Can’t Take it Back

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me!

The old saying is just not true.  It’s a total and complete lie!

Sometimes words hurt way worse than sticks, stones, fists, and bruises.  Words have the ability to hurt our hearts way down deep inside.

And a bruise or a cut will heal and go away.  Sometimes — rarely — it leaves a scar.  But the skin heals.

You can’t take words back.  They have a tendency to play back over and over in your head.

Ever been hurt by words?  Ever been hurt so badly by words that your heart actually aches?

I have.

But I experienced something much worse tonight.

I hurt someone else with my words.  I hurt someone so badly that I made their heart hurt.

And it was my own child.

I’m not being too hard on myself.  We all make mistakes.  But words cannot be taken away.  And my child happens to have one of the best memories around.  He’ll remember this day for a very, very long time.

I shamed him, and I hurt his feelings.  I knew it as soon as I said it.  But instead of immediately dropping to my knees beside him and trying to fix it before my unkind words sunk in, I left the room and let the words sink in deeply.

His crying was deep and painful when I returned a few minutes later.  He didn’t want me in the room.  He didn’t want me to talk.  He didn’t want me to touch him.  I had hurt him, and the tight bond that we share was at least temporarily torn apart because of the hurtful words that came out of my mouth.

I wanted to hold him and kiss him, but he was hurting too badly.  I wanted to rub his back and tell him I loved him, but his heart was not willing to go there yet.  I wanted to beg his forgiveness and to feel him hug me, but we both just had to sit and feel the hurt for a few minutes.

Eventually I was able to tell him how important he is to me.  “Like the air that I breathe. . . ”  I told him what a treasure he is to me, and I apologized for not treating him like that treasure.  I tried to remind him that I am always on his team, always on his side.  I explained that I never want to make him feel the way I made him feel.  I said I never want to hurt him.  I said I hope very much that he is able to forgive me.

When he finally looked at me, his red, swollen eyes were nearly more than I could bear.  Before I left he sat in my lap and I hugged him and kissed him.  I kissed him over and over.  I buried my face in his hair.  I continued to tell him that he is my treasure.  I told him again how sorry I was.  And when he said, “It’s okay,” I assured him that it wasn’t okay.

Honestly, the words I said might not seem so bad as to make this big of a deal out of them.  You might be surprised and roll your eyes if you knew the words that caused so much pain.  But the fact is that those words hurt deeply, and I knew it when they came out of my mouth.

I want to be a mom that always, always speaks kindly and gently.  I want words that come out of my mouth to be encouraging, truthful, and edifying.

I will continue to mess up.  I am human, after all.  But I hope my mess ups don’t hurt my children like they did tonight.  But you know what is very comforting?  I am comforted because I have a God — a very big God — who is forgiving.  He forgave me when I messed up tonight.  And He loves me just as much now as He did before I hurt my son’s heart.  And He’ll forgive me the next time I mess up.  And the next time, and the next time. . . .


9 responses to this post.

  1. I’m so sorry this happened. We all mess up and say hurtful things, but it is how you handle it that makes the difference. I think you handled it very well and that your son knows how much you love and treasure him. I know how you are feeling, because I have been in your shoes many times. I have found that when something like this happens, I try to make time alone with my son, where we can do something fun together. One thing we like to do is watch movies together, and that always leads to us talking and feeling better.

    Just know that you are not alone and that I am here for you!


    • Thanks, Debbi. Thanks for commenting and encouraging. 🙂 I wanted to share it because I know that I’m not alone. We all mess up and hurt those we love, don’t we? Thankfully, the following days, my boy and I were able to have some great times together! He’s forgiven and we are all good. But the bummer is I assure he hasn’t forgotten! But he loves mom anyway!


  2. Posted by Tia on November 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Oh man, Kelly, I feel you on this one. So many times I let my anger control my responses and my words are so hateful. It’s not just my words, it’s my tone. Like you said, as SOON as the words leave my mouth I know they were too much, but for some reason I have to calm down inside before I’m able to admit it to my kids or my husband and ask their forgiveness. It amazes me that my kids love me with all of my faults and still trust me to do my best for them. Thank goodness God doesn’t give up on us either and forgives us no matter what.


    • Yes, well said, Tia! Always something to work on, isn’t there? Lord, continue to teach us to control ourselves!! Thanks for commenting. And I sure am glad our kids and husbands keep on forgiving us and loving us!! 🙂


  3. Posted by Brian on November 17, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    First of all thanks so much for being so transparent- I am so afraid to be that transparent on my blog quite honestly. I wonder if it would help people if I did..hmm you’re challenging me some.. not sure yet though.

    Second of all, I have been here before- hang in there. Our parents made mistakes too and the Lord helped us through them. Believe me your kids are getting so much spiritual nourishment from you that it far outweighs the inevitable stumbling that we are just all going to do sometimes.

    Hang in there, trust the Lord- yes even with this.

    Our love to your sweet kids.


    • Thanks, Brian, for your sweet comment. I was certainly stepping out there in being transparent with this post . . . a risk, to be sure. I think you’re transparent on yours, too, though, for sure. You’re right, too, that our kids will survive and God will protect them from my mistakes when they need protection! 🙂


  4. […] harsh lately.  I really need my kind, patient, soft voice to come back so I can throw out this harsh and loud voice.  I want to speak kindly ALWAYS.  My children need to hear Mom correcting in a loving […]


  5. I agree and at times it is a struggle to restrain the human in you from reacting and allow the MOM in you to be calm. We all make mistakes. I know I have and unfortunately continue to do so. Keep your chin up and it is great that you are so honest on your blog.


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