For me? If faced with orders from the commander to enter a combat zone, I’d prefer to be on the Clara Barton end of military service. Caring for the wounded. Bringing water to those in need. Comforting the active soldiers. Participating … even actively participating … but in the behind-the-scenes sort of way. … Yes. That I can handle. Not enjoy – but handle.
This seems to be our role as mothers a lot of the time. Caring for the wounded. Making sure the troops our fed. Providing comfort. Encouraging. All good. Until … you’re called to the front lines.
Without going into too much detail – not because I want to withhold information (I really do buy into the idea of walking the road together), but because I really don’t know what has and hasn’t happened and I’m committed to respecting the kids. But I can tell you that we are feeling some front lines pain. Shards of shrapnel imbedded. Bombs going off around. We are definitely in the middle of warfare. Warfare that comes with life – especially the life of a parent.
On this, I know everyone can relate. When your kids are small, little airsoft pellets chink at you each time your child is pushed on the playground, or has a toy stolen, or is bitten … or bites. The unwanted welts are painful and annoying. We want to pull in and protect. Some families even check out of society in order to stave off the pain and worldly dangers. (Not in an ‘I’m taking my ball and leaving”, but in a tactical maneuver to protect and fortify their flank.)
As the kids grow older, pellets gain in size and momentum. They quickly morph into b-b’s, then bullets, then grenades and eventually bombs.
I have one friend who recently walked into her house. She nonchalantly picked up her son’s phone to check out his latest antics. What she found took her breath away. A picture of a young middle school girl who had gone into the bathroom, pulled down her pants and snapped a shot that she proceeded to text her male classmates. My stomach hurts even writing that. Not only for my friend’s son who saw the pic (which apparently is “normal” – not good or condoned, but widespread), but for the girl that forever degraded herself in a quick, crowd-pleasing act. Grenades flying.
I have another friend who is being bombed. Her high-school boy (at the depth of his heart a great kid) has succumbed to pretty much every peer pressure. The family has tried tough love (the kind involving a severe boot camp to snap the kid out of it), understanding love (where you meet them in the ditch and feel their pain) and has now resorted to loving him by kicking him out. He still doesn’t get it. He’d rather sleep on friends’ couches, vagabonding from house to house, than give up the vices that promise to inevitably destroy his life.
I watch my friends and see the battle scars. I watch myself and feel the sting, the breath being ripped from my lungs, the anger at the world in which we live that clearly has it out for kids. With warp speed, technology has advanced to the point where an innocent little kid can be handed a phone by some older kid sporting pictures of the unthinkable.
And these are kids from good homes, lest we think certain groups might be immune. Even if you run a parental-controlled Ft. Knox, the kid next to yours has ample time, resources and opportunity to access their own technologically advanced modes of worldliness and pass the plunder to all within range regardless of age. Immature kids, sharing with immature kids. Kids who think they’re super mature, immune to consequences and that their parents just don’t trust them, or are jerks, or ….
Hmmmm…. This is why it’s SO important to walk the road together. Not just together, but authentically. May we never stick our heads in the sand. May we meet this life proactively. May we always be armed with truth.
I hope to have some guest bloggers educate us some hard stuff – issues that hit our kids (and, if we’re honest, us too). Issues like body image, pornography, addictions, etc. (Please let me know any topics you might want discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org). The great thing? We don’t have to worry – we won’t overload because we don’t have to be scared.
May we never lose sight of the One who said, “It is finished.” because victory is his. The only one who is always truthful, loyal, faithful, just – who sees all and knows all – who promises, “I will never forsake you.” “I am with you always.” “Don’t be afraid.” “He alone is (our) rock and our salvation; he is (our) fortress, (we) can never be shaken.”
… And when things are tumultuous and stormy (oh, yeah, he warns us about that – so don’t be surprised), He’s there. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Then check out Daniel 3 and Exodus 14 (be sure to camp on verse 14) to see if He’s telling the truth on the not burning or drowning stuff.)
So there you have it. News from the front. Deep breath. … Thanks for walking the road with me. … MEDIC!
On the lighter side… Future Hoarder of American on the move:
Smiling and laughter really is such good medicine.