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.