05/10/2012

The Stain of Words*

Posted in Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:38 pm by The Water Bearer

In a recent post I spoke on standing in faith in times of challenge, as you may have guessed I have also given my testimony to many, many people whom God has brought across my life. I have let my experiences with Him pour out into others as often as opportunity becomes available.

Some have been extremely grateful to hear my tales of interactions with God, and then there have been times when these words were thrown back in my face. I have been mocked for my trust in them. There have been times when I thought to myself, ‘I won’t share anymore, I am wasting my breath and time.’ (Although God has not stopped filling my life and so I am still talking Him up, only with less casting of ‘pearls before swine’)

My eldest daughter has expressed a similar response, as she often feels isolated and regretful for sharing her faith with friends who have trouble taking her insights on board. She would also rather keep it all to herself.

When we were discussing this recently I told her the story of the lady who found me on Facebook a couple of years ago. It had been over 20years since I had seen or spoken to her. She told me that she had given her life to Christ a few years earlier and that she thought of me on that special day, of my words of faith and my character. I was touched deeply and humbled that even as a child, in my young stages of faith, God used me to connect with the spiritual standing of another. It may have taken 20 years to hear proof, but the point was clear. I explained to my daughter that we are here to plant a seed, other times we may be called to water the seed already planted, sometimes we may need to help some dig out a bad seed planted by the enemy which is deterring them from faith.

It may take 20 years before someone finally makes use out of the words faithfully poured into them, and just because we don’t always see the flower bloom in their life, just because they don’t react in the way we always hope for, doesn’t mean we had no effect. Powerful words will leave a stain on hearts and minds.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Prov 18:21 (ASV)

I wonder how many of us consider if our words may have left a stain on the lives of those we have spoken to?

The truth about stains is they cannot be erased, they linger around whether you want them to or not, whether you asked for them or not, either way they stay. Some are reminders of good times. The memory of a party with laughter and good company is reflected in the hint of red wine staring up from a floor rug. A child’s shirt or pants splattered in brightly coloured paint as evidence of a day spent being creative and expressive. The soft colour and ruffled edges of a baby’s blanket stained yellow with time after being packed away for many years, gone in a blink.

Then there are the stains we wish we could not recall. A ring on a piece of furniture from a disrespectful guest, or blood from a painful wound. And don’t we all suffer from frustration at the ones which magically appear on a favoured piece of clothing without any recollection of how it came to be….

I read this post Are you an Elephant? by a fellow blogger, and his point got me started on this idea of the lingering effect of our words. He was asking if we let the words we heard in our childhood become so ingrained in our self-belief that they may be holding us back. We easily allocate onus to those who have left word stains on us, but isn’t it time to ask ourselves, what kind of words are we staining others with?

I shudder to think of all the hurtful things I have said to people over the years, when emotional tirades have flown so easily from my lips to their ears. Even after countless apologies and repentance for the words I regret, grace may be given but I doubt the stain is easily erased. I’m sure we have all forgiven many harsh words said in the heat of the moment, but the ones that cut deep, the ones laced with false accusations, or that weren’t apologised for, have stained me. I am still guarded because of them. Perhaps you are too…

“Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows–bitter words.” Psalms 64:2-3 (NKJV)

Let us pray for a bridle to control our tongue before we open our mouths to speak in criticism, let us speak boldly when sharing words of faith, and lets consider the stains we are leaving in the lives of others.

“There are some whose uncontrolled talk is like the wounds of a sword, but the tongue of the wise makes one well again.” Prov 12:18 (BBE)

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14/08/2012

Fighting against the Sexual Tsunami!

Posted in Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 am by The Water Bearer

Did the Baby Boomers have any idea how quickly the destruction of their children’s innocence would take effect when they allowed sexually charged images to flood our television screens? Did they picture their daughters grinding and gyrating to songs like, ‘Freak Me Baby’ or ‘Sweat Alalalalala Long’ or SaltnPeppa’s ‘Shoop’ when they gave their approval to play them on the radio? Did they realise that widespread acceptance of family break-ups would leave more and more single parents to battle alone against the ‘Sexual Tsunami’ white washing across their children’s world?

I am generation X, is that X as in X-Rated?

As I ponder the next phase of my role as the mother of a Teenage Daughter, praying for ways to equip her for the next stage of her young life, I find myself spending a lot of time thinking back to when I was a young girl myself.

Before my parents separated my Dad was very strict about what he allowed his children to be exposed to, we weren’t allowed to watch the same television shows as my school friends or listen to Top 40 on the radio. We could watch the News and Game Shows and listen to Christian music or music from my parent’s youth, The Beetles and Fleetwood Mac. When it was left to my Mum to decide what restrictions to place on her children I noticed that we wore her down, bit by bit, to being given more freedom than we ever had when Dad was around. It wasn’t long before we watched ‘Neighbours’ religiously instead of going to church, we knew every word to every song played on Video Hits, the more risqué’ the more we wanted to watch. We viewed our Dad’s restrictions as a fanatical strait-jacket.

Now it is our turn as parents to build the sexual platform we wish to send along with our children as they venture into the world. Restrictions have had their place, while explanations have had more. We can’t simply hide the world from their eyes, we must prepare them for what they are sure to see. They are Generation Y, so perhaps our focus as parents could, instead of telling them what not to do, explain why they shouldn’t? Why shouldn’t they take drugs? Why shouldn’t they jump into bed with someone, if they feel like it? Why shouldn’t they break the law? Why shouldn’t they dress like prostitutes? It used to be easy to tell who was a street walker and who wasn’t simply by the way they presented themselves to attract the sexual attention of the opposite sex, now that modesty is almost completely out the window, it seems everyone wants to attract sexual attention of any kind and the line between the two worlds has become blurred. Why? Sex Sells! That’s what they say. Sex may draw the desired attraction in marketing, but what is the true cost of exposing our children to overly sexualised images and sounds from the minute they can open their eyes?

While we are too distracted by our busy, chaotic, emotionally charged lives, the boundary lines are being moved, inch by inch behind shades of grey (pun intended), desensitising our resistance, numbing our opposition, giving free reign to the ‘powers that be’ to allow corruption of our virtue and destruction of the innocence of our children.

Many years ago I watched a video series by Lisa Bevere called Purity’s Power. The series was directed at adolescent and young women, and touched on many topics often left in the dark, specifically the sexuality of women in the 21st Century. It answered many questions of why and why not, it was jammed packed with information, honest and open discussions, and completely inspired with Godly principles of purity. I watched all 4 brilliant sessions and the whole time I kept thinking, ‘I am definately going to show this to my girls when they get old enough for it to be appropriate’.

Seeing as my eldest daughter has now reached the age where she and her friends have begun to notice boys, they have to cope with all those extra feelings running amuck inside them, and are exposed to intense sexual provocation at every turn, I decided it was time to introduce my gorgeous girl to ‘Purity’s Power’, to help her answer many questions about sex, promiscuity and the power of purity.

I feel overwhelmed at times, and discouraged by my minimal effect on the world’s awareness of these things, however, I trust my children into God’s hands with prayer and sacrifice. I educate them with my own wayward experiences and all the shame, consequences of those decisions. I pray for the army of inner angels to fight hard against those enemies trying to derail all attempts to protect my daughters from the devious wiles saturating their world.

My Darling Girls, I may not be able to protect you from this onslaught entirely, but I can help you learn to use the weapons available and encourage you to withstand against it. It is up to you how far you allow your flesh to be tempted, it is your choice to look away or seek out more. Keeping close to the Lord will help strengthen you in the midst of this battle. Remember that this place is a place to be tested and to learn, and no matter what, God love’s you, He is pressing up against your life waiting to be invited in to guide you to a life of victory and joy, rather than fear and shame.

“I will help you build your armor, but you’ll have to wear it by yourself”

Lyrics from ‘A Lucky Life’ by Australian singer songwriter Clare Bowditch.

Please view the clip below about Lisa Bevere’s Series ‘Kissed the girls and made them cry’. Get your daughters the curriculum package with “Purity’s Power” included, I cannot recommend it enough! Together we can set up the next generation to avoid the traps set for them by the enemy.

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