Thursday, October 8, 2009

At the End of My Rope!

I am at the end of my rope! I truly don't know how much more I can handle. So much has happened this past year. Each day seems to bring something new. Yesterday was no exception! Seven of Eight was hit in the face by her "friend". This was not a just a squabble between kids. Apparently this girl called a boy she liked on the phone just prior to the incident. She waited until he showed up, accused Seven of talking smack about her, then this "friend" punched Seven in the face! From what I can gather this was planned ahead of time by the "friend."
The girl hit Seven three times. Once on the side of the head, once on the mouth and again near the eye. To turn the other cheek for a twelve year old is not easy but Seven did not want to hurt her "friend" and refused to fight back. I am very proud of her.
Thankfully a neighbor saw what happened and stepped out of his house and stopped the fight, had he not, for all intents and purposes this child would have continued to punch Seven! To me this is not a childhood fight but a beating. I find this very troubling!
I am troubled in general by the increasing gang mentality I see in my neighborhood. For the past three to four years it has been an issue and seems to escalate with each passing year.
I had to confront our "neighbors" a few months ago about stealing my nine-year-old's bike.
At the time of the bike incident I became aware of something that may or may not be universal-but research indicates it is-and that is the lack of parental influence, especially paternal influence.
The stolen bike incident involved three families. The first boys father seemed truly apologetic about the incident, though not actually taking responsibility. From what I can see this father has little if any influence over his sons. The boy accused of stealing the bike is the youngest of the family. A small youth with more hair than height that struts about the streets like he owns them. Very much a wanna-be, he is rebellious towards anyone he sees as an authority figure, an attitude which has escalated towards me since confronting his father about the stolen bike.
The second family has five or six kids but three boys that stay outside most of the day. The are constantly destroying things just to entertain themselves. Aside for my visit to their home to talk to the mom about the bike (which was found in her front yard and had been there for days!) I never see this woman outside the house unless she is in the car going somewhere. There is no dad on the premises and from what I can see the mom and an older sister "parent" these unsupervised boys. The same boys by the way, that threw Wanna Be under the bike stealing bus. How quickly they decided they weren't going to take the rap for the missing bike! Excuse me, wasn't the bike found in your front yard? Does the term "receiving stolen property " ring a bell?
This takes us to my third home visit. The parents of boy number three never seemed to be home when I went to visit, even though their little cherub was hiding in the house. He must have thought I was born yesterday and was unaware of this fact. :) Because my stubborn streak is as long as I am tall, I was persistent and finally caught the cherub's dad at home.
Now Little Cherub was more that helpful in co-facilitating (hint of sarcasm) this meeting by telling me (through a crack in the door barely big enough to stick his head through) that his parents weren't home. About that time some knuckles forcefully pulled open the door wide open. The knuckles stood out in my mind because they had skeleton tattoos on them. When "daddy" stepped outside to, hmmm, talk with me, I could see that all of his inside bones were tattooed on his outside.
Tattoos do not make for poor parenting I am not implying that by any means, but this tough looking guy sounded like Vinnie Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter! "What bike?" "What color was it" (Too many bikes in your suburban backyard to keep track of Dad?) "Oh that bike, yeah it was here just a few days ago." " Where'd" ,directed at Cherub," you get that bike?" Talk about going around in circles! Yikes!!
Now back to Seven. I didn't call B-town's finest last night, though I am not sure I still won't. I am still really bothered about the way this situation has played out. Considering the the mentality I am dealing with it may be good to have a police report filed in case we have anymore trouble.
I hate making nuisance calls to the police. Stolen bikes are bad enough but I have to draw the line at a staged pummeling to impress a boy! I am not a vigilante mom by any means but I am a mom. A mom who's children are in danger is more like a ferocious she bear. I am no exception.
I have given each of these neighborhood darlings the straight skinny including the slap happy "friend ". The same skinny I gave Friend's dad when I paid him a visit.
"You don't need to be friends or hang out together. You don't even have to like each other but DON"T EVER lay a hand on, or threaten (Another problem, "We are doing these bad things but if you tell...") my children again." The authorities will definitely be involved from here on out! If I have to patrol the streets like a guard dog to keep them safe I will do it. I have no problem keeping these kids in line just by being an annoyance, sleep is highly overrated! I'm not going anywhere.
I have tried to engage these other parents without involving the authorities but it has been a dismal failure. I am trying not to get discouraged. This is one of those WWJD situations that has been a little hard to read. My gut reaction is to shake the little darlings till there teeth rattle but I suppose that is not what our Lord would do. If these little "cherubs" knew I really cared about them and worried about them they would be shocked! If they knew I really prayed for them and am teaching my kids to pray too, they'd be more shocked! There has to be some redeeming value in this situation or God would not have allowed it. Lord show Yourself in this. Show us the supernatural in the natural. Help us remember who we battle against and it is not flesh and blood!
I do have to say I have being at this parenting thing for over thirty years now. This new generation of kids I see being raised up is frightening...and I am not frightened by much!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Paupers and Kings

Why is it we are so willing to call on God as our Lord and King when we know we will receive all the benefits of his royalty. How easy it is to swear allegiance to a king in a land of peace and in a time of plenty.
We live in a country where for generations to be a Christian meant to be a person of character. The "Christian thing to do." was synonymous with good and charitable. But now the Kings name has been trampled. Christianity is synonymous with bigotry and "intolerance." And many have shaken off their loyalty to God because they don't understand the Servant King. What has been plaguing my mind lately is my allegiance to the king. Where is my loyalty?
The king laid a great honor upon my head (and heart) many years ago and in my overwhelmed state I said "Yes my Lord, entreat me not to leave you, [Or to] turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people [shall be] my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If [anything but] death parts you and me." (Ruth 1:16,17)
Has anyone but me uttered a prayer like this, "Lord do whatever You need to do in my life to make me like You. Do whatever You need to do in my life to impact my family and the ones I love, draw them close to You. I want to make a difference in the world. USE ME! "
If you have prayed that way, you have also asked questions like these, "Lord, why have You abandoned me? Why has this happened? Where are You? Why do we feel so so put upon and picked upon by God when He answers the prayer of our sincere heart? Why do we fight the process that He uses to make us like Jesus? We are in good company, David prayed these same types of prayers and asked these same types of questions. I love the Psalms!
These circumstances are often God's opportunities to walk in faith, to be a testament to family and friends ( and often others we don't even realize are watching :D ) of His faithfulness. Bad things happen to everyone regardless of color, creed, financial status, age, or disposition. The storms of life will come and come again. They can show without a doubt that our faith is anchored to an Awesome God! It is the storms that help define who we are in Christ!
Christ my King, who was rejected and hated, beaten and bruised, talked about maliciously in secret and slandered in public, betrayed by the closest of friends, betrayed by all. And yet when He allows me to partake even in a small amount in His suffering I wonder at my own faithfulness and character! Even Job, came face to face with his own self-righteousness because of His trials.
Trials hone our character and reveal much about who we are becoming. They also expose flaws in our character God wants to deal with. Like the old saying "Don't fix it if it ain't broke." Well we are broken, and God first exposes that brokenness to us so we will yield to the fixing process.
The fruits of the Spirit we all desire love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, are born through trials and tribulations. All birth has a travailing process. Each of these things are of the Spirit and have to be born of the Spirit. Our flesh with its passions and desires cannot produce spiritual fruit. Trials cause us to die to self-if we don't harden our hearts. The Christian life is a beautiful one and can be a victorious one if we can learn to embrace the process of becoming Christlike.
We are not Cup-a-Soup. God doesn't just pour out His Spirit once and TaDa....Super Christian! God slow cooks a wholesome homemade soup from scratch using a secret recipe and only the best ingredients! It is a process that takes every minute of our lives to complete. The process is about the cook, not the soup!
Last night during my quiet time an Old Jimmy Owens song kept playing in my head. I sang it and tears came to my eyes as I thought about the words, it was the prayer I had uttered so many times.
Make me like You, Lord
Make me like You.
You are a Servant
Make me one too.
Lord I am willing
Do what You must do.
To make me like You Lord
Make me like You.
This is my heart Lord Jesus. Make me like You! Teach me to embrace ALL you allow into my life. Teach me not to see them as good or bad but opportunities to serve my King and become like Yeshua Adonai!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Hate Good~byes

I went to see a friend a few months ago. She shared a verse out of Isaiah with me...
When you pass through the waters, I [will be] with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
When I saw her last she was a so tiny and frail but within her gentle spirit was the ferociousness of a lioness. Katie and I were like minded in so many ways. We also had the ability to pick up our friendship at any point in time as if we'd last talked a day or two ago. As we prayed and talked that day on her couch, I knew Katie understood what it meant to walk through the fire and not get scorched because Katie was in the midst of a fire called cancer.

Katie was a such a special friend. She had that unique combination of strength and vulnerability that made you like her immediately. Never one to put on airs ~she was always the same. What an ache I feel knowing my dear friend has lost her courageous battle with cancer.
I've seen Katie forge several rivers and walk through many fires and God was faithful to her through it all. Katie I miss you.