Loving the Foolish
I cannot believe it has been so long since I’ve sat down to write. Goodness. Y’all are gracious. It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing; although, that would be preferred by me. I am really, really good at being lazy. And, sarcastic. And, emotional eating. If I could have majored in sarcasm and food with a minor in procrastination and laziness, I would have graduated summa cum laude. Given that I had to look up how to spell “summa cum laude” is a fairly decent indication that my degree from college was nothing short of a miracle in itself.
I digress. I’ve been doing this little gig called parenting. It keeps me busy. Not to mention it keeps me praying–constantly. I’ve asked and asked for a fill-in or a sub, but it’s down right lunacy that you cannot find substitute parents on craigslist or ebay. I haven’t checked etsy. That might be my best shot. At least my kids would get someone super crafty for my fill-in. I have never had a more complex or difficult job as this parenting thing.
In an effort to keep it real, here’s a snippet of the past few weeks:
1. Eldest son has acute bronchitis (after speculation that it was pneumonia). Have I ever mentioned that he lives SEVEN hours away?
2. Youngest son is failing math. That’s what happens when one scores a 31 on a test. To which he replied, “Well, I’m a little rusty.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. In his defense, he “gets” math. He has delayed fine-motor skills, which makes writing difficult so often he skips all the “circle this, underline that, show your work” parts of the test. Even though his answer is right, he doesn’t follow directions. We’ve had great conversations with his teacher and she’s wonderful!! He’ll get there.
3. Hours and hours of conversation with #3 about when he can get a cell phone, when he can “date,” when can he go bow hunting, how does one forgive the people who did 9/11 and, “have you, mom, forgiven those people?”, and a bazillion “what if” scenarios ranging from “what if someone broke into the house” to “what if I fail the STARR test.” He swims in deep water, people. Deep, deep water.
4. Then, there’s my favorite daughter, Kendall. She is in the throes of junior high (8th grade). And, can I just get a witness up in hur that Jr. High is a version of hell, if not hell itself?! You could not pay me a gazillion dollars to go back there. Even if you promised that I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain weight or date a One-Direction dude and be best friends with Taylor Swift (and she would write a number one song about how awesome I am). Wouldn’t. Do. It.
In case you can’t read the name of the title, it reads, “IHATEKENDELL_LEROWE.”
I was hoping to slough it off as, “they didn’t spell your name right…can’t be you.” Unfortunately, it’s her picture taken from her instagram page so it means someone she knows started this page (because she has a private account and not everyone can view her pictures).
Then, she got word that some girls in her class made up a song and dance routine making fun of Kendall because she calls me “Mama V” and my blog is named, “the Real V.” Why would that warrant ridicule? Because as mature 8th graders, “V” is part of the female anatomy. (Good thing my name doesn’t start with a B-although that may be more fitting).
She also found out that some of her friends got together to discuss that “Kendall LeRow would be perfect if…” and then they proceeded to list out (perceived) flaws in her appearance. Things like her posture, an awkward neck, hair, etc…
The final blow came when someone posted a comment on her ask.fm on instagram (for those of you not yet in the tech-phase of parenting, do NOT get scared. Maybe I’ll do a post on my philosophy of this new technology generation. Like anything, it can be a tool used for good or evil). Ask.fm is an app linked in through instagram where people can ask questions (anonymously or not). But, the reader/user has the power to post, delete, or report as spam any questions/comments. Kendall was asked to Homecoming by her good friend, Riley. And, this was the comment:
Kendall’s response is the hashtag.
Are you sufficiently angry, yet? I was too. I was ready to go up to the junior high and open a can of whoop @$$ on some stupid, immature, insecure, naive kids.
I also thought about moving to the country, home-schooling her, putting a bonnet and long skirt complete with apron on her, and requesting she call Stefan and I “ma and pa.” And, arranging a marriage through an intense application and interview process complete with us receiving countless livestock and chickens in the exchange.
I may or may not have thought about calling her older brother to “throw his weight around” the junior high for a few weeks.
And, then, it happened. If y’all thought I was crazy before, you will most certainly think I need to be locked up after I write this. And, believe me, there is a huge part of me that doesn’t want to write this. I want to stay angry, but the Spirit-led, Courageous, Obedient part of me needs to write this…
God is answering the most requested prayer I’ve prayed over my kids since before their birth. I have begged countless times that God would give my children hearts that love Him more than anything in this world. Because if they love Him they will seek to please God and not seek friend’s approval, or attention, or acceptance.
I have prayed for opportunities for my kids to practice courage, obedience, faith, love, and forgiveness. I have prayed that God would make them “kingdom bringers” and “world changers.” And, yes! I know what is required for God to accomplish that in my childrens’ lives. And, yes!! I WISH THERE WAS ANOTHER WAY (and, yes! I’m yelling). Don’t misunderstand me. What happened to Kendall is WRONG, it’s sinful, it’s evil. But, you could put ANY kids name in place of Kendall’s because it happens to all of us. We have all been wounded, because we, ourselves, are wounded and need a Healer.
It’s easy for me and Kendall to look up all the verses in the Bible about gossips, fools, and the evil that can come from mis-using the tongue. One of my favorites is Proverbs 19:9 “A false witness will not escape punishment, and whoever breathes lies will not survive.” Words can cause irreversible damage to relationships. I get that. Some of my words and actions have wounded those closest to me…those I love the deepest. Doesn’t make me much different than the stupid, immature, insecure, naive kids.
The difficulties lie in our responses to the fools. We can chose to retaliate with evil or we can chose to respond with love. We can throw stones as if we, ourselves, have never done the wounding or the gossiping. Or, we can recognize our own brokenness and forgive, love, and continue to strive to please our Healer. Relationships may not be reconciled, but as far as it depends on you, love always wins. It may not be the easy, “self-preservation” thing to do, but how else will broken people see The Healer?
And, how else will we gain freedom from people’s approval? One of the most powerful quotes I’ve ever read is from Francis Frangipane:
To inoculate me from the praise of man,
He baptized me in the criticism of man,
until I died to the control of man.
Don’t feel sorry for Kendall. She wouldn’t want that. And, besides, she’s got an army of fans…her dad and I being her biggest ones. These experiences have provided sweet conversations for us to tell her how much she is loved, valued, and accepted despite what others say. She’s a tough cookie…and she’s the girl I wish I would have been when I was in the 8th grade. She’s not perfect…but for different reasons than the ones her friends said. God is transforming her more and more into His image and I am so humbled and honored that I get to be the witness to His work in her life…even when it’s painful.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go look on etsy for a sub. I need a day off.