By Kendra Roehl
Do you need a soft place to land today? I’ve got encouragement for you, dear wife.
Needing a Soft Place to Land
I love words. I have seen the power in telling a story. The way people can relate, connect, and find healing and enlightenment is incredible.
I enjoy offering encouragement, painting a picture with my words, or connecting with someone over shared experiences.
But there is another side to my words that are not so pretty.
Sometimes my words are harsh. Sometimes, out of anger or hurt, I wound others by the careless things that I say. I can be cold and mean, unforgiving and rigid.
It happened again just the other night. My son and I often clash over schoolwork and expectations, and this night was no exception. I can verbally spar with my children, often backing them into a corner with my words. Daring them to challenge my “rightness.”
But this night my son looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I just wish you wouldn’t get so mad.” And the truth of his words stopped me mid-sentence.
I saw how I was wounding his heart. Crushing his spirit.
Later that night, as I thought about our interaction, I felt frustrated with myself for how I had treated him. As I was coming up with ways I wanted to do things differently, I realized the following truths:
I want to be a soft place to land.
You know those people who can be around anyone without judgment? That easily love others, regardless of who they are?
I want to be that person.
You know that person you can go to and explain how you blew it, and have them still accept you? The person who welcomes you with open arms, and maybe shares a story of their own failings?
I want to be like that.
I want to be the kind of person who encourages and uplifts, who leaves others feeling better than they were before they saw me.
I want to be a soft place for my kids to land. A soft place for my husband to land, my friends. Even for those who see things differently than me.
Can I be set apart as a soft place to land for anyone and everyone around me?
In a world that promotes opinions and personal rights, putting others in their place and telling others what they should do, think, and be…I want out.
I’m exhausted by all the input. I’m tired of opinions.
I’m looking for people who accept me as I am. People who see my strengths and my weaknesses. People who won’t try to fix everything, but are willing to sit with me in the middle of my messy life. Ones who understand cliché answers aren’t good enough.
I’m looking for a soft place to land, too.
I know it’s a lofty goal, but it’s one I’d like to attain. So how can I start? What changes can I make?
I started by apologizing to my son. I explained how frustrated I get over my own words, and how I want to be different. I told him the things we were doing right. I told him that I loved him. I may have shed a tear or two.
I became a soft place to land. And it felt good.
Wife Step: Who needs you to be a soft place to land? How will you do that this week?
Do it afraid. Kendra Roehl has sought to live out that advice as a social worker, foster parent, mother of five, public speaker and author. Kendra and her husband have become well-known advocates for foster care, taking in over 20 children in six years, and adopting three of them. She continues to care for others on their journeys as a frequent speaker, a founder of The Ruth Experience and an author of several books, including the One Year Daily Acts of Friendship: 365 Days to Finding, Keeping, and Loving Your Friends. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @theruthexperience
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