Am I Satan’s Voice or God’s Voice to Them?

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I came across this photo on Facebook. Not sure who to give credit to as it’s been shared multiple times on different sites. If you know the original author, please let me know! A warning: this post gets personal and spiritual!

I often skim over these type of photos for some reason. I guess because I see so many Biblical/religious/political status updates that they are all like a big pool of sludge to me now. But, I happened to pause for a moment to read this one. Originally, I interpreted it in terms of just what it says: Satan’s voice vs. God’s voice. But as I was reading through the bullet points, I thought, gosh, if my kids were to read this, would they say they see me more as Satan’s voice or God’s voice? Shoot. Convicted of your failures much? I am.

Hmmm…let’s think. How many times have I told my kids, “Hurry up! We need to go! Don’t worry about getting your shoes on! You can get them on in the car!” when hardly have I ever placed my hand gently on one of their shoulders and said, “Shh, it’s ok. No hurry. I’ll wait for you.” Am I God’s voice or Satan’s voice to them?

How often have I pushed our kids, not in a productive way, but in an effort to get them to succeed at something they may not be fully capable of succeeding in yet? Pretty often. Instead, shouldn’t I be modeling what it is I want them to grasp, patiently guiding them down the path they should be on? Am I God’s voice or Satan’s voice to them?

How many times have I threatened our kids with punishment (and followed through on that punishment), feeling a sense of accomplishment when I know they have a bit of a “healthy fear” of me? Shouldn’t I be reassuring them, being a safe haven for them, a comfortable place to fall? Am I God’s voice or Satan’s voice to them?

And how many times have I discouraged my children, thinking harsh words will motivate them to move forward? Shouldn’t I encourage them, not just in spite of, but because of their failures? Aren’t I as human as them? Don’t I make as many, if not more mistakes than they do? How dare I put myself on a pedestal. Am I God’s voice or Satan’s voice to them?

And how many times have I condemned my children, punishing them in hopes to see a change in behavior when I should be convicting them; leading them into a place where they come to the conclusion that what they have done is wrong? And by coming to this conclusion, holding my hand instead of being held at arm’s distance, they weep and feel their heart softening instead of hardening? Am I God’s voice or Satan’s voice to them?

I don’t believe I need to be an enabling, compliant, push-over parent. But I do need to soften a bit and allow grace and mercy to enter back into my home.

My childhood lacked the modeling I so desperately want to show our kids. Walking on eggshells in a house that most of the time was not a place of comfort, but of fear, molded me in many ways. I became bent towards harshness. I didn’t see gentle parenting; I saw harsh punishment for misbehavior and I felt the sting of seeing and hearing many things a child should not see and hear. This bent me, and broke me, in many ways. It bent me toward continuing the ugly legacy of my father. It broke a piece of my heart that lay open and wounded for many years. The open wound would pop up during times of discipline with our children, or in moments when I would say or do things I wish I could just go back and erase. Only one thing was like a salve to my wounds. Just one thing could relieve the pain: a relationship with God. Let me repeat that: a relationship with God. Not just words coming out of my mouth or going to a church building on Sunday. A true, deep, never-ceasing love-relationship with my Creator. Yes, this love healed my brokenness.

But, I’m still bent. 

I no longer feel broken. But I do feel bent. It’s not easy for me to parent my kids the way I yearn to. I often remind our kids where I came from, that it’s not easy for me, and that I am doing my best to do the right thing. I can only pray that as they grow and mature, they will extend to me the grace and mercy that I so desperately want to extend to them more. I don’t expect to be perfect. I’m a work in progress, in transition. Continually evolving, learning, changing. For now, I need to ask myself each night, “Have I been Satan’s voice or God’s voice to them today?”
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  1. Mickey says

    Oh, Shanti. You are just the sweetest thing. I want to hug you right now! Thank you for sharing your heart. Just know you’re not alone, all of us moms struggle with our kids, and I think I speak for most of us when I say we go to bed at night with regrets or things we wish we had done differently. Hugs!

  2. Heather Simpson says

    I loved this post, and needed to hear it. You’re right, it kind of hurts reading it. I think I am satan’s voice more than I’d like to be.

  3. Cherie says

    Can you get any more Superwoman-like?! Seriously, you amaze me. You are one of the most honest, real people I “know.” I think this post should go viral! It’s what a lot of us need to hear.

  4. Kathy says

    I’m sad to say that your story sounds like my story. I too struggle to show God’s grace to others especially my kids, when I was not given that as a kid. All too often I hear my parents voice come out of my mouth instead of my own. I just pray that with God’s grace and help we will raise our children the best that we can. God bless you and thank you for sharing yourself with us!

  5. Natasha Greene says

    I can echo that I struggle, too. I didn’t have an awful childhood, but there was a lot of yelling in my house. I always swore I would never yell at my kids, and it seems that I rarely get through a day when I don’t yell. =( I hope, like you, that my kids will understand that I’m doing my best with what I have.

  6. Sarah Stanley says

    Wow, talk about a kick in the pants! I think I need to sit down and have a conversation with myself.

  7. Heather Hoog says

    I just printed this out, this is perfect and so needed at this time in our journey. Thank you for expanding your blog

  8. amber says

    You are seriously amazing. How in the heck can you be so honest, open and such an incredible baker?! This was like reading my own words (but I’m not as eloquent). You bring up incredible points! Thank you for sharing!

  9. radlandon says

    Thank you all for your encouragement and support! It’s comforting to hear that every other mother struggles, too. You know…..misery loves company! lol =)

  10. Rachel says

    I needed that admonition. I just recently discovered your blog, and I do not know you at all, but I appreciate you being willing to publicly share those thoughts. “Confess your faults one to another…” I too struggle with this at times and I need to (or should) ask my husband and kids to forgive me more often than I like to admit. For me, it’s so easy to focus on what I feel is necessary or important at the time (such as getting the kids to school on time, having them in bed at a precise time) and be too impatient or harsh with those I love most. God is patient with me, so what right do I have to be impatient with others? Thanks again. You’ve been a blessing to me, though I’m a stranger.

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