This week, my little girl said some really mean words.
To me, to her brother. Really mean.
Then, my oldest did the same. Just harsh.
The beautiful thing about true love is the way it covers. Today, I can’t even remember what they said, just the way it felt. Hurt my heart. How I give them everything, and they give me these words in return.
But they do it because they know I love them. All the feelings they have, they are safe with me. They can ventilate. I will forgive. I will love, even still.
And I’ve done the same to them, I’m sure. We’ve all done it, said something awful that we kind of meant, but, not really, just because it felt twisted-good for one second to give voice to that thing inside us that would not rest.
And then, you see the other person’s face. And it’s not good anymore.
When my kids do things that hurt me, I don’t try to pretend that I’m invincible because I’m the mom. I tell them. To me, they need to know that they have that kind of power.
They need to know that they have that kind of power.
Hurt people hurt people. And so do people who think they are invisible, ignored, weak, victimized, powerless, unheard. They overcompensate with reactionary hugeness because they feel so small.
This is what I tell my kids. “You hurt me. Those words you said, that thing you did. You really hurt me. Like, I need a minute. I might cry. Because I love you so much, but also because you have power. You have the power to hurt me like that, to hurt your brother or your sister with your words. With your choices. You are not powerless. You can’t just say or do anything you want, because you are powerful. What kind of family do you want? You have the power to make this family the kind of family you want. Or to make it the kind of family you don’t. You are not weak just because you are young. You have power.”
You are not powerless.
They look at me. Then they usually tear up a little. Their hearts, convicted and softened. But it’s not a weakening, it’s an awakening. It’s the kind of cry that shows the birth of strength. I ask them if they remember someone hurting them, someone who had the same kind of power. Of course they do. They don’t want to do that to someone else. They just don’t always realize that they can.
I’m convinced that most people have no idea of the pain they cause in relationships. People have their own pain, and they act out of that place without thinking about how it hurts the other person involved. A lot of times, they don’t have all the information. They don’t know why someone did what they did, and their own insecurity leads them to feelings of rejection, which leads to accusation and judgement of the other. And then, they let them have it. What they deserve. Revenge.
It’s a mess, but I believe it’s most often born out of ignorance.
I’m not excusing it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have boundaries or never hold someone accountable. I just think that indulging feelings of weakness or victimhood or self-pity are much more dangerous than we realize.
Because. We are not victims. We are not weak. We are not pitiful.
We have power. We are powerful.
And when we wield our weapons recklessly because of our own pain? We become emotional terrorists, holding friends and family hostage with our words and our demands and our emotions.
We are powerful.
We have to deal with our junk. We have to deal with our pain.
We have to give up our feeling that we have a right to be offended.
Forgive quickly. Be slow to anger. Love well.
For we are powerful, and we have been entrusted with great things.
Today I’m praying that all of us would be healed of anything that keeps us from knowing our power and wielding it well. For we are warriors, priests, and kings. We must learn the weight and joy of power and true love. We must learn how to wear our crowns. And carry our swords.