When it’s hard to say ‘I love you’ to those closest to you
It’s Mother’s Day weekend and maybe like me you’re pondering about what it means to be a mama and how you never imagined how wonderful and yet how hard it would be. And with each passing year, you appreciate your own mama more than ever because now you know just what she went through.
Sometimes the longest distance between you and your loved ones is not the physical space but the emotional gap separating your hearts.
I used to think that saying I love you was an easy task — after all, didn’t I say, love you, to my friends. But saying it out-loud with ease and heartfelt sentiment to my husband and kiddos has been one of the hardest things to do. And I wondered and mulled over the question: how could it be so hard to tell the people who mean the most to you that you love them more than they will ever know?
And the answer scares me — the real reason I don’t say ‘I love you’ when I most need to is because I’m afraid — afraid of the rejection that will follow. I’m afraid of being that close to someone — of totally opening up my heart and exposing what’s inside.
So this is the journey I’m on, of removing the layers, the walls, the crusty walls of protection, fear, and shame that surround my heart. When my kiddos were born, God gave me this incredible love for each of them and it was easy then to express that love in many different ways. The fear of rejection wasn’t there yet because when they are little your kids need you so much. You are their life. But as they get older and as they naturally began to pull away, fear crept into my heart.
Last summer, I sobbed reading the heartbreaking story of the three-year-old little girl with the tiny pink backpack who survived Hurricane Harvey’s flooding in Texas. Rescuers found her hanging onto her dead mother’s body and the newspaper quoted her saying, “Mama was saying her prayers.” That Mama would have given her life a thousand times over to save her child — I’m sure of it. And I wonder why it’s so hard for me to say those words — of what I know to be true in my heart? That just like that mama, I would give my life up to save every one of my children. Why then do I answer “I hope so,” when my child asks me if I would die to save her? When the truth, is yes, a thousand times yes.
I went to see A Wrinkle in Time with my kiddos recently and I was reminded again of how words of love spoken from the heart have the power to save our loved ones from the grip of the evil one, which in the movie is called It. In the movie, Meg tells her little brother that she loves him and reminds him that he loves her as well. What breaks the evil grip of It over Charles Wallace is the heartfelt confession of true love spoken through tears.
It’s easy to see that the enemy of our souls is waging war against our children in all sorts of ways. We’ve felt the sting of it in our home and yet love — the expression of it whether audible or in action has the power to set our loved ones free. We are God’s mouthpiece and speak His love we must.
I love reading in Luke’s Gospel of how when Jesus is baptized, our Heavenly Father speaks words of love that affirmed His Son’s identity.
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
What powerful words said — just as Jesus began his ministry on earth. The Father expressed his love. And I know that the biggest gift I can give my own children and my own mama is to say those words. I had a friend, who would call each of her two sons’ name and when they would look up at her, she’d say, “I love you.” This was before my own brood came along, and I’d wonder why she kept telling them that over and over. Now, I see it and understand. We can never say it enough.
To fight evil and darkness in this world we must speak words of life and love to our children and beloved ones. Yes, the fear of rejection is still there for me but when I remember that I am first of all loved, deeply loved by my Heavenly Father, I can speak words of life, truth and love. And this weekend is just ripe for that. Happy Mother’s Day dear ones!