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The Respect Dare, Day 2 – Childhood Scars

Our daughter,Haley, at the beach when she was 3.
Our daughter at the beach when she was 3.

We are continuing on with Day 2 of The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner.  You are welcome to purchase the book and join us.  But if that is not possible, not to worry!!!  You may follow my blog and join us this way, also.  I believe you will still be greatly blessed. 🙂

CHILDHOOD

We all have wounds and scars from our childhood.  None of us had perfect parents – even those whose parents were strong Christians.  All of us, as children, were able to misinterpret situations or words from our parents and end up with a skewed view of God, God’s Word, ourselves or others.  And for those who suffered physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse as children – the scars and wounds are incalculable.

We are all greatly impacted by the examples we had in our parents.  What they did, how they responded to each other and to us, how they spoke to each other and to us, their temperments, their priorities, their faith, their beliefs, their personalities were powerful forces in molding us to become the adults we are today.  In fact, you could say that in many ways, they “programmed us.”  So now, whatever they did, how they thought, how they behaved – is what seems “normal” to us.  And it will come very naturally and feel comfortable to us.

The problem is – not all of it was healthy.  Not all of it was accurate or true.  Our parents didn’t completely represent God and marriage perfectly to us.  If we don’t examine ourselves and our experiences as children, we will not understand where things got off track and what needs to be corrected now that we are adults who can decide what we believe, how we want to live and how to understand God and His Word for ourselves.   We can ask God to “reprogram” us.  That is when the Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts and gives us new minds, new hearts, new desires and a “new man.”  We die to our old self, and take off the “old man” and put on the “new man in Christ.”

Jesus can heal our wounds, scars, pain and fears that we acquired during our childhood!  He is COMPLETELY ABLE!

MY STORY

I have Christian parents who deeply love each other – and still do!  And my parents deeply loved all 3 of their children.  I always knew I was loved.  I was never abused or mistreated.  My parents took my twin sister and younger brother and me to church twice every Sunday and on Wednesdays.  My parents were teachers in the church and my father was almost always involved in being a deacon.

I was and am EXTREMELY blessed to have the parents I had.

And yet, even in the midst of all that was very right, I misinterpreted a few events in my childhood that led me to have a warped understanding of my identity and God’s identity.

When I was 5 years old –  One Sunday morning, my twin sister and I were getting ready for church.  She asked me to buckle her sandals.  I told her, “Buckle your own sandals!  You’re 5 years old!”  And she kept saying “my tights are too tight, I can’t lean over!  Please buckle my sandals for me!!!” and asking me to buckle her sandals for her.

I eventually got frustrated with her and pushed her away.  We were at the top of the stairs.  She fell backwards down the stairs.  I can see the look of shock on her little 5 year old face still to this day.  I ran to my closet and hid.

My Daddy gave me the hardest spanking ever.  I didn’t often get spankings.  But I got one that day.  And I deserved it.  He said, “You should have checked on your sister and gone to get us to help.  She could have died or broken her neck!”

My Daddy was exactly right.  She definitely could have been severely injured or killed by what I did to her.

Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to my parents, the message I took from that day was this:

“I can never say no to someone when they ask me to do something for them that they could do for themselves.  If I say no, they might get really hurt or die.”

And so began my people pleasing efforts.  I also began to think I was VERY powerful – powerful enough to kill someone.  I also interpreted that I was VERY RESPONSIBLE FOR other people.  Me.  Not God.  Not my parents.  Me.

I don’t think there was any way my parents could have known that this was the message I absorbed from that experience.

When I was 8 years old –  My twin sister and a foreign exchange student, Patricia, and I were on top of the monkey bars.  Our classmates, John and Ryan, were climbing up each side like they were going to try to “get us.”  I said, “We need to jump!!!”  We all jumped.

I was fine.

My sister sprained her ankle.

Patricia broke her leg.

For months, I wanted my leg to be broken.

I felt SO responsible for my sister’s injury and Patricia’s injuries.

I thought:

“It is my fault that they got hurt.  I said to jump – and they did.  I am responsible for other people.  I have so much power over other people and I was wrong to say to jump.”

Many nights I would cry and cry because people were starving in the world and I was not fixing it.  I truly believed I was in charge of MUCH, MUCH more than I really was.  I thought I was “sovereign” not God.  My little girl’s mind created a small, weak, tiny, impotent picture of God, and a HUGE, POWERFUL picture of myself.

I did not understand where my responsibilities ended and God’s began.

I thought I was responsible FOR other people.  I thought I needed to be a parent to my siblings.  I thought I needed to fix the problems of the world.

That was a LOT of weight for a child to carry.  How I wish I had understood God’s sovereignty!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Take a few moments and write down or type out your answers to some of these questions.  You may do this privately, or you may share with everyone if you would like to:

– What were the biggest events in your childhood that greatly impacted your view of yourself, of marriage or of God?

– How did your parents interact with each other?

– Was there unconditional love for everyone in the home?

– Was there unconditional respect for everyone in the home?

– Were there healthy boundaries in your home or were people controlling?

– What are the deepest scars and wounds of your childhood?

– In what ways were you “programmed” by your experiences to incorrectly view God, yourself and/or marriage?

Lord,

I pray that You might open our eyes to see the events and thoughts that have warped or skewed our understanding of You, ourselves and marriage.  Expose any lies that we have believed.  Let us embrace Your truth alone.  Heal our hearts.  Help us to learn the truth about You, about ourselves and about Your beautiful design for marriage.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED POSTS:

Boundaries and Control

Playing the Martyr

Controlling with Guilt

The Snare of People Pleasing

Insecurity 

Bitterness

What God Says about You

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