1 John 3:1 NIV¹
It was an ordinary sibling squabble that ended with something unkind flung at the younger sister and younger sister dishing back whatever she could to older brother before running into her bedroom to hide. At least that’s what I surmised, observing that her bedroom light was off and she was inside. Even though they mostly love each other, being so close in age (ten and twelve) often brings competition. I was tempted to ignore the squabble and let them figure it out on their own. But I strongly suspected that this was not that time. This time I needed to intervene.
I hefted myself out of the comfortable chair I’d been relaxing in for a minute and sought out my daughter. After announcing myself, I entered the darkness and found Sweet Girl curled up in a ball. I rubbed her back and asked what was bothering her. After a pause she exclaimed,
“I’m tired of feeling like I don’t belong anywhere!”
I’m a girl too, I’ve been through adolescence too, and I’m not above stating my current whim as eternal fact, so I wasn’t overly shocked or heartbroken. Instead I asked if anything specific had caused her to feel that way.
She blamed her brother. There was some truth to her complaints. The power of words can cut or comfort and he’d apparently been more interested in a verbal sword fight. The power of words is not restrainable by COVID or any lockdowns. If anything, the power of words has been highlighted. We each play a significant role in the lives of those around us by the words we use to one another. Thankfully, in this situation God gave me words for my daughter.
“You definitely DO belong. You belong in our family and you’ll always belong in God’s family. Brothers can say hurtful things but that doesn’t make them true. What does God say about you?” She didn’t respond but she listened as I continued.
“God says He loves you so much He gave everything He could possibly give to spend forever with you. God says you are His child – so that pretty well makes you a princess. And God says He delights in you. THAT’s the truth.” Why is it so much easier to believe the gospel when you see someone you love floundering than it is when we ourselves flail and forget?
“Well – that’s true…” my ten-year-old slowly admitted.
Psalms 18:19 NIV¹
“There’s also hormones…” We had a whole discussion about how when you’re growing up hormones can take your emotions on roller coaster rides despite having never signed the permission form to go to these very unamusing places. For once I thanked God for my whacked out body (some of us get it coming and going and everything in between!) because it was easy to empathize with my tween. Just knowing what we’re actually fighting against can be empowering.
“The devil also knows all about hormones. He knows that when our hormones man the cannons we might feel miserable, and he sees the opportunity to make us feel even worse by whispering lies to us. ‘I’m tired of feeling like I don’t belong anywhere’ smacks of the devil’s language: LIES. What God says about you is the truth.
John 3:16 NIV¹
“And then sometimes we just need to eat or drink something,” I said, practically. I know both my and her propensity to forget to drink and subsequently dehydrate. “How much have you had to drink today? Let’s go get a drink of water.”
Before we emerged from her room, she turned to me, her eyes restored to their characteristic sparkle.
“We’re out of carrots. I really wanted to have carrots and dip today,” she said pleading with me with those eyes. Um, how exactly does a mother refuse a child who wants vegetables?
“I’ll go buy you some carrots,” I promised. Her happy dance alone was worth it.
After a brief admonition to my twelve-year-old about viewing how he speaks to his sister as ministry opportunities, and explaining it’s an older sibling’s responsibility to look out for the younger sibling, I ran up to the local grocery store for carrots. I returned with an ample array of veggies and my son’s favorite popcorn because I wanted him to know I loved him just as much.
As Sweet Girl happily munched on carrots and sugar snap peas with ranch dip, I reflected on the gratitude I felt that this situation had an easy fix. So many don’t. But sometimes, we just need some love, truth, and vegetables with dip!
Pearl Allard is the founder and writer of Look Up Sometimes. Check it out!
“The sunflower is my spiritual metaphor. Did you know during the sunflower’s bud stage it tracks the sun’s daily movement across the sky? I am an imperfect Son-follower learning to enjoy the grace of Jesus and on mission to nurture others to enjoy it, also — especially the one who thinks she shouldn’t.” – Pearl Allard
1 The Bible. New International Version.
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