led by lies instead of driven by truth. How could I be duped and how can I stop this from continuing? By acknowledging and admitting this lie.
I am told that I can come to God as a “living stone”, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious (Romans 2:4)! I am told that I am a chosen generation, that I have Christ’s direct blood line flowing in my veins, and I can praise Him because He has called me out of darkness and into His amazing light (Romans 2:9)! I don’t have to carry the weight and sins of my past generations back and let it seep into my life and marriage and family present. Because of that direct bloodline to Christ, my performance is already good enough! I am told in 2 Peter that God’s divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Him! I am told in I Corinthians 4 that it is GOD who commands light to shine out of darkness. I am told we are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed! I am told that “we walk by faith and not by sight”. Faith. It has circled all the way back around to faith.
When I look at this picture of my little baby girl, who’s slowly becoming a life of her own, I don’t want to teach her guilt but faith. Faith that everyday God will lead her. Faith that when she feels crushed on every side and when friends have let her down and when she doesn’t feel special, faith that God is working out her story, her life. Faith that her direct bloodline is Christ and because of this she doesn’t have to have fear or have insecurity or have guilt or perform to win His love or the love of others. She already has it.
And maybe I can take a lesson in that, too.