My seven year old came walking in the door today with tears welling up in her eyes. She was really upset about something but didn’t want to cry. I could see her holding her shoulders up and her breath in, trying to keep it together. When I asked her what happened, it wasn’t anything she could even put into words. I could totally relate to her. I see myself in her. Because of who I am and how I was as a child, I have so much empathy for my precious little girl, who has so much beautiful emotion and sensitivity.
I grew up with two brothers that were tough on me. Thanks to them, I became somewhat of a tomboy…which I totally appreciate. I went from a little girl that was walked all over to someone who doesn’t like to quit. I learned not to cower out of fear. All of my limitations made me stronger.
When you’re a kid, you don’t know any better. Even though my parents were always telling me not to compare myself to others, I couldn’t help it. There was always some better in sports, or prettier, or smarter…We censor ourselves through our senses: what we see, feel, hear, etc. If anything, I look back and wish I could tell myself that there’s room for everyone to shine. We all have our own fingerprint. Even though I still struggle, I have more confidence today because I have learned to embrace my uniqueness.
I wouldn’t still be standing and doing what I do if I didn’t go through all of my trials. I wasn’t ready for success when I was younger. I needed to gain confidence and, I think growing up poor, it has made me incredibly grateful for what I have. I had nothing for so much of my life—even up to 2008 when David and I had to short sale our house and almost lost everything. I don’t take for granted what God has blessed me with. I feel thankful and humbled. And I can look back now and see how God was laying the groundwork; maturing my character in Christ.
Above all else, I think the greatest affect my childhood has had on my adult life, the experiences that have woven together the “spanx” that has shaped me as an adult, is how I am as a mother. When I reflect on the direct link between my childhood and now, I can see how the voids that I felt as a child I’m able to discern in my own children’s lives. It has helped me to be more empathetic and ultimately a better mother and a better wife. I am grateful for my blessings. I don’t take anything for granted and I really try and meet each of my kids where they are. I look back and, although I have had so many trials, I am eternally thankful for God’s plan. It’s not close to what I thought it would be…but it is so much richer.
What about you? How has your childhood shaped you to be the person you are today?