By Denae Jones –
A year or so ago, I was in a hurry and not paying attention when I shut the hatch on the back of our SUV. I pulled it straight down onto the bridge of my nose, so hard that it gashed my nose and knocked me out. The next thing I knew I was waking up with a bunch of kids looking down at me, and blood running down my face.
Not knowing if it was broken or if I needed stitches, my husband drove me to the hospital. Different nurses and doctors kept coming in and questioning me. They kept asking the same questions over and over, as if they didn’t believe anyone could be dumb enough to knock themselves out with their own car door. Finally, one nurse called my husband out of the room to sign papers and another nurse asked, ‘Do you feel safe at home?’ Then I understood. They thought my husband did this to me! I assured them that he is a kind and loving man and would never do this. I just really was clumsy enough to knock myself out with a car door.
This came to mind a lot over the last few weeks when our family was taking emotional hits on all sides. One particular week, some of my kids seemed to be taking the fallout from the actions of others, and it broke my heart. Sometimes people can just be so mean. I was so glad when they would come and sit by me and open up to talk to me about their day. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. It made me thankful that I listened to them talk about all the little things in the past, because when it mattered, they came to me to talk about the big things too.
We had some tough conversations about how doing the right thing is often the hardest thing, and how we have to make sure we are measuring our actions against God’s standards and not the world’s standards.
That next week, my husband and I found ourselves being manipulated by people we had trusted, and the kids saw it all unfold. All the advice we had given them the week before was directed right back at us. They were watching to see how we were going to handle it. Did we just talk the talk last week, or would we walk the walk when it was our turn to face trials?
This was it. This was one of those moments where we had to show them that the Bible isn’t just something to be studied. It’s something to be lived. At this point, letting our children see our positive response to the offense was more important than the offense itself. It was more important than being right. And as it turns out, sometimes doing the right thing really is the hardest. But we have to. As Lisa Bevere once said, “Speak light in the midst of darkness, blessings in the face of cursing, love in the face of hate. Love trumps hate.” So true.
So, instead of talking in private, we spoke openly with our kids about how we planned to resolve the issue. We were not going to retaliate or use ugly words. We were going to take the high road. Because when you stand firm in the truth, and when you keep God as the focus instead of the disappointments, everything else will align. And you know what? It did. I was pleased to see one of those full circle moments take place. Our kids listened to us talk about our big things when it mattered too.
The words from that nurse asking, ‘Do you feel safe at home?’ kept coming back to me. It’s an important question, because when the world beats us up, we need to know that we are safe at home. Not just physically, but emotionally. We need to know there is a place where we are safe to be ourselves. To speak our fears out loud. To be loved through our mistakes. To problem solve together. To be forgiven and to forgive. To feel safe enough to speak the truth. To be heard. To know someone always has our back.
My little one came to me the other day and said, “I don’t know why, but all day at school I just kept thinking of coming home to see you. I felt like I needed your hug.” Then she followed with. “But until I felt your hug, I just felt God’s hug.”
She already knows what it takes a lifetime for some people to get. That same safe feeling we have with our family, we can have with God too. Even when everyone else is gone, He’s there. It’s our job as a family to love and protect each other until we are safely home with Him.
Have a blessed week, friends!