Operate from Purpose, Not Pain

If god dwells in me, with me, He should be evident in what I say and do. I must remember that He dwells and give Him free reign to respond for me, to say and do what I should say and do. Sometimes that’s hard when people have hurt me. My focus can be on the pain, responding to it instead of the present issues regardless of their merit. I know I’m not alone.

We can take this habit into all our relationships, including parenting, and the pain response only complicates issues. I explore this further in my latest EEW column, which begins below:

I recall only one painful moment at the hands of my parents, my mother actually. She called me snotty. I don’t remember what I had done, but I remember the crush in my spirit when my mom called me a name. There may have been other times, but they haven’t stuck with me.

Overall, my parents encouraged me, provided materially well for me and gave me a good moral foundation. They were good parents. My dad has since passed and was only able to see me parent the first of his grandsons. My mom has seen my husband and me in action, up close this year for the six months she lived with us. Without going into detail let me just say she has tried to impose her parenting methods on me, and some of her comments have been painful. She has even caused me to question my parenting skills.

I can only imagine what impact the pain on those of you who grew up with abusive parents has had on your psyche and all your relationships, including your parenting one. I empathize with you; my childhood painful moment still stings a bit and my adulthood painful moments are still fresh. But in all of your pain and mine, one thing remains true: Jesus died to set the captives free. This is more than us being loosed from Satan’s bound but includes us being loosed from our broken hearts, our setbacks, and our letdowns (Isaiah 61:1-3). We know Jesus is the remedy for all our pain, helping us to parent out of purpose instead of pain. Read the rest here.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Faydra Deon responding so quickly to fixing my website
Tyora responding to fix my site according to our previously worked out conditions
Christen being here to care for the children while I resolved my website issue
Going on a double date with Nicole and Jeremi
Jeremi wanting to preserve the moment with a picture
Attending and covering the EACH Resource Fair
Working with Ruby Bailey
Seeing Charyse flow in her gift on the EACH artists’ stage
Brother Joe telling me how proud he was of me contributing to Your First Year of Motherhood
Seeing LaSonjia and Sterling volunteer with EACH

Control Yourself

Chaos is all around us: scandals in the pulpit and throughout the pews, political unrest around the world stews, educational systems failing and folks bailing from the faith. But we don’t have to look to systems to see this; chaos meets us on our own streets with gang-banging activity (even in the suburbs), rampant drug use, bucked rolling eyes and children who otherwise despise and disrespect their parents. Yes, these unruly children may even belong to us. We can help our children abandon the chaos and prevent others from creating it when we emphasize their need for self control.

I’m not advocating hollering “Boy, you better control yo’self” while jerking the child to you or slapping an older child who you find too big to physically rule. I’m talking about systematically instituting external measures that will help shift their internal system for change that lasts well beyond the days of correcting a single offense. Getting a real handle on the self can revolutionize lives. Read the rest at EEW Magazine.

My One Thousand Gifts List

For toothpaste to clean my teeth
No having to pay to park
A Blue Nile gift certificate that we used for dinner
Indigestion relief
Joshua telling me I’m the best mom in the world
Flynn remembering that I needed and buying me beets
Flynn getting carryout
A nice article on Nichole’s t-shirts
Loving children who love to show affection
Janice showing me what it means to be a loving mom

Envy Drama

What Do You Think? Wednesday

God has blessed me with some great girlfriends. I told you last week that I have friends I can call without hesitation and know they will rejoice with me when I rejoice. For the most part I have evaded the drama that some women friendships bring. There was one major exception to this when I was in college. I had a friend who decided she wanted my life. She stole my organizational ideas, copied my style of dress, flirted with my boyfriend and talked about me behind my back. You know I was in full blown strong black woman mode then so when she kissed my boyfriend as close to his mouth as she could without kissing him on his lips in front of me, you know I didn’t stand idly by. I didn’t hit her, but let’s just say she and most of campus knew that I thought she was an envious backstabber trying to snatch my life.

This Lifetime movie drama just doesn’t happen. More often than not, I believe, envy seeds get planted early in a girl’s life and without the proper tools to dig up the roots that take hold, these little girls grow up to be hateful, covetous women. Click here to read my latest EEW Magazine column about how we can help our children (and even ourselves) deal with envy. What have been your experiences with envy? How have you handled them? Yes, as always, I want to know, “What do you think?”

Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood

The book, the devotional I told you about last year that I wrote 14 pieces for, is available April 1, but you can click the link and pre-order it now through Amazon. I think the book is great not just because I’m one of the writers but because mothers need mothers, especially the new ones do to help them calm crying babies, soothe gassy stomachs, develop routines, maintain relationships, learn to breathe, and a ton of other stuff that only another mother could help with. This 365 day devotional with scriptures and prayers helps new moms negotiate a variety of issues they deal with as they adjust to life with a baby. Friends and family are irreplaceable, but Motherhood is like having 20 mothers serving new moms the real deal right in their own home. This is an invaluable tool that I think new moms would love to have.

The pieces are never preachy but point out how we learned and grew spiritually in our first year of motherhood. If you’re a new mom, get this book. If you know new moms, recommend or buy this book for them. I’m confident that you will be pleased.

Copyright 2011 by Rhonda J. Smith