Would You Send Me Away?
“If you had to send one of us away, like take one of us out of Hosea’s Heart, and you had to pick one of us… who would you pick?” One of my teenagers sprang the question on me and caught me off guard. I think she noticed my frown of confusion because she continued without allowing me to answer. “Because I think it should be me. You would send me away, right?”
“Why would you say that?” I was still trying to put the pieces together in my head as to where this question was coming from. But I didn’t have to work to find the answer; her heart came out in the next breath.
“Because I’ve done a lot of wrong things this year, and I…” her eyes glistened over. “I just feel unworthy to be a part of Hosea’s Heart anymore.”
My heart lurched to new life at feeling – in my own stomach – the ache in her chest.
“I won’t lie to you,” I gently set my hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her hungry eyes, which were now at full attention. “Yes, you’ve had a tough year. And yes, I’ve been very disappointed at certain times…”
She nodded, accepting the weight of her own “failure,” but I quickly continued.
“But you are not a disappointment. Given the choice I would never send you away. So, get those lies and thoughts out of your head.”
“Really?” her tears disappeared with surprise.
“I’ve been disappointed, but you are not a disappointment,” I repeated. “There’s a fine line between guilt and shame. Guilt is the feeling that you did something wrong; it brings on humility and confession, which gives you healing and freedom. But shame is the feeling that you as a person are wrong – a failure – and that only brings on depression and hopelessness.”
“Yeah, I think I’ve been giving in to shame,” she replied, still looking defeated.
“Listen, sweetheart,” her eyes lifted back to mine. “I am proud of you.” I saw her take in the weight of those words with a sharp breath. “I’m proud of you, not because you’re perfect, but because you were willing to take responsibilities for your mistakes. You had such great courage to confess, even in front of all your sisters, risking complete embarrassment and shame, and you took the responsibility of your own poor choices. That takes courage. That takes strength. That takes both humility and authority.”
“Wow, I didn’t know. I thought you wouldn’t want me here anymore,” she shook her head, exhaling the inner pain of believing she wasn’t worthy anymore. “Thank you,” she hugged me.
“No, thank you. You have potential to change the world. I know it.”
Her eyes lit up like a wild fire. I could tell her passion was reignited. And I knew in that moment, I was also newly alive. Encouraged by her vulnerability and inspired by her humility, I thanked God for allowing me to be a part of small but significant moments like this.
Sometimes, all it takes is a word. One spark can start a fire, and one word can heal a soul.
After all, it was a word that began it all: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” [Gen 1:3].
And the Word that saved us all:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” [John 1:1-5]