Be kinder to yourself.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
This was the phrase I kept repeating to my 5th graders this week as we took practice tests all week to prepare for the upcoming New York state English exam. The thought of doing the same thing over and over each day, while they were tired and wanted to do something else made it difficult for them to always give their best effort… The Lord showed me how I was similar them in my daily fight to overcome discontentment, doubt, and other negative emotions that I just can’t seem to shake.
Although this season is a new challenge--harder than any I’ve ever had, I hold fast to the belief that God will never give me more than I can bear. He, Himself comforts me so that I may comfort others. What I go through isn’t just to build me up and prepare me for the next level; What I go through qualifies me right now to relate to another Sister and to encourage and empower young women to keep fighting for their God-given identity. What’s amazing and delightful is that His comfort comes in many forms. This week it came in the form of a friendly reminder--words of encouragement with action items from more than one voice, and an answered prayer.
I recently got connected to an amazingly beautiful woman of God (Channing B.) who ministers to women to through her vlogs. Her content includes a range of topics--relationships, identity, and true beauty--all grounded in the Word of the God. I felt comfortable sharing with her that this past week or so wasn’t the best… God used her voice to encourage me and give me action items to implement to help me grapple with and overcome the negative feelings. She told me to journal how I felt daily for a week, cry out to God, and worship Him. Well… I am stubborn, and sometimes when I’m feeling funky I resent God using people to tell me what I already heard and tried. I said I would do it though, but it didn’t happen quite like that. Nevertheless, God is a faithful father and He knows exactly how to raise His children.
The second voice God used to tell me essentially the same thing was my own. He allowed me to hear myself tell others what He used my new acquaintance to tell me earlier in the week. My daughter has been having a challenging week also. Her behavior at school and at home has been contrary to my expectations. She was simply being disobedient and blatantly disrespectful, and it was back to back! And she just got off punishment last week! Naturally, I started to blame myself and what I wasn’t doing for her and I beat myself up a bit. But I quickly thought of a way to help her make better choices and be her best self every day. I told her she would start keeping a behavior journal, in which she would reflect on her behavior each day and write out her next steps for the next day. Sound familiar? When I presented the journal to her I explained my rationale and that this was a tool not a punishment. It was during that conversation that I was convicted for not heeding the advice of my Sister to keep the journal of my emotions…
The other revelation was the replay of my own voice to my 5th graders: “Push yourself!” Lately I am sick of feeling the same way over and over, repeating unhealthy, unhelpful behaviors, and continuing to fight when I am tired. However, the Holy Spirit convicted me with my own voice replaying in my head… “Push yourself!”
What more could I say except Hallelujah and Yes, Lord!?
Although convicted, I was also comforted knowing God was tending to me in my stubborness. He also answered a very specific prayer that I said this week. I was tired of sharing about my depression (yet here we are) and so I asked God to tell me what He wants His daughters to know right now in whatever season they currently find themselves in. I also asked that it would be relevant to me so that I may share from a personal perspective. Lastly, I asked that it be grounded in the truth of His Word… As I was driving home Friday evening, and thinking about my little girl’s recent behavior He answered that prayer.
My thoughts included: Why does she feel that she needs to act out? Does she not get enough attention? Is she trying to be accepted by people? Does she not know who she is? Did she forget who I am?!
The Lord answered: And you? Did you forget who you are? Did you forget who I am?
Me: (Yikes! and Ouch!) What are you trying to say Lord? (I knew exactly.)
The Spirit of the Lord: My daughters need to be reminded of who I am and of who I say they are.
So from God’s heart to all his daughters reading this (thanks for sticking with me) please be reminded of who God is. He is a good good father. And just as important--be reminded of who He declares you to be. Here are the resources straight from the Word of God, and the action items from me and Channing B.
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