Friday, January 25, 2013

On the Power of Words & Being Vulnerable

William and Me, 2010, at the very beginning of this journey of intentional mothering, when a careless word from another mom could send me over the deep end of self-doubt and uncertainty.
My mom and I have spent long hours over the phone this week discussing and trying to figure out why people see things and say things the way they do. Do they know the effect they will have? Can't they see how the careless misuse of one word can have the power to change all the words said after it? I opened a letter from her today and what she wrote me made me catch my breath:

"But I say to you:
Every time you meet another human being, you have an opportunity. It's a chance at holiness. For you will do one of two things, then. 
Either you will build her up, or you will tear her down.
Either you will acknowledge that she is, or you will make her sorry that she is -- sorry, at least, that she in then in front of you!
You will create or you will destroy and the things you dignify are God's own property. They are made, each one of them, in His own image.
And I say to you: There are no useless, minor meetings..."
-Walter Wangerin, Jr.

I find myself needing some extra encouragement right now, and I have found so much wisdom and goodness and encouragement and wit and just fun in two online places that I so want to share with you, in case you don't know about them already:

These are women who know how to build up. Not with empty flattery or untrue tolerance, but with godly understanding and teaching from the heart. They are helping me change the ways I carry out my day, and I think you will love what they have to share with you.

This reaching out that we do as mothers (and friends, and bloggers, and sisters, etc.) is more about being vulnerable in the sharing of our own struggles and growth than it is about advising others on perfection.

Joshua and Me, Christmas 2012, with a bit more mothering experience under my belt and standing on surer, grace-covered ground.


  1. I saw your comment on Edie's blog and came to visit! :) I love your nursery -- so pretty! And your book choices are loved by our family too {But Not the Hippopotamus and the Jesus Storybook Bible}. Vulnerability is hard, but I learning how sooo important it is to have real relationships with people. It's seriously OK to admit you don't know it all -- all of a sudden we're on the same page! Jesus loves us in our weakness too. I enjoy Ellen's blog too! How cool is that.

    Come visit me sometime: :)

  2. It's interesting that you posted this. I think we might be interpreting this in different ways, but for me lately, I find that often I jump to the worse conclusions about people. I often don't give people the benefit of the doubt, or assume good intentions. I take things personally, a LOT. Especially when it comes to someone else's opinion of my mothering. I know this is an area I can improve on, and that God has called me to be more kind, open, loving, and forgiving. I'm glad you shared this. I miss you!