Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Ache of the Tenderhearted

I have this boy, he's 15.  He's a child who came well after my others; he is my gift of God to be here long after the others had flown the coop.  Everyone who meets him says that there is something special about him, something different.  I know what they see in him.  I "get" the difference.  He's one of the tenderhearted.  There are those of us, in this life, who can sense and feel the joy, the pain, the angst of others.  We are the tenderhearted.  My boy, he is one of us.

It's not always a great gift to be like this.  We feel so deeply, we want to help so badly, but when we don't turn those feelings over to God, they can weigh heavily on us.  The gift of being tenderhearted is that we understand how others are feeling and thus, we can reach out and help in a way that others can't.  The curse of being tenderhearted is that if we don't learn how to lift those feelings off of ourselves, we can ache for long periods of time.

For a while, I have watched my tenderhearted boy become closed off.  Oh, he's friendly and people adore him.  When he's in a social setting he shines.  But there came a day that he stopped calling friends to do things.  He no longer initiated having friends to the house.  He would gladly go when invited, but he stopped doing the inviting.  This was very disconcerting as a mother to watch my gregarious outgoing boy, become the one who waited to see if anyone would invite him to go.

I tried many times to ask him why he wasn't calling his friends and why he didn't want to ask them to do something over the weekend.  He could never seem to find the words to explain his heart to me.  Then, the other night, I decided to press in, to insist that he look me in the eye and talk.  Slowly, painfully, he told me why he had become afraid to initiate any type of fun with his friends.

A year or so ago, there was this girl...he really liked her...there was this girl.  On Valentine's Day he had given her a little trinket and a card. She had laughed at him with her friends and told him she didn't want it.  My tenderhearted son was crushed, rejected, bruised.  Now, believe me, I get "puppy love".  After raising 6 kids I've seen more than my share of it and had many a talk with my children about it.  But this was different.  There was cruelty and public rejection of a boy who feels things so strongly, that it changed him.

From that day forward, he stopped asking his friends to do things, to go places, to come to our home.  He would gladly go when he was asked, but he would never initiate the asking.  As he told me his story with tears in his eyes, he said, "Mom, I just don't want to be rejected."  I explained to him about boys who I liked, that never knew I existed when I was young and my husband told him how rejection is part of life and he will be rejected by girls, potential employers, and friends.  He said that he could handle the rejection, but not being made fun of and laughed at when he had put his heart on the line.

This was a shining example of how seemingly harmless words and actions can actually bruise someone's soul and change who they are.  If we can tear someone down so easily, then maybe, if we're conscious of our words and actions, we can build them up, instead. As I talked with my boy that evening, I met his gaze with love and strength.  I wanted him to set that pain down and try again.  I prayed that he would lay it at the foot of the cross and leave it there.  The next week, when he came home from school, his face was lit up and I saw peace in his eyes.  He had asked a large group of friends to do something and they had all said yes and they had a wonderful time.  I thank God for healing that wounded place in my son, my boy.

As we come across people in the world, at the store, the bank, a restaurant, maybe we should consider what they may have been through that has changed them and treat them accordingly.  People can feel it when you celebrate them by placing value and preciousness on them!  I would encourage you to look at a person's heart when they are acting ugly or rude.  I don't mean to be a doormat, but maybe make an extra effort to show kindness and compassion.  You just might change someone's life!

From His lap,





39 comments:

  1. Oh, I so understand. I also am one of those tenderhearted ones and tears were streaming down as I began to read this and then more tears but joyous ones as I got to the end. What a wonderful momma you are and we serve such an amazing, compassionate God. It's hard to see our kids go through hard times, and yet that is what makes them grow and become stronger. Your son's a cute one ;)

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  2. Great you talked with him, that is so important. It hurts so much to get a rejection. Especially for a sensitive boy. But God has a plan for him. I love your pictures. I think you have a good relationship with each other. That is something to thank God every day! enjoy it.

    Sometimes it is hard: adolescents and friendship. My daughter said no to her boyfriend, after nine months friendship, because she more and more took the role of a mother. Her boyfriend is mentally confused and don't recognize (?) that he needs a doctor. Complicated things for children and parents. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

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  3. I have a tender-hearted boy as well and I see him do the same sorts of things. Thank you for helping me get some insight, Erin.

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  4. I can so relate to this and my daughter can too.. 16 yrs old and I tell you she is so sensitive to peoples feelings

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  5. My Faith is a tender hearted girl. So easily hurt by mean words and actions. I've even had people point it out to me that she's "different" from the other girls her age. Sensitive. Sweet. People can see it in her eyes. I worry that she'll have a similar withdrawal due to fear of rejection. Thanks to your nuggets of truth, I can feel confident that continuing to pray for her is the answer. Always love your posts, Erin. Your boy is very handsome and I love the relationship you have with him. That's so awesome. :-)

    Love you,
    Rosann

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  6. Dear Erin,
    What a precious testimony. You are so wise to press in when things didn't return to "normal." What a wonderful young man! And what a blessing he has a mama who fights for his heart. :)

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  7. I love this post Erin. My Tom is very sweet and tenderhearted. There have been times when he will be off or just edgy and then when he finally talks about it he will speak of something that has happened, usually feeling like he let down a teacher, or a friend. It amazes me how much better he feels once he talks it out. I'm so glad your son was able to open up to you and lay his burden down. Thank you for sharing this Erin. Much love!

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  8. Thank you. You've touched me deeply with your words. I don't know what to say..

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  9. Lovely post Erin. I am tenderhearted as well and it does take time to learn how to still be able to use it without being constantly bruised. But it is so worth it! Blessings to your son.

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  10. Kristin,
    Thank you for those tears. I know you "get it". We hurt so deeply for others. The great thing about it is we can really minister to them! We also get to feel their great joys & triumphs! My son is a cutie, isn't he!!
    Blessings!
    Erin

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  11. Jedidja,
    I'm so glad your daughter did the right thing even though it hurt her to do so. You are a good mama to watch over her and make sure that she is safe! Thank you for stopping by!
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

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  12. Sandy,
    Don't we love our tenderhearted boys! We want to shield and protect them, but God gave them that gift and they have to learn to deal with it themselves and learn to not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders!
    I love you, sister!
    ~Erin

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  13. Shauna,
    It's a gift from God and as mama's we have to help them not turn it into a curse. I can tell you are a wonderful mama! She will be a blessing to many!
    xo,
    ~Erin

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  14. Rosann,
    I know your girl! She's just like my boy! But I also know the woman of faith that you are. You will guide and direct her into being a strong woman who knows how to turn her emotions and feelings over to the Lord! Teach her to rejoice in her gift!
    I love you!
    ~Erin

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  15. Ann,
    Thank you so much for stopping by! I know that you are a mama tiger who fights for her cubs as well. You are a wonderful example of a holy, righteous mama! I have learned much from reading your blog!
    You are a blessing!
    ~Erin

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  16. Kathy,
    Your Tom is one of us too! A tenderhearted boy who can know how others are feeling. I'm glad that you see that in him and can watch to make sure that he doesn't get burdened down in those feelings. What a good mama you are!
    I love you!
    ~Erin

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  17. Betsy,
    I'm so honored that you stopped by for a visit! I hope my post blessed you. It's not a sad post. Just one to make us think about how we respond to and treat others!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  18. Kelliane,
    You have a gift to treasure. You can walk into a room and know how people are feeling. You can gravitate towards those who need a kind word and a smile!
    Thank you so much for stopping by!
    You are a blessing!
    ~Erin

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  19. You are so wise, my heart friend!
    Dianne

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  20. Erin, that was a very tender, very beautiful blog...thanks for opening your heart and lives for others to grow from! What a gift!
    Darcy

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  21. Tenderhearted boys, what a gift and a burden. I've started seeing my little boy's sensetivity to others and Jesus and while I know it's a gift I know that kind of vulnerability can be lonely at times. Thanks for sharing your wisdom in how to walk with our son's.
    Beck

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  22. Hi Erin,
    What a beautiful story from a mother's heart. What a testimony of the healing peace of letting go and laying hurt at the foot of the cross.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Love,

    Susan

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  23. Wow - what I have to look forward to in my son's life. Seriously, he is in 5th grade and the kids (boys and girls alike) are MEAN. I have no idea how their parents let them out the front door each morning, knowing that things they do and say hurt others. Sometimes, I consider homeschooling to keep him (and my other children) safely tucked away from the silliness that the public school sector brings to them.

    Thanks for this post - it's a keeper!

    kristie

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  24. Oh no, I guess it all ended up on a good note. But unfortunately rejection is part of life but it doesn't have to shape who you are. I hope he was able to move on and rely on the armor of God's words when that girl showed humiliation and empathy. Because God's words is the best shield against someone's lack of compassion.
    Thanks for sharing this and missed your writing :)

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  25. Dianne,
    You are a very wise mama too! I loved our discussion last night about moms & kids!
    Love you!
    ~Erin

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  26. Thank you, Darcy. I'm honored that you stopped by. I hope your family is doing well!
    Blessings
    ~Erin

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  27. Beck,
    You are so right...it's a gift with a burden. You always have to watch the kids who have that gift until they learn how to not carry the burdens of others, and learn how to turn them over to the Lord!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  28. Susan,
    My Morgan is learning to take the cares of others and lay them at the foot of the cross!
    xo,
    ~Erin

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  29. Kristie,
    Just always make sure that you talk to your kids and keep the lines of communication open. They have to have a safe place to share what they are feeling!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  30. I don't like Morgan hurt!!!!! Boooooo!!!!! He is tender hearted & growing into a good man!!! Has always made me feel special!! Everytime I visit!!!
    Erin Earnest

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  31. oh erin, my friend and i just had a wonderful conversation about this. how often people's words and actions can affect us in such ways (good or bad). you'll just always remember the way someone had an impact on you.
    i'm so happy your son found his way through it all. i loved all you said about him. what a wonderful young man you're raising.
    the picture of you two is precious.

    lots of love to you <3
    xoxoxo
    maria

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  32. Erin,
    It's so painful to watch him when he's hurt, not just for himself, but for other people. It's a gift that I pray he learns how to use well. You are a beloved friend to us!!
    I love you, always!
    ~Erin

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  33. Maria,
    Whenever I see that you've visited my blog, I alway smile...real big!! You are a joy and a blessing to me! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words!
    Blessings!
    ~Erin

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  34. I am unusually tenderhearted and writing a post on it (that is how I found your blog). It is a blessing and a curse at the same time as you really have to learn to control it. My son is 16 and going through the same thing. He doesn't go anywhere now or leave his room, simply because he is afraid of more rejection. It breaks my heart.

    What a beautiful and encouraging post! Thank you!

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  35. Oh, I'm so sorry that your son is going through this! I will pray for him. Make sure that he is talking to you, even if he doesn't want to. Mamas are the best medicine for an aching heart, cause we get our medicine from the Lord!
    Blessings!
    ~Erin

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  36. Wow, this was a very inspirational, sad, and uplifting story. Many of us have had cruel things happen in our lives that have changed us. I used to believe that I was cool with everyone. Needless to say, that is a very childish and naive perception. No one is liked by everyone. Jesus, who was God, was hated by people He loved. There may be some things that change you forever but at the end of the day... You will be who God made you! Thank you Erin and thank your son for allowing you to share such a personal and life-changing moment. Bless You All!

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  37. Tears to my eyes... Loved his story. I am so glad his wounded heart has healed. I just wrote a post called Life is About Relationships... Its under the Massachusetts category on my WP Blog. We have much of the same vision... looking toward God for grace in rearing our children and lives in the right direction.

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  38. Faith Talk,thank you so much for visiting my blog. My son knows that I write about the things we go through. It's funny, because anytime something happens, he jokes with me, "Mom, you're going to write about this on your blog, aren't you." He is such a blessing to me!
    Blessings!
    Erin

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  39. It's Great To Be, thank you for visiting here. I will be sure to check out your blog post! It's good to find people who share in the same vision!
    Blessings!
    ~
    Erin

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