Dear Chelsea

By Chelsea Pollard

Kathy’s article two weeks ago really got me thinking. Since leaving home I’ve frequently thought, “I wish I knew this when I was younger.” I know this is something everyone’s experienced! While it’s nice to have the knowledge, it’s quite frustrating. I could have saved myself from so much heartache, embarrassment, anger, regret and pain. 

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have any wisdom to offer since I’m still in my early 20’s and I’m not a mom (unless you consider Bear to be my child, because I do #dogmom). But I’ve often thought about things I wish I knew growing up and about what I could’ve done differently.

Here’s what I would tell myself:

  • Your parents are more than likely trying their best. I am ashamed to say that I was maybe 20 when I realized that my parents are people, too. They have their own struggles, whether it’s sin related or mental or physical health. Or all of the above! They’ve been through their own trauma and have to cope with it while raising a child. They are trying to figure it out and they’re not perfect. Show them grace and patience. Recognize what they do for you and thank them every now and then.
  • Take time to ground yourself where you are. We all struggle with this, but focus on the now. Stay out of the past. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Stop creating scenarios in your head. Spend time with people you love and be present.
  • For the most part, your current trials are temporary and likely won’t matter in a year or two. That does not make them any easier, but putting them into perspective and keeping a positive outlook will make a world of difference. 
  • While this is sometimes used as a cop out, there are times when “you’ll understand when you’re older” is a legitimate statement. There are some concepts that you can’t fully understand until you have life experience. Get that through your head, young Chelsea. 
  • Take your relationship with God seriously. Have your own faith. If you have questions, please ask. If you can’t find the answer, keep trying! The answers are out there. Finding your own faith is liberating and exciting! There’s nothing like having a personal relationship with your Creator. 

Learning these things the hard way is unforgettable, but often costs so much more. Some mistakes can live with you your whole life! It might not be glamorous or fun but your adult life could be 70 or 80 years longer than teen and young adult years. Do your future self a favor and remember that your parents are likely doing their best and have troubles, too. Enjoy the present. Your current trials are temporary, and being positive will you make an even stronger person. Accept that there are some concepts we can’t understand until life widens our perspective. Most importantly, challenge your faith and make it your own. Learn from my mistakes and your future self will thank you!!!


Letting Go of the Past

By Janelle Pollard

My husband, Dale, and I went on a spontaneous hiking trip this weekend a few miles from our home. On the way back to our car, I started to notice what looked like tiny daisies all around us. As this wasn’t someone’s manicured flower garden, I could only assume that these pretty little “flowers” must actually be weeds. Despite this, I began picking as many as I could in order to make a little bouquet for our kitchen. When we got home, I put them in a small glass jar, added water, and couldn’t have been more pleased with this free “floral” bunch. Who would have thought that a bunch of weeds could bring so much delight?

As I pondered how such an unwanted pest as a bunch of weeds could so easily make my day, I couldn’t help but think about how God sees us as lovely flowers instead of pesky, unwanted weeds. He is able to use us despite our broken past. Mistakes, scars, and all. I couldn’t even count how many young girls and women I’ve heard say at one time or another that they don’t feel worthy. Or that they must be too broken to make a difference. Or that they feel defined by their mistakes, unable to see their worth, unable to forgive themselves and let go of the past. The truth is, we are all weeds. As humans, we have all messed up, all made mistakes we wish could be taken back and erased. As much as I wish I could say I had never sinned, never done things before that I wasn’t proud of, I just can’t. God knows this about us all. In Romans 3:23, Paul tells us that all have sinned: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Does that verse say, “some” or “very few” have fallen short? Nope. It says “all.”

Now if God knew that we would ALL sin, would he expect that to be the end of the story? Would that be the end of our hope for redemption? No way. God is loving, forgiving, graceful, merciful, patient, and kind. Because of who He is, and Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we don’t have to be defined by our mistakes. And how thankful we are for that truth! What God wants us as Christians to know is that we don’t have to be guilty. We don’t have to dwell on our past. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should go on continuing to make those mistakes. (Paul speaks on this in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”) But if we have repented of our sins (not just being sorry or sad about the sin, but a complete 180, leaving it in the past, turning towards God and away from the sin), we can be guilt-free and serve a much greater purpose! If God couldn’t use people who have made mistakes, imagine how different the Bible would look. And if God couldn’t use us after we sinned, then why did Jesus die on the cross?

If you struggle with guilt, despite repenting, spend a good amount of time in 1 John. And after that, spend more and more time in the Word and in prayer. Ask God to help you let go of the past and to see yourself how He would have you. Read the story of King David and Bathsheba and learn how that wasn’t the end of his story. Read about Peter denying Jesus not once, but three times. Was that where it ended for Peter? If you truly seek God, you will learn and grow in knowledge about Him and learn to let go because you’ll see that He already has! It’s my hope and prayer that no longer will you see yourself as useless or guilt-ridden, but as you truly are: lovely, redeemed, and still full of purpose for Him!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Cor. 5:17


What I’ve Learned About Parenting Since My Kids Left Home

By Kathy Pollard

Neal and I became official empty nesters in late June 2018. I knew it would take time to adjust to the new norm. I anticipated moments of sadness because it all went by way too fast. And I had already been warned that you never stop worrying about your kids. What I didn’t expect was that I would learn some significant things about parenting. Here is what I know now that I wish I knew then.

Family traditions are important, but maybe not the ones you think. There were some traditions we intentionally created. We had nightly devotionals with our boys. We had the same breakfast every Christmas morning. The birthday boy always got to choose what was for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I thought that was pretty much how traditions were made, but now I know it was more than that. Anytime our sons come for a visit, I try to make some of their favorite dishes. Recently, one of them said, “Did you use a different peanut butter or something in that icing?” I had. Also recently I made a chocolate cake and one of our sons put his slice in the fridge to eat later. I asked him if he thought it tasted better chilled. He said, “No, that’s just how you always used to serve it so that’s how I want to eat it.” They don’t want me to change things up because it’s just not the same. This tells me that family traditions don’t necessarily have to be so planned. They are created in the daily living that goes on in the home. One of our intentional traditions was watching “A Christmas Carol” (George C. Scott version!) every Christmas Eve. We found out none of them even liked that movie. 

There is no such thing as too much communication. We home schooled our boys and I was a stay-at-home mom. Perhaps I assumed those two choices would’ve guaranteed plenty of openness and watchfulness. I thought I was pretty aware of all that was going on in their lives. Now that they’re on their own, our sons have been sharing stories of their shenanigans while growing up. My reaction is often, “You did what?!” In fact, one of our sons used the word “clueless” to describe my parenting. Ouch. He wasn’t even being mean because he was laughing so hard when he said it. In addition, I’ve heard our sons refer back to times of sadness or emotional struggles. My heart aches to know I wasn’t even aware of some of them. I want to rewind the clock and have a do-over. I want to have a heart-to-heart with the young mom I used to be. Truly, it is so important to do whatever it takes to develop closeness, trust, and openness.  Take the time. Put down the phone. Keep your eyes open. Have the conversations. 

God helps fill in the gaps. I knew there were aspects of parenting that I could and should have done better. And now I can add to that list as I’ve learned of other areas where I dropped the ball. But as I look at my sons today I can’t help but thank God for His goodness. He loves them even more than I do and always will. I wasn’t a perfect parent but I was a praying parent. God always saw the big picture and helped my boys along. I have never been more thankful for His grace. I am thankful for the love and grace from my sons, too. Perhaps you feel like you are falling short or have made mistakes. Just keep trying and loving and going to God’s Word for guidance. He only wants you to do the best you can to turn the hearts of your children over to Him.


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