I’m no Barbie.
Yet, some days present themselves to me much like this Barbie’s bad day: not enough time to wack away the whiskers; not enough time to roller brush after a happy-to-shed-on-you cat moment; and not enough time to demagnetize your flowery eyes, inhibiting any view of reality.
Clearly, Barbie did not do this to herself. No, her boundaries have been hysterically violated, and we benefit with a giggle on her behalf. Not to mention, she’s not real.
For the rest of us real people, having our boundaries vandalized stirs up, at best, anger, anxiety, discontentment, or depression. Rarely is there a snigger from us real people.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I am still discovering what healthy boundaries are, how to respond when they’ve been violated, and where boundaries need reinforcement, so that they don’t permit unwelcomed wanderers.
Early in my healing journey, I learned to speak up to close-talkers, side-step conversationally touchy people, and physically change my location on public transportation, church services, or any other public place where I felt my space infringed upon.
Motherhood, however, throws a wrench in most of my protective patterns.
My children love me. I adore them. We hug and kiss and tickle and wrestle and spend large amounts of time in physical play.
Every now and then, I explode with anger from a blind-sided touch or from an innocent, yet, inappropriate touch. My mind is not constantly flooded with memories from the past anymore, but that fear–that fear and that anger of being wrongly touched or of my personal boundaries being violated–thunders through me and in my voice.
Watching my children and their countenance fall afterward reduces me, emotionally, to dung.
I’ve written about this before when I triggered in anger over bubbles. The Lord–graciously–has allowed me to recognize my sin against my children, confess, ask for forgiveness and then make restitution, as needed. It’s a divine process.
Just this week, I asked my daughter to assist me in that process.
My daughter’s arms excitedly grazed against mine while she threw herself across the table, eagerly reaching for the rebounding sprinkles I had agreed to put on the ice cream. Sprinkle-mutiny seized the moment, the tabletop, and the floor. Ironically, few sprinkles topped the ice cream.
My throat tightened, my eyes bulged, and my mind articulated ancient frustrations, fear: chaos! One more mess I have to clean up!
Then it was his voice, my father’s voice: You’re nothing like my family; you’re a terrible housekeeper! I watched my arm pull back, still holding the bottle of sprinkles. It’s my arm, but it looks surreal, like someone else’s. The arm had given a shove to her, my precious love.
Breathe. In slowly.
Lungs expanded: burning, full.
Exhale, intentionally, through my teeth and lips, frustrated by my auto-responses to touch.
Jesus, give me strength to change, to heal. I want to live differently.
“Sweetheart, when Mommy starts talking or acting grumpy, can you try to gently tell mommy what you see by saying, ‘Mommy, you’re being grumpy, again.’ I think that will help Mommy make changes a little faster, ” I said.
Enjoying ice cream with sprinkles is supposed to be fun.
“Okay, mommy. I’ll try,” she said licking up the pink, strawberry cream.
In an effort to salvage the fun, I remembered the Hershey’s chocolate syrup. A gentle squeeze brought the excitement back to the table, post confession and forgiveness.
(I’m in the yellow. Don’t I look great with my uni-brow?! 🙂 )
Healthy families work as a collaborative unit to assist one another to heal, grow, love, and achieve unity. God did not create any of us to go-it-alone.
In our Christian faith, we were never meant to go-it-alone, either. In fact, the Word teaches much on loving one another (Jo. 13.34-5) and building one another up in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-4), who happens to be the head.
Scripture is also very clear that all have sinned (Rom. 3.23); that sin is NOT a badge of honor or an excuse, but a death sentence (Rom. 5.12; 6.23); and that sin is to be confessed within the body for healing, accountability, wholeness.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, James 5.16, ESV.
What Is Your Faith Like?
- Is your faith in Jesus strong enough to find safe, caring, mature, same-sex believers-in-Jesus with whom you can share your healing journey?
- Are you confident enough–after you have found safe, caring, mature, same-sex believers–to share the vile nature of your struggles, your fear?
- Likewise, is your faith durable enough to face and withstand the journey of another, no matter how dark the suffering?
- When a same-sex believer confides in you the dark, broken, ugly, and evil she has experienced, will your faith flinch?
In all fairness, signs of rugged faith often include phrases like, “I’m so sorry to learn of your pain. I’m not a counselor, but I’m willing to listen and pray with you.” You don’t have to have the right answer. In fact, often times, there isn’t a right answer, save Jesus.
Faith worth imitating may even sound like this: “You know, hearing about your pain hurts me. The truth is, I have my own hurt I’m trying to work through. Can we make a pledge to pray for one another as the Lord brings us to mind?”
See, Barbie never talks like this. She’s plastic. She’s not real.
You? Me? Yeah, we’re real. And I want us to talk real.
The Christian buzzwords these days are transparent, relevant, and community.
I embrace those terms, so long as they are not of Barbie and her Dream House.