But who am I?

We recently took a weekend jaunt to Amarillo to visit darling daughter and son-in-law and to celebrate her passing the national certification exam for Speech-Language Pathology. Even though  it’s only about a four-hour drive, it seems considerably longer when you start out in the dark, continue through daybreak, add an hour time difference, and arrive halfway into morning. Besides, in my book anything over 60 minutes qualifies as an expedition (and usually requires at least one pit stop).

The hubster always starts out in the driver’s seat because I don’t like to drive at night, and especially not through the canyons when the deer are out foraging. My night vision isn’t good enough to see them until I’m right on top of them, and since I don’t want them right on top of me, he takes the graveyard shift. However, after the sun comes up, I’m ready to swap places and take my turn.

Without fail, the moment I get behind the wheel, the Sandman comes to call. I have found that the best way to occupy my mind while traversing the long stretch of nada is by contemplating some of life’s great mysteries. Mysteries such as:

Why don’t humans and monkeys peel bananas from the same end?
Why is it so difficult to drive the speed limit?

What is it about speed limit signs, anyway, that makes it nearly impossible to actually go the speed limit?? I’m a cruise control junkie (I even use it in 20 mph school zones), but pushing the button when the speedometer needle is exactly at the posted speed is like trying to push two magnets together. For some reason, doing 76 in a 75 mph zone is almost as gratifying as secretly devouring an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (Not that I’ve ever personally done that.)

When I turned 13 years old, there was no fudging on the speed at which I progressed from childhood to monsterhood. I believe there may have even been a sonic boom. Move over Big Bird; Attila the Hun is in the house. My parents must have been overjoyed that they’d started me in school early because they only had to wait four more years to ship me off to college.

I think it would be fair to say that after I left home, I went on full tilt. Fortunately, it would still be a number of years until I married, so I had plenty of time to work the youthful crazies out of my system. Having experienced firsthand the potholes and pitfalls of independence, when I finally did marry and become a parent I took extra special care to steer my daughter down the straight and narrow. I tried to be especially diligent in setting myself up as a good example.

I wonder if the fear of having your kid one day ask if you’d ever done any of the things you’ve told them not to do haunts other parents the way it did me? You know that one day they’re going to. In my head I had rehearsed what I’d say countless times, but the morning my daughter finally asked me was as startling as having someone sneak up and pop a balloon in my face.

If I said yes, would she throw it back at me the next time I cautioned her about something? Would she accuse me of being able to have all the fun while stealing hers? Would the word “hypocrite” suddenly enter her vocabulary? Would the glitter on my angel wings be exposed for the soot and ashes it really was?

I was the Mothership! How was I supposed to reveal that beneath this squeaky-clean deck were barnacles and rust? Fact was, this vessel wasn’t the sleek, unblemished luxury liner I had portrayed it to be – this was a scarred and dented battleship.

That morning as we talked, I realized that it wasn’t necessary for me to go into the details of my youthful stupidity. None of that really mattered. What did matter was getting to share with her the flawed thinking that had driven my destructive behavior; how the things I thought were freedoms of expression were the very things that ensnared me; how God delivered a sinner like me from death to new life in Jesus Christ; and how He had made a brand new creation of me – a sleek and unblemished vessel with new eyes to see, new ears to hear, a new mind to understand, and a new heart to do His will.

I was able to tell her how I used to plead with God to take away the memories of the scars and dents, and how He had enlightened my mind to the value of remembering how far down He’d had to cast His net. And I had the opportunity to share lessons about forgiveness – forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self, and the forgiveness of Christ – lessons that some day she will need to know when she inevitably makes mistakes of her own.

Which is why I no longer have to fear my daughter’s questions. The deliverance and true freedom that are mine in Christ are the real story here. Why wouldn’t I want to share a story like that?! This is who I am.

 Listen here . . .


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Category: Children, Legacies
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3 Responses
  1. Judy Palmer says:

    Very nice! Certainly one of those things we, as parents, always think about but never express in words as concisely as you have. I especially like the statement “Would the word “hypocrite” suddenly enter her vocabulary? ” It’s nice that we have forgiveness and a clean, fresh start!

  2. Tiffany says:

    Good post, Susan! I know a person who has claimed Christ and is a new creation and has continued to grow, but one day she was startled by a question her daughter asked about her past. Totally taken off guard, she lied to her (she texted me when things started rolling– expressing her upset at the question…and refused to own up to the truth (and there are ways to give truth without exposing more than is needed in answering) ).

    I think we need to be ready to give an answer, even if it’s not easy!

    AND it’s important for those with whom we share our failings with to understand that our failure is NEVER a license to sin.

    Good stuff to think about. Thank you for sharing!


    • Unapologetically Susan says:


      I agree 100%. Our children already know we’re not perfect, so to refuse to admit we’ve made mistakes is not only hypocritical, but can actually increase the resentment and rebellion we feared and sought to avoid in the first place.

      If I could give your friend some advice, I would tell her to humble herself and admit the lie to her daughter, apologize, explain the reasons for her fear, and share the Good News of God’s deliverance. I think she would earn her daughter’s respect, not her condemnation. This is from someone who has firsthand experience.

      I truly appreciate your comments and feedback, so please keep it coming!


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