Friday, September 27, 2013

Except this acceptance...

What says about acceptance...


  [ak-sep-tuhns]  Show IPA
the act of taking or receiving something offered.
favorable reception; approval; favor.
the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.
acceptation  def 1 .

Do you remember learning about connotation and denotation in elementary school?
I do.
You don't have to tell me I'm strange for it - I remember strange things.

Denotation is the literal meaning of a word or phrase; how it is written and defined in a dictionary.
Conversely, CONnotation is how a word or phrase is perceived.

For example, some might say, "oh just accept that you are never going to..." and that phrase gets a bad rap! It has a negative connotation because it sounds like giving in - settling.

The word acceptance also gets a bad rap - even from me.
I've written about it before...
asking others to accept me and my shortcomings,
and here where I acknowledge that all I can do is accept His mercy and grace, knowing full well I can never earn or deserve it.

Today, I am thinking about acceptance in a slightly different way; accepting from others.

I read an article about raising nice, kind daughters versus mean ones and how our actions as mothers speak more loudly than our words.
There was a point in the article about teaching them to GIVE compliments because compliments are so few and far between these days.

I'm going to propose that teaching them to ACCEPT compliments is just as important as teaching them to give them.
I propose that we teach our children to accept help, mercy, prayers - whatever someone sees fit to bless us with.

I have long had a challenge accepting help, mercy, even compliments from others.
I'm not sure where or when I got the notion that this wasn't ok. That I was supposed to do it all and all alone.  Somehow I perceived that asking for, or accepting, help was a sign of weakness, lacking, inadequacy.

I remember after Sweetpea was born...early and by C-section after 17 hours of un-progressed labor.
I still thought it was my job to take our 3 month old puppy for walks outside every few hours.  Despite the fact that my instructions were to take it easy, lift nothing heavier than my baby, don't drive for 2 weeks. If the doctor had known me better he might also have said, "don't allow your dog to drag you around the yard with the leash!"

My Mom told me not to do it while hesitantly volunteering to do it herself.  She's so not a dog person and I didn't "need any help! I'm fine!" I said.

Why is this so hard?

I don't know the answer to that, but I know this: I don't want it to be hard for my daughter {or my son}.
I want her to accept a compliment with a smile and a thank you.
I want her to know it's ok to feel good about herself, right where she is.  Not because she's working on becoming a "better" her.
I want her to know that it's ok to ask for help when you are struggling.  That's it's not weakness, but trust that the other person loves you enough to help.

More importantly, how can I model trust and faith in God to her, if my actions say that I can't accept even His help?
And if we don't accept that He made us all just as He intended us to be, flaws and all, then isn't that a lack of confidence and a refusal of a compliment?

If Jesus knocked on your door and told you today that

you are beautiful...
you are loved...
you are special...
you are smart...
you are a good wife...
you are a good Mother...
you are a good {fill in the blank with whatever you lack personal acceptance in}...

would you smile sincerely and say thank you?

Or would you hang your head and say, "oh, not really."

Which response do you think He'd prefer?

That's the one I want to teach my children.

a view of the horizon from a plane...

Sweetpea's Art...maybe I've done something right, already?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear, Miley...

Dear Miley~

Let me start by saying that I love you.  
In fact, I’ve loved you for several years, like a Mama loves a daughter.  My daughter, now 9, and I loved to watch Hannah Montana together.  I can thank you for many treasured moments with her as we laughed and cried over Hannah’s latest escapades.  We talked about the lessons Hannah learned like the importance of being honest, being loyal to your friends, and never forgetting where you come from  (‘round here, we call that “gettin’ too big for your britches”).

Image Source

I loved how Hannah wore cute clothes and the latest trends without being immodest; it gave me an opportunity to explain that concept to my daughter.
I loved that Hannah made common teenager mistakes and realized them. 
I loved that Hannah was a good role model for young girls, albeit a little impractical since not ALL little girls can live the “best of both worlds” as a rock star and normal teenager. 
I thank you for those amazing opportunities with my Sweetpea bonding over your show!

When I saw your performance at the VMAs, the Mama in me snapped to attention.  My first thought was to tell you how disappointed I was in you; how disgusting I thought that performance was, and several other admonishing statements.

But really, what it boils down to is this:

I want to tell you I’m sorry.

I am SO very sorry. Truly, I am.

I’m sorry that you are hurting so much for attention that you chose to get it in that way. I’m sorry something has kept you from getting the love and attention you desire from those whom you love.  I’m sorry the world has told you that your appearance and number of video views and rank on the music charts matter more than the person you are inside.

I’m sorry that at 20 years old, you don’t have more self-respect than you apparently do.  If you respected yourself and the married man you were rubbing all up on, there wouldn’t be controversy over the performance (not that I’m absolving him of any wrong-doing).  I’ve heard that you are glad “it’s still being talked about” days later and that people are “just over-thinking it.”  It really wasn’t a big deal you’ve said.  Wonder if your Daddy would agree with that?

I’m sorry that you have chosen not to embrace the tremendous opportunity you have right now to use your influence among young girls for good.  That you chose to abandon the sweet, innocent, seemingly good role model that you once were for this new person singing, “It’s my party, I can do what I want” and “It’s my body, I can do what I want.” I have to say, that’s not what I teach my daughter, and it’s not what I want her hearing from you {or anyone else}!

Most of all, I am sorry that you have placed all your worth in other people’s opinions of you.  I’m sorry you feel you have to “shed the Disney image” and give the world what they want – what sells – what gets attention and astonished looks.  I’m sorry you don’t know your Heavenly worth to the one who created you – who knew you before you were born (Jer 1:5).

 I do not see a happy girl in this picture. Photo source

You have talent, Miley! God didn’t create you for anything other than good things!
{Ephesians 2:10 }  Not for men’s eyes to ogle or men’s hands to grope, but to do good things.
You have great worth, not only to God, but to those of us who love you here on earth.
You have great opportunity to change paths now! You are 20 years old and have your whole life ahead of you.  Your parents and family love you and want to see you happy and successful, I have no doubt.  You have the chance to show the young girl’s of the world, what it means to make a very public mistake, apologize for it, and bounce back even stronger and on a better course.
You have the opportunity to get to know yourself and earn the self-respect you so desperately crave!  You have a chance to work hard, accomplish things, and make yourself proud.  
YOU have the option to choose those things or not.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This is my number one prayer for you, Miley, that you would realize your worth.  Accept yourself as you are {a good and perfect gift from God} and use these things to help others do the same.

I can’t imagine anything that could make you or your family more proud.


* I have been thinking about this post for almost two weeks now. It has rolled around in my brain, I’ve read other people’s takes on the issue, and it has kept me from writing anything else simply because I couldn’t form my thoughts into a coherent post.
The more I thought about this subject and my thoughts on this subject, I realized it was more of a letter than anything else.