showing honor toward the un-honorable

I was talking with a friend the other day who was sharing with me some very painful parts of her early childhood. An only child to an abusive father, a mentally-ill, perfection-driven mother…the loneliness, the shame, the pressure…the results and consequences of living through those circumstances…some of which still linger to this day…

She was expressing the desire to somehow start processing it….maybe she could write a book…or start talking to others….not only for her own healing process, but in order to encourage others. But after she finished sharing this with me, she stopped…pausing and staring blankly down at her feet…and then said, “but I guess it’ll have to wait until both my parents die first.”

_______

I recently spoke with another friend who was sharing her affection for an up and coming Christian author/speaker. She shared some high points about the things that she had been learning and some areas of growth she had been challenged in by that author. But at the end she mentioned that in some ways her respect for this individual has waned as she has continued to watch this speaker/author be so outspoken about the faults in others.  From the stage she emphatically and jokingly makes cutting remarks about those who have hurt her and holds back none of the details in openly mocking people who have done her wrong.

_______

I spoke with a man who has recently gone through a painful divorce. His ex-wife has taken the liberty to speak incredible poorly of him to his family, children and friends, yet he refuses to do the same. He feels trapped, not wishing to gossip or slander in return, but comes alive at the thought of allowing his pain to help others in their own divorces. But he is afraid of saying too much. He stays quiet. He refrains from helping others because he fears his words will be perceived as gossip.

_______

I wrote my article about hardness of heart and what’s happened in my family and have struggled immensely with similar thoughts. How do I speak of these circumstances, and yet not be disrespectful toward those involved? How do I practically show honor and share of my own journey through these hardships without drawing unnecessary attention to my father or my mother?

These types of questions are proving to be a challenge to work through…but I’m convinced there must be an option other than to stuff it away and remain in isolation, or just resort to blasting all details from the rooftops…

_______

For me personally, more than ever I am ready to move in, through, and on from this struggle.

Although I cannot speak for anyone in my family, I feel as though healing for me from my broken family relationships has and continues to happen more and more each day.

After 2 decades of struggle, the broken shackles of my wrecked family life are finally OFF. It’s weird in some ways, but it almost feels tangible, as if my body, soul and mind now knows to live free. I know now without a doubt that I am to be who God has made me to be no matter the choices of those in my family.

I am free to speak of Jesus and my life, without the fear of others perception of me. I’m ready to speak of the brokenness, most importantly my own, in order that Christ might be made known in the midst of this sorrow. Like the apostle Paul, if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30) not the weakness of others.

In the midst of this, although I now know that I am free, I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to speak poorly of others. The word is clear that we are to show honor…and just as I wrote in my marriage article, showing honor sometimes means toward people that have not been honorable.

How can we share painful parts of our lives and still honor people who have hurt us?

How can we show respect toward people who are not living respectfully?

Is there a way to talk through the trials of life that involve other people but do so in a dignified way?

Or should we all just wait to process, wait to heal, wait to help others until that person dies?

If that person is no longer living does it now make it appropriate to share openly about what he/she has done wrong?

Does that change the “rules”? Or should we all stay quiet and silent until our own graves?

This is just as much “real time” for me as it is for anyone else…but I’ll share what I’ve got so far on these issues….

  1. speak from your perspective: There is freedom to make mention of what has occurred, but make every effort to quickly move past others’ specific actions to focus more on how you are processing things instead. Avoid bad mouthing as it will only cause more damage. Focus instead on you, what you’re learning and how the Lord is leading you.
  2. keep it generic:  For example, sharing generically about the things you have learned  in the midst of your struggle, encouraging others against common struggles and how you are growing in the midst of those struggles
  3. see your heavenly father as the only perfect one: In order to heal and move forward it is crucial to know God is the only one who will never fail. This gives us the freedom to forgive and the release to not hold anyone to a standard they cannot ever meet. When those we love fail, let it be a reminder to look upward.
  4. find ways to be thankful: There is likely something, even if it’s small, to be thankful for in the person who has hurt you or caused you harm. Find those few things and if you must speak of that person take the opportunity to voice those things instead of choosing to slander. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  5. give grace: It’s always easier to give grace when we are aware of how much we also need it. When we forget how much we have sinned it is easier to feel that we can hold someone else in contempt. But we have been forgiven MUCH, which means we can offer grace even when, especially when, it is not deserved.
  6. create something new: Maybe you had a broken home or major “daddy issues”, maybe you struggle to find anything good at all about your childhood or about your circumstances growing up, but instead of growing bitter, use those thoughts to focus your efforts on creating something new. Make your home into the grace filled, God honoring home you’ve always desired. As you continue to let go of the “old”, allow yourself to be creative to pour into the new. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9
  7. serve others: Be intentional to use your words to edify and to encourage others. If you speak of painful circumstances or heartbreaking stories, find ways to encourage those listening and to build up and strengthen those who hear you. I cannot think of anything that is truly gained when we spend our time using words to tear down. Focus on building up and strengthening others instead.
  8. forgive: Forgive those who have hurt you, and after you’ve forgiven, forgive again and again and again. But be sure to define what forgiveness is: Forgiveness does not condone, excuse or permit. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation and it does not mean you continue in a relationship…but it does give your heart freedom and allows the Lord to heal you. Forgiveness allows you to see what good the Lord can do in the midst of sorrow and takes the focus off the pain. Forgiveness comes at a high cost, but gives us hearts that are glad and hearts that are thankful. Revenge is not for us, that is not our burden to carry. “O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.” Jeremiah 20:12

respecting those who are not respectable| meg marie wallace

love Meg Marie signature

top 6 BEST early parenting books

I’m no longer in a season of having tiny infants in our home, but I wanted to pass along this list of my FAVORITE books that have helped shape the mother I am (or at least the one I strive to be). These books are all different and meet different needs, but if you’re heading into a season of starting a family, are expecting a baby now, are in the throws of motherhood (like me) or know someone who is in these early stages these books are great, great resources. I hope they are a blessing to you as they have been to me!

Admittedly it took me a bit to really figure out what kind of mother I desired to be. At first I simply took notes from those who started families before me and with how long it had taken us to become pregnant, over time I had built in my mind the image of the perfect mom I was sure to be…”oh I’ll NEVER do that” or “I’ll for SURE do that!”…”Oh I cannot believe she did THAT!”….and then once I actually became a mom, I quickly realized that motherhood takes far more than a pipe dream and a snap judgment. Motherhood has a way of breaking you, of making you realize that sometimes you have absolutely nothing left. Motherhood is glorious in all of its lovely ways…but it can also crush you at the same time.

These are some of my all time favorite absolutely necessary books for moms and motherhood. These books gave me perspective, hope, and the knowledge that I wasn’t alone. Obviously there are so many books in different categories of life that I can’t wait to recommend as well, but for now, this is just for the mamas!

I’ve put them in the order in which I feel they are needed due to stage of life. If you’ve read (or heard) of any of these please comment below and let me know what you think!

1. Baby Whisperer

This book was written by a woman who served as a nanny for over 1,000 babies. She was diagnosed with cancer and before she died wrote this book. It has radically changed my life. I don’t mean to sound dramatic in the least, but it honestly has. Aside from the Bible I cannot think of any other book that has so shaped me as a mother and woman. If I’m brutally honest it was actually just the prelude that did it!!! Weird right?!

Before having children I had this idea in my head that I was in control, that I could study enough or learn enough or try hard enough to create the family I wanted to have. I looked at other moms and how they were going about doing things and thought I’d be just like some of them and absolutely nothing like a few others.

This book taught me to look at my own home, what I had been give, and to view my children as humans…as in real life people with real life preferences and real life personalities. I wasn’t playing with babydolls anymore and I couldn’t mimic what I saw in others. I had to find my own way and this book gave me that encouragement. The lightbulbs came on early on with this one, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough to new mamas who are just starting a family.

**Note: The chapters on nursing is outdated. Since the author has died they cannot reprint, but there are groups online that comment on her advice concerning breastfeeding. Other than that I’d highly recommend it!

 

2. Baby Sign Language

Whoa, like whoa, holy moly! This book blew my mind. Well, not as much the book but the fact that my 8 month old started communicating with me!

I was given this book as a baby shower gift. As in the kind of gift I didn’t register for but was thankful-on-my-face for when I opened it. Signing for babies…whatever! They’re not that smart…C’mon….

Famous. Last. Words.

I haphazardly started teaching Kate when she was about 5 months old thinking it was all a joke just to get moms to look silly. It sort of became somewhat of a routine for me just for the fun of it but I had never expected much at all. Until one day…

The light bulbs in her wee little (in my mind still just an infant) brain just came on! One day she started signing back. And then by that night it was two signs…and before you know it I literally had to go out and buy a full on ASL pocket dictionary to carry in my diaper bag because she knew more than I did! She would point and ask the name of things…animals, temperatures, objects, feelings…It was beyond fascinating!!!!

Seriously, teach your baby sign language. I promise you will NOT ever ever regret it.

3. Give Them Grace

Honestly I feel like this book should be read and re-read about, oh…every year as a refresher.

I have purposely put this book next because I deeply feel that it should be read while you still have a tiny baby in your arms. The days are soon coming when you are no longer concerned about nipple confusion or getting enough sleep, but you are now trying to figure out what to do with the little devil that was once so cute and cuddly.

This book gives a great foundation on motherhood and parenting in a way that doesn’t just help us to survive our kids but gives us eyes to see beyond the immediate. We are raising individuals who will one day be adults and that end goal must be on our minds when we are still wiping poo off our shirts.

Bad habits are tough to break. If you begin with this style of parenting in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of re-do and un-do later on. Our kids need to see Jesus, not just learn to abide by the rules. And this starts sooooooo young!

 

4. Toilet Training In Less Than A Day

I found this book at a used bookstore on our way to dinner for a date night one evening. It was torn and the edges had been ripped off. It looked well used and considering the title it caught my eye.

Seriously?! Train your kid to use the potty in less than a day?!

Ya whatever. I set it down and started to walk away. I glanced back and happened to notice the price, $.50. Ahhh…what the heck…why not?! Here you go…here’s my two quarters…

Reading this book was one of the best things I’ve ever read. It taught me how to teach my kids one of life’s most important disciplines in a way that they would truly understand. They don’t even know how to pour a cup of water on their own yet, but I can teach them how to control their innards in less than a day?! Um…yes please.

If you want the cliff’s notes instead of buying the book then read my posts about potty training in a day. I’ve done this five times over and I could probably now write my own book…maybe one day….

5. Don’t Make Me Count to Three


There are a few great books concerning the theory of gospel centered parenting…but very, very few on the “okay, shoot me straight, tell me EXACTLY HOW do I do that” kind of books.

This book is just that.

Getting your feet under you with the books I’ve listed earlier is necessary, but this one will give you the wings to fly.

6. Loving The Little Years

This book is one that will totally help with perspective. It is written by a mom who is in the trenches just like the rest of us, who understands how hard it is and who literally wrote this book with a child on her lap and a few at her feet. How in the world, right???

She’ll remind you all over again that although the days sometimes feel like eternity, the years fly by fast. Cherish these days and intentionally find ways to enjoy it. Her message runs through my veins as well and I couldn’t encourage you enough to read this to help with increasing joy.

 

I’m always up for a good read! Although free time is a hot commodity these days I would LOVE suggestions as to what books you’d recommend! Leave a comment below and share the love!

chance introductions & lily jade sale

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag


 Diaper Bag: LILY JADE ||  Brown Puff Accessory: AMAZON


The past two weeks have been all about school! I turned off social media and laid low on the blog as I have entered into full time teacher mode!!!  Matt has continued to travel for these job interviews while the kids and I have been trudging our way through the homeschool-first-week-back-in-a-routine-fog.

Of course it’s an adjustment, but I feel FAR more prepared this year than last…maybe because now I know everything about what NOT to do your first year of homeschooling! 😉 I’m collecting all of the photos to share the events of the first day of school and will share soon about my curriculum choices and what we changed from last year to make this year more successful….

But for now a quick story…A few months ago my sister went to a blogging conference (if you follow along on my Instagram you might remember the BlogHer conference in Orlando that I had really wanted to go to but couldn’t). Anyway, my sister, Mindy, met a woman sitting next to her named Amy and as they were talking Mindy told Amy that she and I would have a LOT in common and have to get together sometime.

The next thing I know Amy was reaching out on my Twitter letting me know she’d be in town soon and hoped to get coffee. I said yes but didn’t know who Amy was, so of course I googled her to find out who in the world I’d be meeting up with! As I scanned Amy’s upcoming event page I noticed she had just recently been connected to another friend of mine, Richard, and the two of them will be hosting an event in two weeks here in Orange County! (If you’re here local you should totally come!)

Richard and I met a long time ago at the gym just 2 days after my son broke his arms. I was exhausted, walking around the weight floor pale faced, lightheaded, in a daze, and needing a breather from the stress of that horrific event. Richard came up and politely asked me how I was doing, and the thought crossed my mind to simply lie and say I was fine.

But there was something in me that made me really want to just tell the truth. I told him what had happened to my son, about the ER and how stinkin’ crazy scared I was. I told him that my son couldn’t even scratch his nose by himself, that his days and nights were filled with painful whimpering that absolutely broke my heart and how I hadn’t slept for 3 full days. Richard responded with such warmth, kindness and compassion that I literally went home and told Matt I thought I’d met an angel.

He had told me his name, but in my post ER brain fog I couldn’t remember, and never saw him again until a few months ago. Since then he has quickly become a dear friend/fatherly figure that continues to encourage me in my new found blogging, speaking (coming soon!) and writing adventures. He pushes me, challenges me, and makes me really think through what I’m doing and why. I love hearing his life experiences, stories about his family and his heart for raising kids.

This morning the three of us met at a resort coffee shop that overlooks the ocean. The view was unreal, with palm trees galore, a perfectly manicured golf course and sail boats in the ocean below…but the conversation is what stole my heart. Somehow God orchestrates things to come together in the least likely ways…and although it always blows my mind, I suppose it’s about time I just get used to it!

As we shared the stories with one another of similar passions, life goals and how our lives have all intersected, who all we know, and mutual relationships/friendships it was a lot of head shaking at just how every bit of this encounter seemed nothing short of God-ordained. I am so thankful for these new friends and couldn’t help but want to share them with you as well!

I hope you all are having an amazing holiday weekend and that your kids are adjusting to school schedules as well! (Who is the transition more difficult for? Parents or kids???)

By the way these Lily Jade bags are on sale this whole weekend so if you’ve been eyeing them and wanting one for awhile this is the time to get one! I’ve been a brand rep for them for quite awhile now and I honestly haven’t seen prices this low in a long time. Husbands, this might be a great buy-it-now-save-it-for-Christmas gift! 😉 hint hint!

richard watts, meg Wallace, Amy carney