Kids are funny.

Being the aunt of a beautiful 2 year old has been so much fun. Especially on vacation. We now do so many things that you just don’t do as an adult “kid”: we go sledding, play in the snow, have goofy dance parties, play pretend, and run around singing “Frozen” at the top of our lungs.

But it’s just so fun seeing the world through the eyes of a little child again.

My niece is absolutely adorable. And one of the things that always is so amazing to me is how she remembers everything. And how certain events particularly stick with her.

For example, she got a flu shot several months ago, and her big thing now with her baby doll, is to give them flu shots. That experience clearly had a profound impact on her.

And it got me thinking about my childhood, and surprise, surprise…recovery.

Over Christmas, [when I originally wrote this post] it was really interesting being back in the house I grew up in.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes memories just hit you? All of a sudden out of the blue. Maybe it’s sparked by a sound, or a smell, or a place, but you remember it like just yesterday.

And that happened over break, in my parents’ powder room.

“Raising the Strong Willed Child”

That was the title of a book I discovered on my parents’ bookshelf in their bathroom when I was about 9 or 10. And like my niece’s flu shot, that book title had a profound impact on me.

For I read that title (a reasonably good book for a parent to read) and internalized the notion that there was something wrong with me. That I was defective. That the person I was, was bad.

That was the first time I can remember feeling self-conscious. And it made me angry. Made me hurt. Made me feel like, my parents were keeping this big secret: that they were ashamed of me.

I was with my mom when this memory hit me. And it definitely knocked the wind out of me. And I shared with her, for the first time, that deep wound caused by a stupid book.

And you want to know the irony here: she never even read the book. Didn’t even know it was on her bookshelf at the time.

But I fell asleep reflecting that night. And here’s what was put on my heart.

We are all reflections of our Creator. Every part of us. Even the parts that we may not be so apt to broadcast to the world.

Because they all reveal a glimpse of He who made us.


But let’s call it like it is here: yes, I was a strong willed child.

Hell, anorexia is about as strong willed as you can get.

But that was a negative manifestation of a characteristic that isn’t negative in itself.

A strong will isn’t all bad. Without a strong will, Jesus could have just been like…Yeahhh, I’m notttt gonna go through with that whole Cross thing. Nahhhh.


And in my own life, my strong will has been a blessing in other things too. For example, my decision to save myself for marriage: believe me when I say it has been pretty. damn. difficult. But thank God for that personality trait.

But falling asleep that night, I was also hit with this: I am not defined by anyone other than myself. And more accurately, anyone other than God.

I think everyone has a “Strong-Willed Child” book in their past: some memory or remark made by someone that has wounded their core. Made them second guess their worth and their “goodness.”

And it was just put on my heart that none of those remarks matter. Yes, they can hurt –a lot,– and can be painful episodes to recall. But at the end of the day, you decide what you believe about yourself. You choose whose words hold merit.

And there is one person whose opinion I do value. And that is the One who made me. He tells me that I have incomprehensible worth. That I am good. That I am not defective, or messed up, or needing repair. But that I am His daughter, and it is from that single fact, that I am precious. Nothing I have done, no achievement or mistake has any influence on the fact that I am good because I am His.


That dumb book, that haunted me for so many years, is just that: a dumb book. I will not let a silly little “bathroom read” define how I view myself and my worth. Because if I ever have any question about that, all I need to do is look at the Cross.

188 responses to “WHEN WORDS WOUND”

  1. WOWOWOWOW I have a couple of these in the closet of my mind. One that sticks out to me is when my brother was mad at me one time and he said “Nobody likes you Ellie, you’re such a heifer.” (A heifer is a young cow). I can still remember the setting, the wet snow on my face and how I burst into tears. I can also remember every time my mom told me to sit up straight, to sit with my legs crossed or how I could never do my Saturday chores as good as my sister.
    Wow, those things now seem silly, but I can re-experience them so readily.
    In the past few years, I’ve had to do a lot of forgiving internally. I’m never going to tell my brother or my mom that I still remember these things because they probably wont, but it was important for my growth to still forgive.
    Thanks for this post lady <3

    • Hi Ellie! Oh my gosh, thank you for this reflection. Yes things can definitely stick with us. Yes, forgiveness is such a healing and freeing act. You go girl. And I hope you know that you are absolutely NOT a heifer. You are a beautiful and intelligent and compassionate young woman that I feel blessed to call you a friend. Thanks for reading. Love ya xx

  2. Good post.
    I still remember my Aunt Mary walking in the back door of our home, looking at me, looking at my mom, and saying, “Miranda, you’re skin and bones, but you’ll never be as thin as your mother.” I’m pretty certain that’s the day my anorexia started because I took it as a challenge like, “Wanna bet?”

  3. The tragedy is that you internalized that book and she didn’t even realize it was on the shelf. That hit me like a ton of bricks when I read that.

    I guess my “book” was when my dad has his hands around my throat and my mom asked him what he was doing… then when he walked away, she told me in a hushed voice, “You’re lucky I came in when I did.”

    On a totally random tangent, the one LITERAL book I found in my parents’ drawer when I was putting away the laundry… “Group Sex.” Yep- some images you just can’t get out of your head.

    I don’t know which one was more disturbing for me… : P

    Thanks for sharing. Your honesty is touching.

    • Hi Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear that you endured such an act of violence, especially by your father. You did not deserve hat. You deserve love and to be cherished as the precious gift you are. Thanks for reading my friend. Hugs

      • Thank you. Sad thing is, I thought back then that I did deserve it. I guess the little girl in me still does… Wounds cut deep. But I’m okay now and I raise my children very differently. It’s why I have my 153Promise- to help support mental health issues. I just hope it takes off..

    • Ouch, Jennifer! I hope I may be permitted to respond to you here on BBB’s wonderful blog. Praise God that for all who will receive His Son, we are now IN Jesus, and all of His experiences are ours (including the three most momentous, His crucifixion and His resurrection and His ascension. (Yep! Even that last one is true; see Ephesians 2:6.) Everything else is the old self which believers put off and deny every day while we put on our new self which is of Christ. The more we know, believe, and walk out God’s glorious truth by faith, the more we “see” Jesus and the more others see Jesus through us… God bless you!

  4. Precious reminders. Why can’t we just learn that lesson and grow from there?! It’s like that proverbial painful tooth our tongues or food gravitates to. We self accuse as much as Satan accuses. It’s easier to let it all roll off and shake it when we are healthy, feel strong and optimistic. My best balm is keeping my eyes on Jesus the Author and perfecter of faith. He is the only unchanging variable. Always sweet. Always a great listener. Never tires of my need for Him, in fact He does His best work when I just cast all my cares on Him.

  5. It is amazing what influences us. We often refer to big events that “changed our lives,” but sometimes it’s the small “nudges” that define our course in life. Great post and thank you for always giving the greatest credit to Him!

  6. For the eleventy billionth time, I needed to hear this reassuring truth tonight:

    “And there is one person whose opinion I do value. And that is the One who made me. He tells me that I have incomprehensible worth. That I am good. That I am not defective, or messed up, or needing repair….Nothing I have done, no achievement or mistake has any influence on the fact that I am good because I am His.”

    Thank you! Love your blog!

  7. Thank you for the reminder that I color my own reality by the stories I tell myself about my experiences. I can’t change what happens, what people do, or the things that are said to me, but I can tell myself a different story… I can frame the context differently, just as you reconceptualized your powerful, amazing, strong will, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

    When I was home for Christmas, I was trying to process some childhood trauma, and when I attempted to talk to my brother, who is only two years younger than me, about it, he denied remembering some of the worst experiences that I continue to carry with me to this day. Then he added, “I think it’s probably been distorted by your memory.”

    Reading your post reminds me that it doesn’t matter if my brother and I don’t hold the same views of our childhood. I don’t need him to validate my experiences. Whatever happened is in the past, and God understands it all. I choose to trust his plan for me.

    • Hi Lulu. Thank you for this thoughtful reflection. Yes you can! And you are so right. You don’t need validation for your feelings. They are real and worth “unpacking.” Because you are worth having freedom from the last. And you’re so right, Gods plan is good and perfect. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued readership:) hugs my friend!

  8. Very touching and uplifting post.

    I hid an eating disorder (bulimia) when I was in high school. When I went to college I made myself stop doing it. Those times were lonely. Many, many years later I ended up telling my mother about it, and she said, “I wish I could have helped you at the time.” In some ways it was healing — my mom would have done anything for me — but in other ways it made me wonder, why couldn’t I have just asked her for help? Shame I guess.

    Occasionally I reflect on it because in the 18 years after I got over it, I have been diagnosed with some mental illnesses. I ask myself (and now professionals), do they all stem back to when I had the eating disorder? Forever, trying to figure it out…

    Great that you are recovered and get to enjoy time with your niece! And that you put so much belief in God.

    • Hi Robin, thank you for this heart felt reflection. I’m so sorry that you endured bulimia. No one should have to endure the bonds of ED. You’re right, there’s so much healing to be found, and yet, it is hard to come to those we love for help. I can absolutely relate. But I’m so glad you did. Good for you 🙂 thanks for reading, friend. Hugs and love to you xx

  9. Wonderful post…amazing that you are gaining this insight already. I packed these things deep in my soul, as did my husband, and we lived for many years responding to the hidden stories rather than the Truth of the present. It nearly destroyed us…but we drew a line in the sand and said no more. I spent many years claiming to get my worth in Christ, but I really didn’t… This is inspiring!!! HUGS.

    • Hi friend, thank you for this response! I can definitely relate: it is hard to bring the truth to the surface. I’m so glad that you and your husband have worked through things and made it work. That takes a lot of courage and commitment. That is inspiring. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs 🙂

  10. It’s crazy the impact something so small can have….many times have I found myself pondering the miniscule but forgetting the big picture. Like you said, the only opinion that matters is Christ’s. Very encouraging, my friend. Thanks for sharing!!! Also, keeping oneself pure until marriage is exactly as you said…HARD. Never thought it would be this difficult but it is. I know it will be worth it tho…just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in it!

    • Hi Matthew, I know! It’s crazy the lasting impact such little things can have. You’re right: we need to remember Who’s opinion really matters. And thanks for that but of encouragement. It’s nice to know there are guys out there doing the same:) glad you stopped by. Happy Friday!

      • It’s what I struggle with most! At one end of the candle I hate people’s opinions but on the other end I love them. The wicked webs we weave lol. You’re most welcome! Thanks for being a faithful follower on Confessions. It’s been encouraging seeing you interact and I’ve loved reading your work! Happy Friday to you as well!

  11. Great little read and powerful. I was drawn in to article, truthfully by the picture with the caption; “The ax forgets but the tree remembers.” I, like most have been deeply hurt by words in ways that would be incomprehensible to those who delivered them. Recently, I’ve begun a study of the Laws of Proper Speech; a collection of teachings in Judaism by the esteemable sage the Chofetz Chaim. One of the principles in the concept is that speech is the most powerful tool that the Creator has given us; that we literally have been given a share of power related to creation itself. Evil speech is considered a mortal sin in Judaism, and affects one’s place in the World to Come. An interesting idea when compared to the teachings of Paul. “Meditate on (things pure)”…Like you, I’ve had to cling to the words of the Father in order to overcome the pain inflicted on me through the years by otherwise “well-meaning” people.

    • Thank you so much, David, for this thoughtful response. How interesting! And wow-I’ve never thought of that, but speech really is a frightfully powerful tool we’ve been given. You’re right: our Heavenly Father’s words are true and reveal our worth and are salve to the soul. I’m glad you’re finding that healing and freedom:) thanks for taking the time to read! Have a beautiful weekend, friend 🙂

  12. I’m so glad you could talk with your mom about it now.

    The rest of what I’m thinking and feeling … I can’t put into words. It makes me wonder how many stupid things I said or did that affected my kid like that. So many mistakes. I can’t undo. I’m in tears wondering … Hurting for all I did, little things that caused them pain.

    If only I could have a redo…

    I can’t.

    I can only ask forgiveness when they tell me about them. I can ask God to show me and deal with them one thing at a time. But I can never undo what has been done.

    • Hi Kathleen, thank you for this reflection. It sounds like your are a very loving mother. I definitely wonder about how my words have affected others too, but I always have to remember that a) I’m human. And that b) it’s never too late to talk about something or to reconcile. And that healing is always possible. Thanks for reading this morning. Hugs and love to you.

      • Unfortunately, it’s not always possible.

        I think about the times I yelled at my son, the things I said that hurt him. Now he’s dead. Yes, the last few years we had a wonderful relationship. He knew I loved him and he loved me.

        But I can’t apologize for so much. I can’t tell him how sorry I am for my failings.

        My point, life is too short to hold onto junk, we don’t know if we will have tomorrow to apologize. So I try to keep short accounts and to quickly forgive and ask forgiveness. I want to say I love you often and I sorry when needed. I don’t want my own pride to keep me from making amends whenever necessary.

      • Oh Kathleen, I am so sorry for the loss of your son. That is heartbreaking. I cannot imagine a mothers heart having to endure such a tragedy. Thank you for sharing the wisdom you’ve gained. That is a beautiful life practice you’ve adopted. One that is not only loving and compassionate, but also incredible freeing. I wish i could give you a big hug right now through the computer. One day we will be reunited in heaven with our loved ones, and you will be able to tell your son everything that is in your heart right now. Sending so much love xx

      • “He dances for the King of kings.” What a truly beautiful and touching poem. It got me choked up. He’s smiling down in love, reading that poem. ❤️thank you for sharing that intimate part of your heart xx

      • Thank you for reading it and sharing with me. It helps to know there is so much more after this beautiful, wonderful grace-filled life! Even more beauty, wonder, and grace in the eternal life yet to come!

  13. I’ve been sorting through the stories I tell myself about who I am too. It is so hard to discard what we have long believed to be true and replace it with what we know is true today. Whenever I get stuck in a negative thought process, I think “What [cassette] tape are you playing? What one should you be playing?” I love your tape about being perfect in His creation… might have to copy that one. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration today.

    • Thank you so much, Ruth. Oh you are so right. The tapes we replay definitely impact how we view ourselves. what a comfort to remember that we are His children and that He gives us our worth. Thanks for stopping by this morning. Hugs!

  14. You wrote: “… He tells me that I have incomprehensible worth. That I am good. That I am not defective, or messed up, or needing repair. But that I am His daughter, and it is from that single fact, that I am precious. Nothing I have done, no achievement or mistake has any influence on the fact that I am good because I am His.” … beautiful words and full of truth. Thank you for sharing!

  15. One of my moments was my mom saying to a family friend who lived with us at the time, “The kids were horrible today. I just want to throw them all in the trash.”

    I love the strong willed bit. A few years ago before my first marathon I was talking to a friend about how afraid I was of the “mental wall” they say you hit at Mile 19. My friend stopped me and said, “You have an EATING DISORDER and you are afraid of a mental wall?!? You are one of the strongest people I know – you have nothing to be scared of.” It stuck with me and is one of the first times I started to see how God can bring good out of all these struggles.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this reflection. You’re so right, God does brig the good out of every situation. And wow a marathon! That takes an incredible amount of strength and yes, mental will! know that you are not deserving of the trash–you are precious and loved and a gift. Hugs and love to you xx

  16. This is so true! When I’m blessed enough to talk to the person in question about it, it was something completely different or we were able to work it out. For those moments that I don’t get to receive an answer… I just work to let go. Peace.

  17. “…at the end of the day, you decide what you believe about yourself. You choose whose words hold merit.” What great and true words!
    I have my own memories that made me question who I really was. They came from someone who I respected mightily and for a long time they defined me. I am realizing that is only because I allowed those words to define me and maybe it is time I stopped it.

    • Hi Joseph, thank you so much for such a thoughtful response. You’re so right: you decide the words that are allowed to define you. What a powerful thought that is. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  18. I’ve been feeling it growing in you, BBB. It’s coming closer. I’ve been waiting so long for it, it’s like a blockage in my throat and I’m trying to hold back the tears until it comes out.

    (Hallelujah! I am free!)

      • Yes, well the beauty of you should shine without shame for it is the beauty of the life that the Lord created! Its not something to advertise for status or profit, but neither is it something to be hidden, particularly when it is the best vehicle for expressing your joy!

        What struck me so painfully is how it seems that the thoughts that almost destroyed you came from within. It was as though you felt unworthy for the gifts you had been given, until it didn’t matter whether you were worthy or not. You chose life, wholly and truthfully as God meant you to be.

        I’m sorry if that’s stretching too far.

      • Amen to that, Brian! That reminds me of the verse that you don’t hide a light under a basket. Because our light comes from Him! And you’re right. You’re not stretching it too far, at all. My recovery — true recovery — came when I was able to embrace my worthiness. And accepting that is still a process and journey I am on. Thanks again, Brian.

  19. Yes, I think we all have something that is inconsequential to everyone else but makes a massive impact on each of us has a child.

    It’s great that you are coming to terms with that moment from your childhood. Most people bury it deep within their mind.

    • Thanks Harry! Yes, it’s crazy how little things can have such a lasting impact. But you’re right-the freedom of letting go is amazing. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insight this afternoon 🙂

  20. Great post. There seem to be two kinds of people in the world, those who know grief, hurt or rejection, and those who don’t. Many people like myself have found themselves on both sides. The person I was before my son was killed couldn’t possibly understand the person I became after. I said stupid things that I thought were helpful when I didn’t know what grief could do to a person. I was impatient and demonstrated limited compassion. I wouldn’t have seen that book as being a problem. Unfortunately many people go through life with blinders on, they just don’t know any better..until such a time comes where the roles are reversed and suddenly their eyes are opened. I believe we were created to pursue our Father and its in him that we find our true value.

    • Hi Gene, thank you for sharing this thoughtful response. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I find comfort in knowing that we will see our loved ones again some day in Heaven. You’re right, sometimes it takes life changing events for our blinders to come off. What freedom to know that it is in our Father that we find our true value. Sending lots of love. Thanks for stopping by xx

  21. Loved this! How many times do we let someone’s comment change our opinion of ourselves? An art professor’s criticism of my sketches made me put that away for years, believing I was not good enough. I am finally back drawing again for the sheer joy of it and to think that I let him influence me that much is just sad. Not again!

    • Thank you, Kay. You’re so right. Oh, I’m glad that you’re drawing again! That makes my heart so happy. Yes, we need to embrace what brings us joy 🙂 thanks for sharing this! hugs to you!

  22. What can I say, this is another beautifully written post 🙂 I think in one way or another, everybody is strong-willed. But you are correct, that does not mean a bad thing 🙂 I am also relieved to hear that your mother did not know she had owned that one book that bothered you 🙂 Also remember that you are very strong and no matter how painful your past was, you need to remember that you have more than overcame it and you found redemption in the best way possible through our creator as you so often state on this site 🙂 That alone is a major achievement 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thank you so much John. Yes, I absolutely owe everything to our Heavenly Father. He is our strength and hope and source of healing. Thanks, as always, for your incredibly kind and uplifting remarks. It really is so appreciated, John. Have a great weekend!

  23. Incredibly so, people forget who they are if they start look at society’s dumb standards. You should be around of who you are and what you have become, because reading this post just shows how a beautiful person you are and how lucky your family is to have you by their side.

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much MSW. I appreciate your kind words! The holidays always tend to be a time of reflection and recalling memories. Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to reading your post!

  24. Such an encouraging post! May God bless you dear sister! Most of the time it’s a fight in our mind. We imagine things hat are not there. But thank God for His healing for only He can truly heal every wound, every heartache every pain.

    • Thank you so much adina:) you’re so right: it is definitely a battle in the mind, but thankfully Jesus is stronger than any fear or anxiety we may have. Learning to trust and surrender is the key. But you are right: He is the ultimate healer. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  25. Thanks for this post BBB. I remember, when I was a child and living in an extended family, I had an aunt, who was actually like the head of the family. And, she while introducing my 7-12 year old self to distant relatives or random strangers would say, ‘ she is very sensitive and shy’.. For the first time when I had heard that I was surprised! I was a calm and composed – well behaved kid, but I don’t think I even knew the real meaning of being sensitive or shy. In the future instances, those statements started wounding me and I actually started to get inside a shell. Even to date, I have social anxiety ( thankfully, not at workplace), including social media anxiety lol! Though I don’t see it in a negative way, I would have blossomed into a ‘strong willed child’, if I had not gone through those frequent affirmations.

    My aunt is no more now and I have forgiven her for many such instances. And, now I try to think about the good things these instances have brought. Such as, I became an introvert which is actually my strength now. I enjoy meditating, contemplating and praying and I suffer more.. all of those I can give to Jesus.

    Thanks again BBB for a wonderful introspection..

    With much love,

  26. Thank you so much for this! 🙂
    This is for all those comments that keep nagging in our heads and picking at us constantly or popping up out of the blue every few years…
    We all need a few reminders now and then that we are not defined by comments or opinions, even if they are of our own.

  27. Wow! I really love your blog! I don’t have an eating disorder, or any health problems that I know of, but what you are saying is soo inspiring! Because even though I may be a perfectly healthy person on the outside I am just as broken as anyone else on the inside. Really love your stuff!

    • Oh thank you so much Calaischerie! Your kind words really mean a lot. I think we’re all just on a journey, and sometimes it’s nice just to get a little nudge of hope or encouragement every now and then 🙂 thanks again for stopping by and sharing this. Hugs to you xox

  28. Omg my 20 yr old daughter needs to read your article …I think she could relate.She has or should say has her battles ..she suffers from depression and it breaks my heart. if only she new her worth ..she is so loving and and such a beautiful person mind and soul like I feel you are.

  29. Great post! We so often let the things that aren’t important define who we are. Excellent reminder that the one who IS worth it says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

  30. Tears. This has brought back memories! I wrote a similar post this week but it was more on words said by spouses. You write beautifully! Following! Denise

  31. What a great read. The post itself provided insightful thoughts and knows insightful thoughts came from a very intelligent human being. Those very thoughts proved 3 things. Number one when God made the cross key provided way of victory to overcome any and all trials. Number 2 those thoughts prove that there is an intelligent designer that created such people like yourself. Number 3 and the final reason why I think that was insightful thoughts are the most important thing is because after reading this blog post by things you’ve all convinced us that we all want to become pink starburst. Keep writing, you do good work.

  32. This post also spoke to me. My “Strong willed Child” thing was my father reading my diary when I was thirteen years old and he put shame and fear on me saying my mother would be put in hospital if she read my diary. I went out hurting myself for years after. By the way I just released the post now with your tweet imbedded. It’s called “Difficult Questions in Times of Crisis”

  33. WOW. I literally have had this same experience (maybe all parents hide their parenting books by the toilet?? idk. ;)) Although, the Lord allowed me to talk to my mom about it really soon after it happened. I am so sorry that you had to wait years for that! But, I know God had a purpose for it, whatever it may be. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Thank you so much Sarah! Haha you’re funny:) I’m so glad you were also Able to talk to your mom about it. You’re right- God uses everything for good and has a purpose for everything. Thanks for stopping by xox

  34. Profound. Brought up my own memories of childhood. I was the kid everyone teased, made fun of, etc. The outcast. I “divorced” myself when I went to high school. None of the people I had grown up with were there. I took that opportunity to bury that horrible little kid with all of the mean nicknames deep, deep somewhere he’d never get out. Eventually I just became me. I forgot about all that and finally got on with life. It’s amazing, the baggage that history packs.

    • Hi Jeffrey. Gosh, kids can be mean. That’s one of the worst things about growing up. I always have to remember that when I pick the kids up that I nanny for. Even though I may think “oh they’re kids, what could they possibly have that makes life less than rosy?” I have to remember that kids can be mean at their age and I just don’t know what their day at school was like. I’m so glad you let it go–because you’re an incredible guy with a lot to offer. Baggage be gone☺️ and I wish I could go back and stick up for you to those cotton-headed-ninny-muggins☺️ no one messes with my friend! ☺️☺️☺️ have a great weekend Jeff

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