Updated: Dec 11, 2019
I have never dealt with having my children taken away from me. I have never dealt with drug addiction. I have never dealt with my parents neglecting me or not teaching me the proper way to parent. I have never dealt with loving a drug more than my children. Therefore, I don't feel equipped at all to speak to a people group who do have these struggles. Yet here I am, feeling like God wants me to speak to those people. I pray (more than anything) this blog reaches the eyes that need to see it.
Even though I have never dealt with the things I listed above, I have dealt with selfishness. I have dealt with putting myself 1st. I have dealt with feeling like I'm worthless or less than. I have dealt with wanting something so badly that I choose that "thing" over what was best for me. And I have dealt with believing the lies of my own thoughts and even the lies of others.
A friend of mine recently wrote:
I've thought a lot about what I struggle with the most. What do I have a hard time letting go of? What is it that fills my mind with anxiety and leaves me feeling depleted? That's easy. The past. I have a really hard time letting go of anything. I was the child who ran out while her mother was running a garage sale and tried to sneak all of my toys back into the house. I never played with them. I probably hadn't looked at them in months, maybe even years. But they were my memories. My past. I wanted to clutch so tightly to anything that I once treasured. The older I got, material things mattered far less, and people mattered the most. But I still feel like that little child who is running out and clutching at things that need to be let go of. Even people.In saying all of this, what I want to share is, sometimes it's our memories, relationships with the wrong people, thoughts, feelings that we need to release. My mother set my toys up on a table to be sold because she knew I had outgrown them. She was doing what was best for me so that I could welcome better things into my life. Things that I could grow into and learn to love all the more. She was creating space. Out with the old, in with the new. What I would love most to see in myself, is tossing out the old thoughts and replacing them with new ones.I was chatting with a coworker today and it really drove this idea home for me. We were talking about how we view ourselves.If we had to tattoo ourselves with words that describe us, how different would my words be from the words others would use to describe me? I have a very negative outlook of myself. I see all of the cruel things that have been said about me. I see worthless. Someone incapable of being loved, not only that, I see someone who is hated, I see someone ugly. I see someone who is a terrible friend. I see someone that is easy to walk away from. I see someone God couldn't even love. I also see every vulgar word in the book. It took 2 people in my life, out of hundreds, to shape the way I see myself. One of those two relationships got so bad, I used to write down all of the terrible things that were said to me and tape them to my wall. I would sit in my room and just stare blankly at the vulgar words that would come out of their mouth in a blind rage. Words used as weapons against me. I share this, because I know that a lot of people may be surprised that I think of myself so negatively. On the outside I seem like I have it all together. I've been told that I seem so confidant. It's not the case. Inside, I'm an incredibly insecure, anxious, often lonely, worried girl who feels she is never going to be good enough no matter how hard she tries. I share this because I am fighting so hard to rewrite my past. I am fighting to change the narrative. And I know someone out there needs to hear this. Because we look at ourselves as huge messes. But God simply loves us anyway. He sees so much more. His word is full of truths that combat these lies that our minds use against us. Don't believe the chatter. Replace every negative thought. Create that space in your mind. Out with the old.......Think about how you would describe yourself. Are your thoughts soul crushing or life giving?
As I read through what my dear friend wrote, I couldn't help but think about foster children, birth parents and even myself at times. Maybe you too?
I imagine if you are a foster child with parents who have abandoned you or maybe can't properly take care of you, that you may have some feelings of "worthlessness" or feeling as though you are "unlovable" or "hated" even. Maybe these are not thoughts others have of you, maybe they are thoughts you have of yourself. I also imagine if you are a birth parent and you have allowed sin to get so bad in your life that your children have been taken from you, you may also have these same feelings:
incapable of being loved
terrible daughter or son
terrible mother or father
easy to walk away from
someone God couldn't love
If you feel these things, whether you are a birth parent, foster child, stay at home mom, pastor, lawyer, Janitor, teacher...etc, the 1st thing I want you to know is this:
You are NOT alone.
Let me repeat that. You are NOT alone.
Satan works hard and long hours trying to convince us over and over again that everything we feel is "uncommon". He works hard making us believe the lie that we are alone in everything we are feeling, struggling with or going through in this life. Satan is a liar. You are NOT alone.
The 2nd thing I want to tell you is that the sweet friend of mine that poured out her heart above, she isn't a foster child or a birth parent. She is actually a beautiful girl and on the outside, you would think, "why does she struggle with these things?" But, we ALL struggle with things. We all have those things in our lives that we should let go of and yet we are still holding on. We are still grasping what we think we are! Still clinging to this idea or thought of worthlessness.
One of the most profound things my friend Ashley said in what she wrote is "Don't believe the Chatter". WOW! How often do I believe the constant chatter in my head. Sometimes that chatter is things people have said about me that hurt. Sometimes that chatter is my own voice! But most of the time, the chatter we are so quick to listen to is simply Satan.
John 8:44 says "he has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Don't believe the chatter!
If you are a foster child reading this right now, don't believe the chatter! You are Valuable, Loved, beautiful, chosen and not alone.
Psalm 139:14 reminds us that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful, I know that full well."
If you are a birth parent reading this right now, don't believe the chatter! You may feel broken but we are ALL broken. Don't believe you are alone in that! And you may be broken but there is beauty in brokenness so you are also beautiful! And it is NEVER too late to turn things around.
Romans 5:8 tells us that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
If you are a pastor reading this, don't believe the chatter! It's okay for you to struggle even though people elevate you and put you where God should be. What you are doing matters! Even if you don't see the fruit from it!
If you are a teacher, stay at home mom, janitor, lawyer, guardian ad litem volunteer, attorney, judge reading this right now, don't believe the chatter!
1 Peter 2:9 tells is that "we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Romans 12:2 reminds that we "do not need to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." John 17:17 says that "God's word is truth."
God's Word has power! Let's speak it out loud, daily! Let's wrap ourselves in this truth! When Satan attacks our minds and makes us feel worthless, we can fight back with the power of God's Truth!
Don't believe the chatter!
Let's understand where the chatter comes from and stop believing it and instead believe the steady, unchanging, unconditional Word of God! Who's with me?