Child Care not Child Torture

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Just today on the local news another young 20 something boyfriend, living in a hotel room with his girlfriend and her 2-year old son, hurt the young boy badly. The girlfriend returned to the hotel and a locked room. When she finally entered, her son had red bruises and bite marks on his head, face, arms….  Stories like this have a physical effect to my heart…it feels heavy, hurts, I feel sick. I cannot imagine causing such trauma to a child that is unable to protect itself. It is bad enough to mistreat and abuse anyone, but a helpless baby or child is beyond comprehension. Yet, the statistics of a boyfriend hurting or killing the girlfriend’s child/children indicate the frequency of this horrible act. Also, within the last year, a girlfriend overdosed a young 2 year old with cold medicine. It is not just boyfriends…girlfriends can be abusive as well.

My “mom” reaction to this recent incident is to have the person struck and bit like they inflicted on another by someone who is bigger and meaner than them. But that is not the answer, of course. I understand some people have anger issues, are immature, are godless. There are those that have emotional or mental imbalances.  I pray for these children that the memory of these episodes will not harm them for the rest of their lives. I pray that mothers get help and get help for their child/children. I pray that they do not simply sweep the incident under the rug…or WORSE go back living with the man after he is released from imprisonment or….ever.

My message today to single mothers, to any mother who is living with a boyfriend or living with any man (including a spouse) that displays ANY sign of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse to get away, move out, steer clear. There is no law that says a woman needs a man, must have a male figure in her child’s life. I thought this at one time, but thankfully, no one abused my children as I waffled my way through some relationships.

I am begging you….. be single, be alone, and protect your child/children. Money is not that crucial that you must put yourself or your children at risk. There are enough associations, churches, shelters, food pantries, and numerous other types of help that can give you support while you get on your feet.

For those of you in a marriage with stepchildren….love them. If you cannot love them, respect, value, and appreciate them. They did not choose the death or divorce of their parent. They did not choose the marriage. God is watching, everyone, all the time, everywhere. Take a breath, step back, go for a walk….if things get escalated and tense. Pray out loud to Christ for help and guidance. We are responsible for our children. Period. They are not responsible for us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, watch over and protect our little children. I pray that all mommies and daddies embrace the beauty of children and the innocence they possess. Let no one take away a child’s joy and happiness in living. Father God, thank you for Your creation and children. Be with us, in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

 

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Choice and Attitude

Every day we are faced with innumerable choices. We aren’t even conscious of most of them. With a scan of the eye, a creamer choice for our first cup of coffee, a television station as we scan the Guide, make the bed now or later, a parking spot…here or there and on it goes. Each choice presents a certain fork in the road. Some forks are more prominent than others. When it comes to a parking spot that is “here or there”, it is not quite as pivotal as for example, a choice in gossiping or not. We have the power of choice and attitude!

I was reading a daily devotional from http://www.familylife.com and it was another reminder as we begin the week after Easter morning…HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED!…how we will use the beautiful Resurrection of our loving Christ in our marriage and relationships. Here is an excerpt of the devotion regarding a woman who married and then felt she married the wrong person.: 

“A change in attitude – About the same time God began to teach me that I hadn’t married the wrong person. I realized that I needed to become the wife God wanted me to be. For as long as I believed I was married to the wrong person, things just weren’t quite right with me.”

Amen and amen. If we allow Satan to enter the portals of our mind and take charge of our non-stop “personal recorders” in our brain to tell us we made a mistake in a covenant such as marriage, we will begin to feed on the thought and convince ourselves that we should get out while the getting is good. Satan loves to turn our minds to our self needs and wants…what we deserve.

Husbands and wives are faulty sinners. Yes, I get annoyed with my husband and I have the choice to needle him about it or be quiet. I annoy my husband and when he lets me know it, I can choose to either lovingly respond or again…be quiet. Silence is incredibly powerful at the right times. And then I begin to think about the attitude Jesus would have in these situations. I am beginning to get better and better at “showering” people and events with grace and kindness, even when it is very difficult to do so. Each Easter I watch the movie “The Passion of Christ”. The actors were cast so beautifully, it is as if I am actually present in the time. I weep many times through the movie and I need this. I need to be reminded what Jesus did for me out of pure agape love. He died in my place for my sinfulness. Loving Jesus and seeking to model Him, I can seek to have better attitudes and make better choices. 

God bless you…..

When You Hurt Someone

Boy, I opened an email today and was struck speechless by reading someone’s words. A misunderstanding, a mistake, and I really hurt someone. Never ever would I hurt this person on purpose; but I overlooked a personal request. As innocent as it all rolled out, it hurt someone nonetheless. I sent back an explanation and apology immediately, asking for forgiveness, and making attempts to right the wrong.

It’s been a long, long time since I was held suspended in mid-air, with nothing to hold on to, no excuse, no immediate balm or resolution. Has this ever happened to you? Has something happened that you might have had some control over, but it slipped through the “cracks” and ended up hurting people, especially someone you care about? How do we handle this, what do we do?

First thing we do is humbly repent and seek forgiveness. Sincerity is a must. Then we pray to God for help and seek His Word in Scripture. “Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.” Ps 51:9  Mentally, I am beating myself up, asking “How could I have forgotten, how did I miss that, why wasn’t I more careful?” Most of us do this very thing. We continue to berate ourselves, feeling bad, and inadequate. Then there needs to come a time when we know we’ve learned our lesson and now we need to focus on reconciliation, on recovery, on moving forward. Psalm 51:10 goes on: “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”

This person is a long-time Christian “sister” friend of mine. We both know I made a mistake. We both know I am humbled and am following an action plan to take care of what should have been done. I will not do any good by continuing to lash out at myself and use negative words in my head. Indeed, what is done has been done. However, I trust that my prayers to the Lord will be answered and guide me.

If you’ve suffered a similar situation, know that God loves you and wants you to experience these times. We all need to pause and take inventory of what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. We only learn when we are faced with adversity, no growth happens when we are kicking back, enjoying “easy street” in our life. Know that even though the other person may not forgive you, Christ died on the cross for you and me and we are forgiven! Avoid taking on your emotions alone; talk to a godly friend who can help you find your way as you read Scripture, affirming that the only way, the only truth, the only life is Christ. We grieve the error of our ways and then we continue to serve God.

We live, we learn. Above all, we love. During this Easter season, we remember that our human sinfulness tortured and put Jesus to death. We all had a hand in His crucifixion. But through His death and resurrection, we are gathered up and promised eternity with Him! Hallelujah!

God be with you.