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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life Lesson #97 ~Sticks and Stones

"Throw your sticks and stones. Throw your bombs and blows but you’re NOT going to break my soul.” ~ Katy Perry

Today I want to talk to you about something close to my heart. For those who know my family’s backstory, you know we’ve faced some fairly big hurdles. Now for those of you who've recently joined our journey the details would probably make your head spin like something out of the Exorcist.  Seriously, it’s been quite an ordeal, the whole head spinning, vomiting thing and all. I have to be honest there have been a few times I wasn’t sure we’d make it out of our own montage of classic 1970’s/80’s horror movies combined. But the truth is we did and we've not only grown since but thrived in the process. And yes hands to my heart, we have stayed as far away from anything remotely resembling a Regan moment since. But none of that changes the fact we had to live through any of it in the first place now does it? On a serious note, the truth is those scary movie scenes for our family  that turned into real life scenarios taught us something big. They taught us how to say no, how to stand by each other no matter what and when to walk away from talk of a sequel.

The truth is life hasn't gone exactly as expected now has it? That's not up for debate. As a family, we've navigated through some pretty awful stuff. I mean, we've had a lot of life go off rail. Good thing we invested in off road, full traction tires huh? Still,  taking all that in consideration I'm not always sure what to say when I'm asked how we withstood all of it. During the last few years folks have asked our family many times how we’ve overcome the ordeal or ordeals we've been faced with. The truth is we didn't, not at first anyway. We failed miserably in the beginning. To be really honest we let too many things get the best of us. In the end, we just had to let it go, stop worrying about any of the nonsense and start focusing on our life together as a family. Seriously no one can get your goat if you don't leave it outside alone right?

So how did we get to this place? Honestly as a woman, as a mother and as an example to my children I made the decision not to allow anyone else to dictate how our story ends. As a family we blew up the target on our backs and walked away. Then we put on our armor and exited the scene. On a personal note, as far as I’m concerned folks can throw anything they want at me because none of it has any bearing on my destination. I vowed a few years ago not to allow anything unjust or bigoted within my control to break my spirit let alone unravel or fracture my life or my family’s.  Let me assure you anyone throwing sticks and stones can do so, at any point if it really makes them feel better.  Why, well we’ve learned to play a pretty mean game of dodge ball.  This is the thing, as adults, we have the choice to participate or not.  As for me personally I’m tough; I’m strong-minded and spirited. I may bruise, I may even bleed but I will never give up. I have faced formidable adversaries before and guess what? I’m still standing. With God as my strength, I’ve resisted the undertow. As Psalms 16:8 says, “I always keep the Lord in front of me. When he is by my side, I cannot be moved.” And I can say today with all certainty I won’t be budged, moved or pushed out of the way. I will stand tall, strong and resilient until my last breathe.

I firmly believe, “The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is NOT a statement about you.” And that is exactly the thinking we should live by. Let those words fall off your back like water on a duck. And that’s exactly how you have to look at it all. I’ve personally found walking away from the schoolyard bully, even if I’m a bit dusted up, is the only way to hold on to your swing. I think of these kinds of situations like this, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” We’ve all heard the saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. It’s an old proverb meant to assure us that words have no merit when spoken by the oppressor. You know the types I’m talking about. The hit you in the mouth for no reason then call ‘victim’ because their hand is bleeding. Life is full of these types, those who strong-arm, browbeat, harass and coerce anyone they feel threatened by. Let’s be honest it’s easy to be hurtful especially when you feel you deserve more praise, more influence or attention right? It’s the easy road but not the less traveled.  I mean if we aren’t getting what we want, how we want it and when we want it can’t we can just call people names ?  Umm no, however if you do, understand this, it’s the cowards way out.  Are we responsible for the way others feel after we’ve torn them to shreds just so we can feel better about ourselves? Oh yes, we are. Why, well we’re responsible for ourselves, our actions and how we respond and react to those we don’t necessarily get along with. True, it’s not as easy to accept loss, to be kind when you’re hated or take the high road when the gutter is so close but we must. I know believe me, it’s downright hard to resist the urge to react isn’t it? But you know what; it’s the right thing to do. See ‘pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.”

So you ask what are right things to do? It’s a really good question. One we all must ask ourselves especially when faced with tasting our own words. We've all been called names, been poked fun at, spoken badly of and to, been teased, degraded, abused, lied about and that’s all as an adult. Let’s not get started on childhood. So how do we respond to all of this? Well, the truth is you have to stop letting what those folks have to say about you and do to you matter to you for starters. Words are simply words; they hold no merit or standing whatsoever if you don't allow them to. Let those words fall where they may. Laugh, after all you’re living a much more interesting life then you knew right? And honestly once you do, you won’t have time to engage in any kind of tantrums anymore. Once someone like this loses power over you, what more can they do?  Their only power is fear and once you’re not afraid anymore, poof, be gone, no more power. As Gandi once said, “Nobody can hurt you without your permission.” So my advice to you is this: stop giving people permission to wreck you. Who are they anyway? Who made them king of anything? You surely didn’t and neither did I. Maybe it’s time to stop bowing down to a shabbily, self-made throne and start looking up to the One who knows your heart. The truth is this, you’ll always be too much for some people and that’s OK. Those people, the ones who mock you for being different, they aren’t your people. Let them go. Walk away. When it comes to those folks remember this: “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.

And so I end Life lesson #97~ with this ~ Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. My advice? Let them talk, let them whisper and let them judge. You know the truth and honestly so do they. You know exactly who you are, what makes you, you. Who cares what they say? Who cares what they think? I say pick up those sticks and stones at your feet. Go ahead, start a fire of your own with the remains of those fallen arrows. Keep the flames of your personal grace, love, courage and wild sense of humor burning bright for all to see. And just remember, “When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are.”

~ Christina

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