Look What You Made Me Do

Like millions of others, my daughters anticipated the new song by Taylor Swift and they weren’t disappointed. While most critics have bashed Look What You Made Me Do, millions of fans have helped Swift break streaming, download, and video view records and it’s predicted the song will hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart next month.

I like the song. Maybe it’s easy for me to like it because my girls literally grew up with Taylor Swift. Every single one of her songs has been played over and over and over in our house, on the computer, in the car, or on their phones. Wherever they could be played, TS songs were played. So in a way, I grew up as a mom with Taylor Swift. From Teardrops on My Guitar to Look What You Made Me Do is a lot of growing.

As I listen to Look What You Made Me Do, I’m reminded of a time as a young woman when I had the same attitude as the one played out in the song. After some heartbreaks I vowed I would never be hurt again. I didn’t trust others and kept everyone at arm’s length. I was strong and independent and ready to take on the world.

Like Taylor, “I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time.” Only my heart became harder and harder because with every hurt a wall was built around my heart. Another hurt, another wall. Walls of sarcasm and suspicion. Walls of bitterness, pride and stony ambition.

But the thing about walls around our hearts is they don’t work. Not if we want love and joy and peace. Walls keep these away.

So what do I tell my young daughter when she’s betrayed by a friend? Or when someone calls her a name? What do I do when I’m lied to? Or ignored? Or uninvited?

I can tell my daughter to treat those who mistreated her the same way. I can tell her to ignore them and never talk to them again. I can snub those who ignore me and unfriend those who no longer welcome me.

But there is a better way. I’ll be kind to them. I’ll smile and speak when I see them. And I’ll forgive them. I’ll tell my daughters to do the same. Forgiveness may be a process and one I have to work hard at but it’s the only way to do it if I want to love and live well.

And I will tell my daughters to fight to keep their hearts soft. “Become wiser. Don’t give in to what you want to do at first. Don’t let this song or all the others like it become the anthem of your lives. Don’t give in to how the world says to treat those who hurt you. Instead, be kind and brave . And forgive them.”

 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.     Proverbs 4:23 NIV

While lessons learned should make us wiser, they shouldn’t make us harder. Hearts are meant to be soft and without walls. That’s the only way we learn to love. That’s how we give it and get it. That’s how we learn to trust. That’s how we learn to forgive and become compassionate and kind.

Maybe smarter in the nick of time. But not harder.

Photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash

With a Friend

With a friend…..

You can be yourself, but if you’re not she notices.

You can share the deepest parts of you.

Sad or mad or glad. It’s all the same to her because she loves you no matter what.

She knows your story and you know hers.

With her, it’s okay to not be okay.

She listens because she cares.

She’ll let you be scared but help you be brave.

Your laugh makes her laugh. Her tears break your heart.

It always feels like yesterday even when it’s been a while.

She makes you better because she lifts you up.

It’s easy with her because she loves you just the way you are, whenever you are.

And you do the same.

My friends have walked with me through the happiest and darkest of days.

A friend taught me to listen because I watched her listen.

One of them taught me how to give a good hug. Another how to make the best homemade bread you’ve ever tasted.

One taught me how to lead and follow, one how to forgive again and again.

And some have given me the confidence to do what I thought I could never do.

That’s what friends do.

I’m better because I have the best kind of friends.

Friend

Shine

The sun was still low in the sky when I went on my first run here this morning. I found a beautiful park with lots of running trails. We are in Colorado visiting my son and we’re beyond happy to be here.

We hiked the Flatirons yesterday. My son was a great guide…..excited for us to experience it. He forgets that we’re not as brave as he is. He likes to go off trail and scale rocks and jump from one rock to another. I watch him and wonder and then I’m brave.

This is a place he shines. The outdoors….a new place……rugged and risky.

..the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.   Number 6:25