I feel like such a hypocrite. Today I woke up extra early to be ready for church. It was my turn to give a speech and it went pretty well. I was so nervous but I did it anyways. I talked about the joy we feel when we focus our life on Christ no matter what circumstances we are facing. How I had suffered so much my entire life, but now that I found God he has brought me joy and healing. But I didn’t lie. He did change my life. He has blessed my family so much.
I did change. I changed for my children. My family is my biggest priority, always will be first. I made these kids, I carried them in my womb for nine months. I heard their first heartbeats, their first cry, I changed their first diapers, I fed them, I loved them even before they were born. I was lucky to have them all for myself because I didn’t have to share their hugs and kisses. I didn’t have to share their time. I saw their first steps and heard their first words. I cried on their first day of preschool. I missed them when they were in school.
The moment I noticed that they were growing up, I panicked. I didn’t know how to be a mother to teenagers. I was terrified of them turning out like me. I didn’t want them to suffer how I did. I thought that I had to be tough. That I couldn’t let them know that I was weak or that I had feelings just like they did. I never cried in front of them, I didn’t like showing that I was vulnerable.
It was my biggest mistake.
Now they don’t know how to deal with there own emotions and it kills me to see them confused and lost. I didn’t want to damage them, and ended up doing it anyway. They don’t know how to get close to me. I pushed them away without even knowing it. I didn’t realize how much I was hurting them by trying to raise them the only way I knew how.
I know that it isn’t late. They will always be my babies. It is so hard for me to open up. They don’t understand things like I do. I forget that they didn’t have the best role model to learn from.
Being a single parent is a blessing but also the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I got all the kisses and all the hugs but also all the worries and all the blame. I was the good parent but also the bad one. Once they became teenagers, they didn’t have someone to run to when mom got mad at them. They didn’t know that mom would only be mad for two seconds. Or that mom was not even mad at them, she was just stressed or tired or going through her own issues.
I thought that by spanking them, they would be disciplined. I never meant to hurt them. I never wanted to hit them, but it happened, and sometimes I would lose it. I was angry for so long, but never at them. They’ve always been what keeps me going. Even through depression and suicidal ideation, I always thought of how much I loved them.
I changed because I wanted to be a better mom, I wanted to be a better human being. That’s what I kept asking God with all my heart and all my pain. I asked him to change me because I didn’t know how.
In the process I have made so many mistakes. I have fallen into bad habits again and again. And every single time, I feel worse after I let myself be that person. The person I hated for so long. I hated that I had been so angry and so hurt. I hated myself because I thought it was all my fault. Now that I’m trying to change, I feel like I let God down when I go back to those behaviors. I let my kids down when I give in to these messy situations.
How do I control myself when my kids are being disrespectful? How do I stop myself from reacting to unnecessary arguments when they know exactly how to push my buttons? I know better. I’m the adult here. God knows I’m trying.
I did change. I’m still trying to change. That’s exactly when the devil knows how to attack my weaknesses. He knows me so well. But he isn’t going to win. He might’ve won a battle, but this is God’s war.
The moment I decided to accept God in my heart, was the moment I knew He would never let me fight alone.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
My speech talked about feeling joy regardless of what’s happening or not happing in our lives. It is important that we keep our focus on Christ in order to endure to the end. He is the the source of all joy.
President Russell M. Nelson gave a conference that helped me understand this and talk about it relating it to my life. He said, “My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”
“For Latter Day Saints Jesus Christ is joy!”
“His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain.”
I have learned that even though I suffered and survived so many things, it is possible to feel joy. I trust that anything that happens is all in His hands.
After this beautiful speech, I can’t help but feel worse for allowing myself to be that person that I don’t want to be.
Oh Lord, I am weak. I mess up. I need you. Amen.
With love, Pao.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us
Romans 8:35, 37