54. A God Of Love - Chloe Watson
June 14, 2022
Mentioned in this episode -
Laura: Hi Chloe. And welcome to unsung stories. Thank you so much for joining us.
Chloe: That's right.
Laura: Just so that our listeners can get to know you a bit more. Could you tell us about you and your family life and just what everyday life looks like for you?
Chloe: I'm Chloe. I just turned 30 . I and married to Shane. It's coming up to, we think. Nine years or 10 years? We have two kids one six, and one is four, two boys. And we live on the central coast.
Laura: Yeah. Lovely. And have you always been a Christian?
Chloe: I invited Jesus into my life when I was three. So that's amazing. God's always been a part of my life from the beginning, so yeah.
Laura: I love that. So I'm assuming that you grew up in a Christian home. What was that like for you?
Chloe: Yeah, I did grow up in a Christian home, so it wasn't the loving home I needed it to be. My parents are Christians, but my childhood was really strict, controlling, quite traumatic. Oh, cool. Yeah, the way that my parents practiced Christianity, definitely Isn't how I see and know God to be now and growing up. I remember the Bible and scripture being used as a weapon and form of control. And I remember being on my knees constantly asking God to forgive me. And having been made to view God in that way, as a child, it really left me feeling unworthy. And that the God that I was dealing with was an angry God where his love was given depending on my works and what I did.
Laura: Oh, Chloe
Chloe: And a lot of the way I was viewing God was how I was also being treated as a child. Just feeling like no matter what I did, I wasn't good enough. I didn't feel heard. I didn't feel understood. And I felt alone and my childhood really distorted the way I viewed God and the Bible. And all through this though. I did still continue my relationship with God and I did find peace through finding my own church at the time.
Laura: Oh, Chloe. Just so sorry that it was so hard for you and comforted that you did find peace in your church or your own. I'm wondering what else is going on for you during your early years?
Chloe: During my early years, I was definitely bullied through most parts of school. At times here and there. Especially in the early years, I definitely struggled to fit in and it didn't help at all that. I had a really unstable home life. and it brought a lot of challenges. Definitely like connecting with others is hard when you've got a lot going on at home. And as my mom had pretty much cut us off from the extended family and friends, I grew up with people go going in and out of our lives over time, but going to church that. That really, God gave me a place I wanted to be. I wanted to be at youth and I found a great place of peace and I would just do anything to get there.
I'd grab a lift. I just wanted to be in that space. And with the tension rising between me and my parents and me finding my voice and my teens, things just started to get too much. I was made to feel like it was my fault and that I was the problem. And through getting professional help during this time, I did come to learn the outbursts from my parents and the discord.
It was my fault. I could have been around 19 and I was working in a deli shop while I was also juggling home life and study. And I'd not seen my auntie for about six years and there she was literally right in front of me. Oh, that's. And we connected, we got each other's deep details. It really felt like a life changing moment.
Honestly, though, I really remember standing there and thinking like how it just, it really was, it was pretty profound, Laura, like just with her right in front of me, actually. That's amazing. Just reflecting on that, I've reflected on it so many times through the years and even with her actually, and cos she is not actually a Christian, but just, we both have been like that was this. Just crazy moment. And not long after that I'd met my husband and my parents during this time had told me to leave. And so I literally had my new boyfriend helping me pack up my stuff to move out and I didn't have a place to go at the time. And my auntie and uncle reached, took me in. I lived with them for quite some months on and off.
And it was completely God's provision and such a blessing for us to get to know each other and heal.
Laura: Oh, Chloe, that's beautiful.
Chloe: My husband and I got married and we have two beautiful boys and it has been such a whirlwind parenting. And we recently had our older son diagnosed with. Autism ASD and ADHD just before the first lockdown whilst that has given us some closure in a really testing season where it took about three years to get a diagnosis the day to day. It's great, but it's so busy parenthood test. You in so many ways, so many ways , but I'm so thankful that with Jesus, I do not have to be perfect. And he sees my struggles and loves me through.
Laura: Wow, Chloe, that's just incredible. And just wanna say thank you for being so honest with us, cuz I think as Christian parents, it's actually helpful to hear these stories. Like the stories of how Christians. Actually can hurt people. And without knowing your folks, I'm gonna assume that they were just repeating what they had been modeled as most of us do, whether we like it or not. And it sounds like they have this incorrect or sociology of God and his character that as said, abusively in their, yeah, definitely.
Chloe: And I think
Laura: you can come with some warnings for us as we parent.
Chloe: Yes, definitely. It is so important to understand God for yourself and understanding the history and the context of the Bible changes a lot. I remember when I was stating my husband. We'd have great conversations about what I'd been told and come to see God as, and the Bible.
And he would often be pushing back on my thinking and , when our understanding of God and who he says he is, and he wants us to live. Is incorrect. We have the danger of leading our kids and our family as straight. We have to know God. For who he is. And we have to hear from him and who he says he is not our family or even our church culture.
Laura: I totally agree. And I was thinking, as you were talking, how is your upbringing affecting you now that you have kids? Cuz I think we all have moments where we are cringed because as we hear our mum and come out of our mouth and it's usually the thing we saw, we would never say we do. Do you struggle breaking that generational mold at all?
Chloe: I definitely do but a decision that I did make early on before I even had kids, was that the generational mold. in my family that stops with me. And it can sometimes carry a lot of weight and pressure on my shoulders. And sometimes I find myself doing things that my mom would do or say, and it's really something I have to be conscious of.
And work on too. And my son is so full of life and joy and energy. , but with that comes some really hard things, which come with having a child with additional needs. And I think one of the biggest struggles is not letting shame rule and in those moments, I really do have to.
Have to wrestle to not do what my mom did and shame him like into submission or into obeying me. I really wrestle with how to foster those beautiful gifts he's given me and how to also foster this autism. And. There's some amazing things that can come from it amazingly difficult to, but I want a parent well through it with my husband and I wanna be engaging and connecting and serving him and loving him well and giving him space to let his big feelings and what he needs to do with my love and support.
And I also think that I constantly need to assess how God wants me to be living, not how I was taught. He wants me to accept his grace. I default to feeling like. I need to work for it. And I was so brainwashed as a child and scripture was really used against me as a weapon. I was pushed into feeling like I had to do things and having to work for my parents to love me and God.
And I pushed so much as a parent now. Against that I don't wanna push my kids into having a relationship with Jesus, but I do wanna show them love and I wanna model forgiveness. And I wanna model a God who has arms open saying, come to me. I want my boys to know that they don't have to earn God's love.
Laura: That's so great. Chloe, has there been anything that stood out to you over the last few years as you've been healing?
Chloe: I was thinking how obviously something could feeling unworthy and not good enough is something that I'm still continually working on today. Like my birthday, for example, brought up that feeling of not good enough. and I've really had to be conscious of. Like that. And it's something that I will talk to my psychologist about when I see her next, but it's like also that expectation on women and Christian women that, you have your story and where you've come from, and maybe it could be traumatic and you've worked with God through that and the expectation of now everything's okay.
And I'm in God's light and everything's okay. And good. And God is with you. But he's, I don't know, but it's like
Laura: the ongoing effect of that family is still there.
Chloe: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I was thinking about that too, but Cause I have been to church where it's felt like that where everyone around me and women are like being like life is so good. And we're so full of grace. And you're like, does God not love me if I'm struggling still? But it's not like that. It isn't like that at all. But it can feel when it's I think the church is much better at it now than they were when I was a teenager. Yeah. See it.
Laura: Is that a theology thing? Yeah, because it's not what's in the Bible, the Bible that's right. Doesn't promise healing, promises healing in heaven.
Chloe: Yeah. Shane and I were talking about that the other day, actually like that healing. Like in the Pentecostal sort of church, it can be like, healing is this like instant thing, and it's not always that
Laura: no, it's not. Often we are focused on right here in this moment. Yeah. But as Christians, we are in the process of being sanctified or in the process of being more like Jesus. And so it's. I think it's just that continued healing that continued. Handing over our life to Jesus of realigning, everything to him, so that sure we are hurt you are hurt by your childhood. And that does bring up pain, but it's then what do you do with that? And it's, handing it over to God
Chloe: and handing it's. Yeah. It's like a constant thing, isn't it? And sometimes you can even forget, but cuz the world's so noisy. Yeah. And think of mom it's so feels so noisy sometimes. Yeah, that's a really good thing to remember.
Laura: And it's just living as a Christian. It's not as if, okay. We're saved. We're Christians now. Not tick. We've got that. We're going to heaven box that's but it's that constant? Oh, we're just studying John at the moment. And I looking at the the Bible passage that we were doing this week. I'll just pull it up.
And it's in John eight versus 31 and 32 and it just struck me. So it says to the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples, then you'll know the truth and the truth will set you free. And it's just, it's not as. Believe you're a Christian. And these Jews that he's talking to go on to turn away from him, like Jesus is saying to them in context, you're trying to kill me.
You're trying to kill me. And they profess to be Jesus followers. Yeah. And so it's you've got this, you believe in him, hold to my teaching, then you'll know the truth and the truth will set you free. Yeah. I don't know. It's like this continuing on.
Chloe: It really is. Isn't it?
Laura: Yeah. That's really beautiful.
Chloe: Especially cuz like I, I invited Jesus into my life since I was three. So that's I'm 30 now. So I feel like it's been this. Age
Chloe: Yes. Yes. This like weaving of like constant coming back to Jesus through my season and where I might feel further away and I have to really be like, no, I'm walking with Jesus here. I'm walking with Jesus through this. He's still with me. Even the I'm not feeling him. He's still with me.
Laura: It's just that constant realignment it is and how easily we are distracted by other things that
Chloe: are going on about, and it, so doesn't mean like what you are saying, how it's like you, you invite Jesus into your life and it's tick, that's it. Everything's solved. Your problems are solved. Life's good. It's no, we live in a really busy world and you do have to just constantly realign yourself.
Laura: I've heard I've heard Christians. So I think I have a problem with what I have struggled with anger over the years. Yeah. And so I've gone looking for resources, like what do other questions go through when you hear on like a podcast and this woman will go, I just spent the morning praying and then I felt, God take the anger out of me. It's he was just pulling out all the veins. It was this just deep root of anger that was just being pulled out and it was all pulled out and all that anger had gone and I'm like, That is not my
Chloe: experience of it. So then what happens when you're driving down the street the next time, and someone pulls out on you and you meant to not feel angry about that, or
Laura: even the person who I'm angry at hurts me again. And they, or they remind me of that thing that they did that has just, yeah. I'm really had to work through. Yeah. And it's in that. I have to make a choice again. Yeah. I have to make the choice to forgive. I have to keep forgiving. And I think that is, I think that's more in line with what God calls us to like it's.
As sinners. We don't just go. All right. I'm stopping that sin. It's oh, I've done it again. I'm sorry. God, it's that continued repentance of, please forgive me, please. Forgive me. please forgive me and God God does he there grace upon grace, his nurses and you every morning. And I just think it's that constant realignment to him.
Chloe: Yeah, and I was reading something too, that was posted on Instagram by by Julia Abel, actually. And it resonated with me how, like, how you're saying, how, realignment, but then also. As God wants us to be like kind and gracious and authentic. He still wants us to set safe boundaries and be guided by truth but also limit interactions with those who constantly criticize you so well, it doesn't mean you
Laura: be a doormat, like it's keep being abused or all of these things. Yeah. It doesn't mean reconciliation. I think that's what I'm trying to say. You can forgive, you can all of those things, but it doesn't mean that you need. Sometimes that's not possible, because the person you need to reconcile with has passed away. Yeah. And sometimes you need to say, we're just, this is not safe for one of us or both of us or all of those things.
There is that is okay. I don't think we're necessarily called to reconciliation, but we are called to forgiveness. Yeah. Which is, that's a whole different
Chloe: kettle of fish. That's hard. Isn't it? It really is. Isn't it? Yeah. but there's so many things that have stood out to me over the last few years.
Knowing that I'm loved and found in God's grace, that I don't have to be perfect or strive to be. That I'm worthy and loved in God's eyes. Just how I am right now. I'm literally preaching to myself , I'm working on not listening to the voice that tells me that I am not enough. And I keep having to remind myself that God loves me because of Jesus. I don't wanna strive so much to be someone that I'm not. And lose connection of those around me, because I'm just thinking of all the things that I should be, or that I should be doing.
Motherhood is a challenge. It brings up all those insecurities and doubts. It makes you weary, makes you question everything you do. We wanna be the best for our kids all the time, but we're gonna fail at that. We're gonna fail a lot as moms , but we need to keep reminding ourselves of truth. It's not how much I do. I just need to come back to Jesus and rest in the grace city offers.