Hey, self. Warning: it's going to get deep. Sorry! That's just how we're wired! Some people are going to read us talking to ourself and think we're nuts. If they only knew, right?! Folks are already shocked by what comes out of our mouth, and it can't be any worse once they hear what we don't say, amiright?!
So as you know, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone does something publicly but apologizes privately. For example, when the kids act a fool or get lippy in a store so all the strangers judge us harshly, and then apologize and cry in the car telling us we're the best mommy ever?! Yeah, that's annoying. Or how about when the hubs has a quick little jab to say at the table in front of his family, and then later apologizes for it when you get home and it's just the two of you? Yeah, I want to stab him with a fork then, too. To me, if you do something for everyone to see that deserves an apology, then you should apologize just the same. I don't believe in "no harm, no foul" in this regard - the damage is done with an audience, and so should the repair. This letter comes from a little bit of a different situation though.
I owe you an apology. My offenses aren't always public (although, regrettably, sometimes they are...like when you're the butt of all my jokes) but what I do to you is mostly done in private. The effects, of course, bleed over into your outward self and into all areas of your life, but no one else knows because it's just between you and me. Nonetheless, let me take a stab at a public apology.
I'm sorry. From the deepest part of my heart, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that you're never good enough. That you constantly hear my condemning voice picking you apart. I can imagine that you shy away from risks or from being vulnerable, or even being certain, because you know, like a shadow lurking over...there I am. To remind you that you're not smart enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, or disciplined enough to do that, or be that, or try that. I'm the first to remind you that you mess up often or that you quit that last time or just how flawed you are.
I'm sorry that I won't let you forget your past. I'm sorry that I critique your current self based on your past regrets. I know you're washed anew and forgiven and made white, but I can't help to convince you that all that biblical jargon doesn't change who I know. And for that I'm so sorry. When you want to stand up for Christ or venture out to encourage and reach other women, I'm sorry that I make sure you remember that you were a teenage mom and when you were even younger, you took advantage of that "partying stage" everyone goes through. I'm sorry that no matter how "clean" God's made you, I can't help but drag you back through the mud. Every. Single. Time.
I'm sorry that when you excel at one area in your life, that I can't let you feel successful and bask in that victory. I'm sorry that I always bring your thoughts to the areas in which you had to sacrifice to make that happen, reminding you that you can't do it all. I pick apart your mothering when you're a good entrepreneur, your success when you're a good homemaker, your wife skills when you're pouring into your kids. I'm so, so wrong when I condemn you to not be good at one single thing, because that means there are other areas I will jump on.
I'm sorry for every single time you pass a mirror. I know you have pretty nice legs and shining blue eyes, but I always seem to draw your eye to your overbite and lack of chin, or the muffin top and acne scars. You are beautiful, and I can't apologize enough for nit-picking the detailed beauty God made in you. While you're at it, apologize to your daughters. They're watching and I'm doing a number on them too.
I'm sorry that I keep you small. That I dim God's light in you and I diminish your purpose. The way I critique all the risks you want to take for His kingdom is paralyzing you. I know God has great plans for you and my constant whispers of fear and insecurity come very close to making you often call it quits. There's no greater fear that I have than the damage I cause in this area. That my constant critique will strip your love for God. That maybe you'll get His voice and my voice confused or maybe I'll convince you, after beating you down for so long, that you're not worthy of His love. Let that be my greatest apology. I'm so sorry that my voice can draw you away from the greatest love you'll ever know.
As any good mother, I'll remind you that actions speak louder than words. I know we've got a lot of work to do to get my tongue in check. But here's a good start. Please accept my public apology for shaming you in private. We're going to do great things together. Let's stick to witty comebacks and inappropriate "that's what she said" conversations between us. The world is harsh enough. Let's be on each other's team. I love you, girl.
Your biggest fan,
This is Candace. She hates long walks on the beach and would prefer a short drive to get a doughnut. Her creative spirit leaves her husband constantly guessing which room she'll decorate next and her kids requesting elaborate birthday parties. She'll tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it. But don't worry, she'll make you laugh to soften the blow. Her heart longs to share the realness of her life and provide someone else a "me too" in a moment of isolation. Words are her thing; she writes to heal. God grasped a hold of Candace as a teenage mama, and she's been desperate for His love and sensitive to His voice everyday since.