Friday, August 14, 2009

The Messages We Live

Today I had the opportunity to talk to a young lady that I love very dearly. She's been making some poor choices lately and struggling with some emotional issues. She's been dealing with way too much at her age and has really been forced to grow up way too fast.

In our time together, today, I had to be grateful for the opportunity that God was granting to me. I wanted to be sure that I was giving her the messages that He needed her to hear at that time, rather than whatever agenda I may have chosen. I pray that I used the right words and that I am a living example to her of everything I said. Reflecting back on our conversation, I am convicted to really look at the example I am setting, every day, for those around me.

During our talk, I shared with this girl how special she is and I told her of God's amazing plan for her life. I told her that God knew every single thing she would ever do before she was ever conceived. I told her that God knew what she had done and that He knew all these things before she did them. I also told her that God knew how it would all turn out and how her life would be tomorrow, next week, next month and next year - even when she was an adult with a family of her own. I told her how much God loves her and I told her that God loves her unconditionally. I also told her I love her more than she can imagine.

I tried to recognize and acknowledge her struggles, as a teenager - especially with her parents - and demonstrate some compassion, while not allowing her to make excuses for her decisions. I tried to tell her she isn't alone in her conflicts with the "parental units" and that all teens struggle with this. Heck, I even told her that parents struggle with this because it just sneaks up on us - even though we know our kids will someday be teens from the day they're born! At the same time, I had to remind her the importance of respecting and honoring her parents' direction over her life. Even if she disagrees with them she must respect them because they are her parents.

As I talked with her, it broke my heart to see that she feels so empty and to not understand why. I see her question her significance and her self worth. I see her reaching for the things of this world. I see her questioning her beauty, her intelligence, her ability to cope. It kills me to know that she is searching for some sort of connection and that she thinks she will find it in the wrong places. I reminded her of the people in her life that are willing to connect with her, if she will only let them in.

At this moment, right now, as I type, God is convicting me. I feel Him telling me that I too, question myself and try to fill voids. I question my beauty, my significance in the world, and there are times I doubt myself as a wife, mother, a student, a social worker, a daughter and a friend. I, all too often, resent my body and make excuses for goals not met and duties not fulfilled. I question my significance in the eyes of God, my children, my husband, and this world. So, I am really no different than this young person, am I?

God is telling me that I do not always live out a Godly example for her, my daughters, my sons, and other people I interact with on a regular basis. I need to ask myself "Are people really seeing Jesus in me?" Do I live out my faith every day - trusting that God will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go or do I fall back to relying on myself and my own understanding and my own will? When I am feeling fat, ugly, out of shape, irritable, under-appreciated, stressed out, frustrated, angry, hurt, sad - am I being a living example of Christ? No. I'm not being Christ-like in these moments. That's the truth and sometimes the truth really does hurt.

Funny what situations God will use to speak directly to us, huh?

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