Imperfect Life

I Can Only Imagine

My husband and I watched the movie I Can Only Imagine last night. First off it is a fantastic song written and performed by Bart Millard. Secondly, the film was beautiful, touching and endearing. I knew the song so I knew I would love the movie; however, I was not prepared for how personally I would react to it. Spoiler ahead if you haven’t seen it…

I can only imagine how Bart Millard felt when his father told him he was proud of him. Seriously, I can only imagine how that would feel, and I had no idea I had a hole in me until I watched the movie. That moment brought so much emotion out of me I thought I couldn’t breathe. I had no idea that not ever hearing those words directed at me affected me so profoundly.

I’ve had some achievements in my life, achievements that a parent should want to congratulate their child for. As a child, I believe I did begin to notice that I wasn’t getting affirmations and I lashed out by no longer trying and no longer caring. I had teachers in high school that, as they pushed me and I produced, told me they were proud of me, however, that is not the same as a parent telling you. As much as I would like to say those teachers made a huge difference and filled that void, they didn’t. I remained an average student who just didn’t care because my parents didn’t seem to care, even when I tried to care.

Even in adulthood I never heard my parents tell me they were proud of me. I graduated high school but didn’t go to college because I wanted to get married and have children. My mother wasn’t so happy about my getting married young. She wanted me to go to college. I told her I still would, eventually. She responded by telling me people always say that. They don’t, you won’t. I married my husband six months and two days after I graduated high school and our first son was born later that year. Three more sons came after that. I felt blessed and told them constantly I was proud of them. Even when they burped from feeding, I would say to them I was proud they burped for me! I didn’t even realize I might be doing that because I want to make sure they feel what I didn’t get to feel. I want to do better with my children. I can only hope I have succeeded with my older two and that I am succeeding with my younger two, however just because they are adults doesn’t mean I should stop telling them how proud I am of them.

I did go back to school. I started college when my youngest was three and a half. The first two years I had my husband with me, and he was a godsend. He was supportive and took over things like cooking and doing the dishes so that I could spend the evenings doing school work uninterrupted. Even with his help, it was hard going back to school, but I was determined. My older children were in middle school and would be in high school by the time I finished, and I wanted them to see what I could accomplish, what they too could achieve.
The second two years became even more difficult as I became a geographically single mom. My husband’s company of many years went bankrupt, and he found himself out of work and as a union employee floating from short-term job to short-term job. He took a job with a company that had military contracts overseas to build on U.S. Military Bases In Afghanistan and Iraq. He worked in a war zone and was gone for three months at a time and would come back home for 14 days at a time for leave. I feared so much for his safety that it could sometimes be distracting. I now had to raise the four boys without his help, drive them to all their sports and activities, I was the Cub Scout Committee Chairman, a Cub Scout den leader, on the PTA board at the younger one’s school and finishing up my schoolwork. People often asked how I did it all. I always answered that I had no choice, I got up every morning, tackled the day and everything that went on, and went to bed only to repeat the cycle. Looking back, I am not sure how I really did it. I did do it though! I finished my degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I never received congratulations or any words of respect from my family, At that point in my life, it was the norm.

At some point, I have to learn that I shouldn’t need affirmations from other people. I should strive to be proud of myself and do my best to do God’s work. I know God loves me, my husband and children love me. Despite my childhood, God answered my prayers and gave me people who love me and people I love.

But still…I can only imagine.

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  • hisdearlyloveddaughter

    Wow, you’ve been through a lot. I’m glad God used the movie to deal with some unresolved issues for you. I love that He is always working on us and refining us, even when we’re just relaxing and watching a movie!

    • Imperfect Christian, Person, Wife and Mom

      Thanks! Yes I seriously am amazed at the moments he shines his light on me! God is good!

  • jplagens

    I’m so sorry. I’m stinking proud of you, but of course, my comment doesn’t do much. Only a parent can fill that void. Keep being the parent you wish you had.

    • Imperfect Christian, Person, Wife and Mom

      Thank you so much! Your goodness is felt! Have a blessed day!

  • Diana | Diana’s Diaries

    Let me start off by saying that a fellow sister in Christ I am so proud of you. Your call to raise your family in the Lord , staying positive and being steadfast in faith and blogging . I never ever received any words of affirmations from my earthly parents . Those things have affected me and I realized how much my Heavenly Father loves me and gives affirmations .

  • perfectingtruth101

    Congratulations on your accomplishments. I am happy for and proud of you!! Sometimes parents don’t realize the depth of their importance, the significat weight they carry, in their child(ren)’s life. Oftentimes they are following the example from their own parents. I have talked with individuals who didn’t realize the importance of affirming their children until after they reached adulthood. They now encourage young parents to raise their children differently. I think it comes natural to want approval from our parents and other people when we do well or accomplish goals. I also believe we all come to the realization that seeking approval in the eyes of man is often futile. We have to make it a point to please God and seek His approval, not man’s.

    • Imperfect Christian, Person, Wife and Mom

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Have a blessed evening!