“You don't have to go looking for love when it's where you come from.” -Werner Erhard
During a nightly walk, my younger daughter told me she wanted to visit a nursing home like we did before we moved. “There’s just something about old people,” she explained. “It makes me sad sometimes when I see them. I just want to cheer them up.”
“Okay,” I said, both pleased and surprised to learn this about her. “Let’s plan on it. And as soon as we get home, I want to show you something.”
After Avery got into her pajamas, we gathered in her bed and I pulled up this video. I’d watched it more times than I care to admit. In this touching German commercial, an elderly father fakes his death in order to get his busy children and grandchildren to come see him for the holidays. The way the man’s sullen face transforms to elation when given the gift of time and presence makes me weep.
I thought I was alone in this emotional reaction to mere commercial—but it turns out, I wasn’t.
When it got to the part where the man comes around the corner revealing he is alive, my child began to cry. She covered her face. “I can’t stand it. It makes me sad and happy, Mama,” she whimpered.
“Me too,” I said. “I feel the same way.”
Avery leaned her head against me like two kindred souls who knew it was okay to be soft together … to be open to the pain and joy of others … to cry if you are moved.
I gave her that gift; I thought to myself. And suddenly a long-held cloak of shame lifted—the one that labeled me a terrible gift giver. It stemmed from an experience at age eight when I hurriedly stuffed a flimsy ten-dollar bill in a plain envelope for my sister’s Christmas gift. On Christmas morning the money was accidentally discarded with the crumpled wrapping paper. My family searched and searched but couldn’t find it. My sister seemed so sad that Christmas morning, but it wasn’t about the money. I knew she would be smiling had I put a little thought and effort into her gift that year—had I not been so selfish. Putting my needs and my agenda ahead of everyone else’s was an on-going problem of mine, and it could not be ignored whenever birthdays and holidays rolled around. What in the world will I give? I’d wracked my brain knowing what was required to give a meaningful gift was often more than I was willing to give.
Until this year.
Until Avery and I had our moment of softness together, and I realized I’d given some pretty meaningful gifts in recent years.
What I’ve learned over the past five years on my Hands Free journey is that the best gifts do not come in a box. The best gifts involve giving of ourselves in ways that require time, introspection, heart, and sacrifice. And so with that, I want to tell you the best gifts I’ve given. My hope is that my painfully honest sharing might inspire someone else to consider this holiday the start of a true life-enhancing gift—one that will impact the receiver, as well as the giver, and quite possibly the world for years to come. It is possible. It really is. Take a look:
The best gift I gave my husband was ACCEPTANCE.
For the first ten years of our marriage I often thought about the things I wanted to change in my husband. I wished he would open up more. I wished he would listen better. I wished he would notice when things needed picked up around the house, look me in the eyes when we talk, and chew his gum more quietly. I really wished he wouldn’t make such a fuss when it came to birthday and holidays. (How dare he?)
I spent a lot of time wishing my husband would be someone different than who he was.
One day the two of us were having a heated moment. Before any new experience, I tend to get very anxious. I tend to worry. My husband isn’t this way, and he was telling me to relax. I said, “This is a new experience for me! I get anxious. Haven’t you figured this out yet? This is who I am. I am not going to change. And it’s okay. Maybe it doesn’t need to be changed.”
And while I was standing there wanting him to see me, love me, “as is”, I saw him for who he was.
And when I decided to stop wishing for him to change, I noticed he opened up at night when the lights were out, and I was all there. I noticed he listened carefully when I said, “This is important.” I noticed he took care of many things around the house that never got on my radar. I realized he wasn’t trying to outdo me on gifting; he just loved to give and had a knack for remembering exactly what people like. And when he chewed gum, I reminded myself I would miss this sound of that someday; the sound became (almost) comforting.
The best gift I gave my husband was ACCEPTANCE, and it turned out to be a gift to me as well.
The best gift I gave my first-born daughter was FREEDOM.
For the first six years of Natalie’s life, I expected much from this small, contentious child. On those small shoulders she carried great pressure from a woman who wanted things to look perfect and go according to her master plan. Natalie quickly picked up on my perfectionistic ways. She began to be hard on herself. She wore the look of defeat in her eyes and picked her upper lip in worry. One day I noticed the door to her room was shut more often that open, and the reason was not lost on me: My child would rather be alone than in the company of her critical mother. I knew that if I wanted to be invited into the conversations, joys, secrets, and sorrows of this precious child, I must control and criticize less and surrender and encourage more.
I began to acknowledge all the things Natalie did right instead the things I perceived to be “wrong”. I learned there were times when her “mistakes” didn’t need to be mentioned at all. After all, she was growing & learning and needed freedom to try, fall down, and get back up without a critic standing over her shoulder. My goal for our time together was to improve on her day rather than detract from it. Over time, I learned to stand back and watch as this child used her organizational skills and creativity to run neighborhood camps, delve into complicated medical books, and advocate for the less fortunate. Each night she and I talk in her darkened room and she tells me how she’s going to help the world. She knows there will be mistakes and failings along the way, but no matter what, I will be cheering her on.
The best gift I gave my older child was FREEDOM to try, fail, and succeed, and it turned out to be a gift to me as well.
The best gift I gave my younger child was TIME.
By the time my younger daughter was four, I’d made it crystal clear that her stop-and-smell-the-roses approach to life was a thorn in her efficient mother’s side. But it wasn’t until her older sister articulated it in a demoralizing tone to her little sister that I saw the damage I was doing to both of my children.
That day I looked into Avery’s eyes and said, “I’m so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”
Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my unusual admission, but Avery’s face held the unmistakable glow of affirmation. I knew that if I could keep my vow to live more like her, it would be a life-changer.
Whenever possible, I let Avery set the pace. I complimented her for noticing things most people didn’t. I began to notice with her. I witnessed the joy she experienced when she slowly put on her favorite pajamas, carefully sprinkled cinnamon on her applesauce, lovingly cared for a sad classmate, or patiently waited for her grandpa. My child was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.
This child is now the writer of music. It is a painstaking process with a guitar and a notebook—but she has the talent, the confidence, and the patience to prevail. Most of all, Avery has time on her side; there is no need to hurry when you are singing a vital message to a hurried world.
I gave my child the gift of TIME, and it was a gift to me as well.
The best gift I gave myself was PERMISSION:
I would be leaving out a critical gift if I did not mention the gift I gave myself. In fact, none of the above gifts could have been given had I not given myself permission—permission to stop being the person who could “do it all” with a smile while my spirit slowly died inside … permission to turn off the noise of the outside world and turn toward the callings of my heart … permission to be human … permission to use my failings as stepping stones to an improved version of me … permission to cry … permission to rejoice … permission to breathe. I would not be who I am today had I not given myself permission to write for at least ten minutes a day with the hope of becoming an author who helped others grasp what mattered most.
Five years ago I gave myself the gift of PERMISSION. It was a gift to my husband, my children, and to those who read my truths and hopes. I am still not the best material gift giver, but I’ve gotten the hang of digging deep to give what matters most. My hope is that this piece has you feeling less pressured about what holiday gifts you’ll box up and more focused on what gifts you’ll reach for deep down in your soul. Gifts of time, presence, forgiveness, and acceptance not only impact the receiver but also the giver, as well as the world.
If you are wondering where to start the process of gifting what matters – whether it is for yourself or someone you love – this exquisite quote shared by my friend Kaitlin seems fitting:
“be softer with you
you are a breathing thing
a memory to someone
a home to a life”
– Nayyirah Waheed
Yes. Oh yes. Meaningful gift giving starts with being softer.
Be softer with you.
Be softer with him.
Be softer with her.
We can’t go wrong if we are softer, kinder, more open, more forgiving, and more accepting. Love is always a good place to start.
And if nothing else, watch the elderly man who simply wanted the gift of his people gathered around his table. It’s okay if it makes you cry. It does me too.
My friends, 2015 has been momentous with the release and positive reception of my second book, HANDS FREE LIFE. Every day I receive messages indicating my words are helping others change their distracted and negative way of life to meaningfully connect with their family and find joy again. This positive feedback is everything to me. 2015 has also been extremely trying given the medical issues I have experienced. Today I feel certain I am on a path to healing, and I have so many of you to thank for carrying me, praying for me, and offering me suggestions for healing. I will be taking some time off from the blog while I continue to recover and soak up the love of my family. While my blog is quiet over the next few weeks, you can find great inspiration in the books I have written. The exact steps I took to be able to give the four life-altering gifts described in this post are found in HANDS FREE MAMA and the nine habits I use daily to respond with more peace, presence, and love are found in HANDS FREE LIFE. Please look for HANDS FREE LIFE at Target stores or online. My books would make an incredibly meaningful but economical gift for anyone who is seeking more presence, peace, and joy in 2016.
I love you all. You are a gift to me.
Thank you!!!!! This is my favorite blog post of yours that I have ever read.
Thank you so much for your wise words – I see so many similarities between your before and my now… But I am recognizing it, and trying to be “softer” for all those I love, including myself. Thank you!
Thank you. I needed this. My husband and my daughters need this, from me. So, thank you x
Kerry Foreman says
This is actually one of my favorite pieces of yours. Beautifully insightful.
This is just so beautiful. I am giving myself the gift of your latest book this year. It’s wrapped up with my new cozy pj’s just waiting to be opened up on Christmas Eve (and yes, I bought my own gift and wrapped it, which my overworked grad student husband greatly appreciated this year! :)). Your writing is such a gift to me. Sending love and thanks from Toronto.
Thank you for teaching me how to be Softer and making me realize that it’s ok to sit back ,not worry, take your time & smell the Roses !!!!
Thank you for sharing. I am a perfectionist when it comes to certain things esp chores, my son calls it ocd, which has me really thinking I need to let go…to grasp what really matters. I need to be softer in a lot of areas of my life and to those I love.
Oh, dear, powerful, Rachel, you have NO idea how badly I needed to see this today. I’ve been following you for years now, but sometimes we all need reminders. I’ve been so hard on my oldest recently because I’ve been so stressed with work and holidays and trying to “do it all” and I needed help from her to get it all done. I need to be softer, much much softer, for that is where HER heart is. I am weeping now, because of this gift you have given me, and continue to give me every time I read your posts. Just because I’m an efficient, Type-A perfectionist doesn’t mean everyone around me can and should be. I have got to start appreciating who THEY are and not who I think they should be to help me. Thank you, yet again. May God bless your home and hearts this Christmas with joy, love, and most importantly, good health.
Dearest Rachel, I cannot improve on what Nina has written. May your gifts to your lovely folk and to yourself provide the warm nourishing rain that nurtures the garden of your heart. Such powerful writing. I weep and I have a word for what I will give – soft, soft, soft presence. Love, Claire
Thank you . Thank you. Thank you.
Your post really resonated with me. My first child needs me to give her freedom. I think I’ve been realizing that over the past few weeks but have been slow to act on it.
Also, my second child needs time. We usually consider him poky and get frustrated when we need him to be quick. This will be hard for me. How do you give a child like this time when you have to leave at a specific time to be somewhere (particularly school)?
Worthy thoughts for the day. Thank you.
Jennifer Pitt says
I am crying at my desk, at work. All of these things…all of these things I want to give my husband and my daughter. I want so badly to learn to let go, let it be, and let THEM be. Why do I care so much if it’s not “just so”? It’s not making any of our lives happier or healthier. Thank you for this post. I am going to save it and read it every day until I GET IT. XO
*tears* Thank you for this.
This is one of the best articles I have read in my life! Thank you for sharing all the lessons you’ve learned as it helps us to recognize that in ourselves. This article rings true to me and it helps me to see what I had to go through as a child. I mean to apply these lessons into my own life, I hope and pray for your speedy recovery and look forward to reading more of your writings, you are an amazing author.
Rachel Stafford says
This means so much to me, Clarissa. Wow. I will hold these words close to my heart forever. Truly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
My children are 6 and 7 and I have been struggling since they came into this world.
Your posts are changing my thoughts, my behaviour and our time together.
I wish you a very happy and joyful Christmas with your family ? X
Rachel Stafford says
I am touched profoundly. Thank you for letting me know. You have blessed me.
Wow! I needed to read that. You are a brilliant writer.
Rachel Stafford says
The little 8 year old girl who hoped & prayed she would someday “be a writer” is smiling so big at these “soul building” words you have gifted me with.
This really hit home for me. Thanks for putting down on paper what I have been feeling like for such a long time. I really loved this.
This is perfect in so many ways. I enjoy your writing tremendously, even when it makes me cry. Your voice is a little reminder to slow down, live life, and truly enjoy my children, my husband, and all the other things I love so much. Thank you, Rachel.
Thank you a thousand times for this. You and I are so very very similar, and our families are too. I have been feeling this strongly in my heart and you have given it words and clarity. Thank you So very much for this gift. You are giving all of us permission too.
I am just balling my eyes out reading this … and as we speak am I trying to find out how to block Facebook for the next 2 weeks. I am SO distracted by it. I am not as present as I want to be. I want to experience it. The Hands Free Life. I want to spend the holidays together. Not behind my computer screen, shopping for the last things on the list… or running around to get everything in the house on time. While the kids lie listless in front of the tv. I have to be present and model it for them, in order for them to be present. Please tell me we can do it. Like you did. It seems an insurmountable task. But I want it so badly. For everyone’s sake.
Rachel Stafford says
Dear Cecile – there is hope, friend. First, you can deactivate your FB account for as long or as little as you want. After you have a break from it (which I HIGHLY recommend for a week or two) you can reactivate it and your profile will still be there. Here is the link on how to do it: https://www.facebook.com/help/214376678584711/
Also, here is a post that tells several of the first steps I took to be more present and more joyful in my life. You can do this, Cecile. You already did the hardest step which is looking inward and seeing where change was needed AND you shared it publicly. This is tremendous. I see a positive future ahead. Be sure and read this: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2015/01/05/finding-hope-in-the-before-after-its-not-beyond-repair/. Also, my book HANDS FREE MAMA is filled with more tips and strategies for becoming the mom and human being you want to become. I am walking beside you!
Thank you for this! Today is my birthday and I cried as I read these words because I realized that this year I will be giving these gifts to my family (and to myself). It was just what I needed to hear and the perfect day for me to hear it.
John S Green says
Glad to see the Noticer (Avery) is writing her own songs. Just listened to her utube—’Oh, My Soul’—nice ending smile! Your ideas for gifts are the best!
Thank you so much for your honesty. Your words are a balm to the broken child within who is trying so hard to ‘be who I was before the world told me who I should be’…
Thank you for giving me hope and encouraging me with your stories of love- though at times painful, they demonstrate immense love and peace.
Oh, wow. I needed this today. Thank you. xox
Jenny Johnston says
As always, your words move me to action. I have just been waiting for this year to end….2015 has been nothing but one hardship an trial after another an I am ready for a start over!! However, for the first time in a while I actually opened your blog to read it (i have been living in a state of overwhelm and I think even the edges of depression) and of course my eyes are now wide open to the fact that I am choosing my path/attitude/outcome right now and I need to choose a DIFFERENT path/attitude/outcome if I want 2016 to be DIFFERENT from 2015!
Thank you dear friend, no matter what you write, your words always gives me the EXACT message I need. Enjoy your time with your family…I think I will need to go back and read all the other posts I have missed. I am so grateful that I gave myself the gift of reading your blog today. I hope it gives me the motivation to change my path TODAY!!
Excellent article! Thank you for making the effort to be introspective and share your reflections…
Julie Burton says
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you, Rachel! Happy holidays!
I stumbled upon your website some time ago and always enjoy your thoughtful posts. This one in particular was a timely gift for me… thank you and Merry Christmas!!
I always enjoy your posts, but this one resonated in particular. Parts of it made me tear up. You may not consider yourself a great gift-giver, but this post is an unexpected, wonderful, and much needed gift for me (and many others, looking at the comments). I just printed your post and will keep re-reading it. My son needs both freedom and time. And my husband needs acceptance. The chewing too loudly, the not picking up, the difference in our approach to social situations like holiday celebrations…yes, I know all those well. And I have been struggling with acceptance. A lot.
I’m very grateful for your honesty and openness and your willingness to share these deeply personal insights with strangers.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for stepping beside me in the light of realness, Chris. It is comforting to know you are here beside me & that you can relate to what I wrote. I am grateful to know my sharing helped you. You have blessed me with your openness in return.
It’s no surprise you’d hold to your gift giving identity from childhood as, I’m sure you know, scientists believe children develop the majority of their core personality traits before the age of eight. That is why your writing is so important; you’re providing parents with the tools they need to shape their children’s personalities in positive ways. I’m forever grateful for you sharing your heart and your soul with others as its inspired me in ways you could never imagine. Many blessings to you and your family this holiday season and many, many prayers that your body, mind, and spirit recover during this time of rest!!!
You always write so beautifully, but this one specifically touched my heart in so many ways. Thank you!
bless you sweet mama.
Rachel Garlinghouse says
Merry Christmas, Rachel! Thank you for being the author of THE book I tell everyone I can to READ RIGHT NOW! (Yes, I know I’m using all caps a lot—lol.) Two weeks ago, I ordered one of the bracelets from your site, and I wear it every day to remind myself to be HANDS FREE and to CHOOSE LOVE. Your books have made a big difference in my life. As a writer myself, I often have so many ideas, so many projects, so many opportunities, but I’m getting better and better about saying NO more to that which doesn’t really matter and YES to my family, to my happiness, to God.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, dear one. Your support has made ALL the difference in my life & I love this message today SO much (I use caps too!). So grateful to walk beside you on this journey.
I am a mom of five, ages 10- 8-6-3-3mnths, and have been inspired by you for over a year. I have both of your books and have given them as gifts multiple times with intentions of spreading your meaningful and comforting words. I have to finally write you to let you know you have helped me make such a difference for my family. Having a large family gives me many opportunities for my mean inner critic, mom guilt and always trying to improve my relationships with my children. From more patience, to now always getting out of my van at school drop off for a hug (one of my favorite changes that has stuck for almost 2 years), and learning to fully engage in my children’s presence (I now enjoy my children climbing on me during TV time because I’m no longer a moving target)…..I thank you. I thank you for writing. I thank you for letting all of us into your life and witness you overcome challenges, as we get to all learn how to live a little less distracted in this quick distracted world. Have a very merry Christmas and enjoy bringing in the new year with your family.
Looking forward to future posts,
Rachel Stafford says
This means absolutely everything!!! THANK YOU! What a blessing it is to walk beside you on this journey.
Thank you for this post! And my thank you goes for all of your posts. You are helping me be a better wife and mother – the two most important “jobs” of my life. And I love you dearly for it. Merry Christmas!!
Just beautiful! Such wise words. Thank you, Rachel, from my heart to yours.
Mamie Lou Jones says
Thank You So Much, I needed this more than you will ever know, there is know way I can ever Thank You enough, May God Bless & Keep You & Your Family Always!
I cannot begin to tell you how your blog today struck a chord. I’m trying to type through my tears as I realize this is just what I need to do. I need to stop wishing for perfection from my husband and boys but from myself. I can’t do everything for everyone and expect the same in return. I need to ‘soften’ my heart and be more accepting. I need to embrace the beautiful differences in my boys, slow down, listen more and love completely. Many of your blogs, posts and personal experiences have touched my heart, but this one spoke volumes. Thank you for being so candid, so open, so honest. You have impacted my life and through my changes, you’ve impacted my family as well. Thank you! Much love, from my heart to yours.
Geetha Mahesh says
your thoughts have been penned so beautifully and as it stemmed from your own experiences sure makes an impact. I have got the book hands free life. Do keep up your blog posts as well. It serves as a daily dose of wisdom in times when I could not get to reading the book. Thanks for being there not only for your family but for all of us out there who need words of wisdom to appreciate what we have and slow down.
Thank you for your gift to us, of sharing this and bringing it to our attention – especially in this crazy time of year Xx
Though I am German I hadn’t seen that commercial before. Thanks so much for pointing it out, it made me cry too.
Dear Rachel, I want to thank you: for this blog, for your books and for the honesty and openess in your writing. Reading ‘Hands free Mama’ has changed my life and that of my kids. It has changed my attitude and I don’t think that would have happened without your book. Same goes for this blog, it encourages me and I love to read about your daughters and to take part in your lives that way.
What is it with us women that so many of us strived to be perfect and needed you to make clear we got it wrong? When reading your blog and more so the comments I realize I am not alone.
There is no way I can thank you enough! I wish a very merry Christmas to you and your family and a happy New Year! May it be blessed and I do hope all your health issues will clear up.
Many hugs dear Rachel and all the very best to you and your family!
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Nell. I cherish your encouraging words, your presence on this journey, and your healing prayers! Thank you for taking time to write such a lovely comment and lift my heart today.
Rachel, I just want to let you know I read all of your posts but don’t usually comment but can’t help it today. This is one of the best articles I have ever read in my life. I am trying so hard to be Hands Free, choose Love, Acceptance, and Time but I am struggling. I want so badly to learn to let go and just be. Thank you for this post, I am going to save it and read it every day.
I pray for your speedy recovery. I was thinking of you all day on Monday and holding my hands together for you.
You are an amazing author. Happy Holidays!
Wow – as all others have said before me, this is a beautiful post. And so perfect for this time of year, when we need patience and thoughtfulness the most. I still can’t believe how fast they year has gone by, a definite by-product of always being in a hurry. As the mother of two teenage girls, I often think about what “wisdom” to bestow on them on the rare occasions when I have their undivided attention. I will definitely use your post as my guide the next time I get to have the floor. Thanks!
Anya Phillips says
Rachel – I have been following you for years. I have read both of your books and believe them with all my heart. And last night, I sat in our daughter’s bed crying as I watched her sleep and my heart broke at the ways I’d criticized, and condemned her and allowed her to fall asleep without a good night kiss…agony for my soul because it’s so far from who I want to be! And yet the control freak in me, the ‘adult’ version of myself who swears my life will never be as out of control as my entire childhood life was is having a hard time balancing the me I long to be.
This post shattered me in the most amazing way possible. Thank you for this. Thank you for truly articulating the exact words I needed to hear – acceptance, freedom, time…and I’ll work on accepting permission. You have such a beautiful soul, I love how the Lord has gifted you to share your heart through words. I pray you know how powerful they are. Thank you for challenging me to be the mom, wife and person I aspire to be…I remained myself last night that it is not too late to mend the space between my daughter and myself. And I woke her up with cuddles this morning…a sweet start to the day!!
I want to thank you for coining the term “Noticer.” I always thought that I was slow (well, I kind of am. I don’t tend to move very fast), but now I understand that I’m a Noticer. I have 3 daughters. My middle one is definitely a Noticer also. I always think of your words in a previous blog post when you talked about discovering your daughter is a Noticer. It helps me to calm down and let my girl move at her own pace. It is difficult in certain situations though (like morning routine and making it to the bus on time). I love your blog and have being following it for a long time. Thank you! Have a blessed holiday season!
John S Green says
Being a ‘Noticer’ is an incredible privilege. Most Noticers do not cherish the special abilities they have!
Noticers are poets, artists of all kinds, inventors and creators of the best kind. Welcome to the ‘Noticer’ club!
Thanks, John! We are very artistic and creative in this house.
Just wanted to wish you a very Happy Christmas and to thank you for the gift of your wise words and insight. I came across your blog this year thanks to a friend and am so very glad. I love your ‘warts and all’ stories which make me feel less alone and give me hope that I too can change for the better. I especially love this post – perhaps because there are so many similarities with my own family life. Thank you for having the courage to be so honest – a rare gift – for by doing so you are being truly inspirational. I wish you well in your journey back to health.
Thank you for always making me feel like there is hope! You are a gift to all you reach! Thank you and blessing to you and your family.
Thank you for sharing and being honest and real. I got a lot out of this post. I also felt connected to another person’s feelings and that was such a good feeling!
Beautifully written, Rachel. Your honesty is such a gift. My life has been blessed by your kind words and gentle reminders. For the 12 days of Christmas, I have been sending out my favorite Hands Free quotes to my girlfriends. It has been recieved with much love, and continues to remind me of the true gifts of life. Thank-you…Wishing you & your family a Merry Christmas !
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Shannon! WOW! I think the greatest gift an author can receive is when someone wants to share her words. I am so touched. Thank you for being so supportive of me & my work!!!
Crystal Aylsworth says
This is so perfect at Christmas. I am a very last minute shopper, planner, etc. have 2 daughters with December and January birthdays. This is a very stressful time around our house. I LOVED YOUR WORDS HERE. Thank you for the very important reminders today. I needed this.
Ambrey Nichols says
Such a great reminder so close to the Holidays. It’s hard to remember all of this when we are scrambling around to get things done. I like the permission part too for yourself. That helps as you said to give to others. It is a great reminder for me and how I act towards my wife and son.
So nice. Acceptance is such a great gift to give any loved one. I think its hard to grow without acceptance from someone.
I greatly needed this and “A Vow to ‘Soften’ So Your Loved Ones Can Shine” today. I’m struggling. I’m not enjoying life. I don’t like myself. I don’t like my husband. I don’t like where we are in life. My four girls are suffering, because I am suffering. I’m striving to be different; like I used to be before the cares of this world have taken over. Before I became tired and worn out. It starts with permission. It starts with allowing those around me grace. I feel I’m failing in spite of the great effort put forth. I’m aware the devil is using these lies to keep me captive. I just can’t seem to shake them. Thank you for these articles of hope. I have printed them and will read them on a regular basis. I will continue to strive and pray and plead with God for deliverance.
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