Dirty Underwear. Filthy Socks. Muddy Jeans. Stained T-Shirts. What To Do With Dirty Laundry?
Last month, I read Mark Lee’s encouraging blog post about journaling and being self-disciplined so decided I was going to get on the stick with my blog. Unfortunately, right at that time, our family was thrown into a whirlwind of spiritual attach via another family that left me, um, speechless! I didn’t allow myself to blog because I didn’t want to be tempted to, you know, SIN, and since we were in the midst, I felt it would be lying to journal and act as if none of it was going on. And, honestly, I don’t know how I could have written anything without writing about that. Hopefully, the worst is behind us but I still can’t seem to write without addressing it. It’s a part of our story, now, and it certainly isn’t my favorite part. It was a brief (again, I hope) trial, rather bizarre and we learned a lot. Aspects of this part of our life would certainly qualify as dirty laundry so, therefore, I don’t plan on hanging it out there. But…I also am not going to ignore this part of our lives as it has made such an impact on us.
Some of what I have learned from our experience doesn’t necessarily sound positive. For example, I won’t be so trusting of people from here on out. Just because they are a Christian, homeschooling family doesn’t mean they are like-minded, or even stable, for that matter. There are folks who give a pretty convincing performance but God has a way of revealing who a person really is behind the masquerade. I sensed something was awry at the onset of this trial. While some may chastise my distrust of people, God calls it discernment and if we’re walking with Him, His Spirit gives us “nudges” that let us know something isn’t right. I was nudged. A lot. I/He was right. Every hunch I had was right. BUT, I trusted that good, Christian people only have the best intentions. Turns out I was wrong.
I have also learned that real friends who really love you can really be trusted to stand up for you. It was SO tempting to try to set the record straight, to defend our family, to retaliate. We chose to hold our tongues. We knew that “the accuser” was being given reign to attack our family through some folks and that we should not “answer fools according to their folly, or we would be like them.” Proverbs 26:4 It was also just easier to be quiet. The amount of emotional energy that is required for psychodrama is just not worth it! Meanwhile, friends…real friends stood up for us and tried to speak truth on our behalf. Unfortunately, those friends who were willing to stick their necks out were also abused verbally. We were also encouraged by those who told us that our actions in response to the outlash showed integrity, dignity, etc. Here I thought I was just being lazy. Seriously, though, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Proverbs 17:28 We could have rebutted, but as it was, if these folks were truly brothers and sisters in Christ, they would have been following Matthew 18 and coming to us to discuss “their version” of the situation. I struggled for a bit with whether we should follow Matthew 18 and go to them but when my DH pointed out that they were using Facebook (and you thought it was just for social networking) to lambaste our family and would not listen to anyone who tried to discourage their behavior, he deduced that they would not be people to recon with and that we should NOT treat them as siblings in Christ. So we are praying for them and regarding them as deceived people who really do have problems – problems God can use if they will choose to follow Him.
I need not go into detail but I did learn that when we raise our children by teaching them God’s Word, by doing our best to set an example worth following, discuss life issues on a regular basis, and have their hearts, I can trust they will choose to do what’s right. They will make mistakes. They will fall. That’s been a hard lesson to learn, too. As a mom, I want to keep them safe and guide them to do what’s right. But when they grow into young adults, the only direction I can give them is the direction I have earned the right to give. It’s at this point my children look for direction when they think they need it. If I’ve done my job right, they will look to God, come to their father or I, and seek wise counsel. We all screw up, though! I need to remember that, though I think my children are awesome, they aren’t flawless and will make mistakes, will break my heart, will disappoint me and themselves! My goal is to be ready with open arms to accept my children with all the dirt and scrapes, clean them up and patch up any wounds IF they want it OR show them how to do it themselves. I’ve also learned that my children will shine their light brightest through a trial, that they want to do what’s right, will take a bad situation and do their best to turn it around, and will do like I’m doing here, learn from the situation.
As if the lessons weren’t aplenty, I know that I have a husband who will stand up for his family, will confront head-on those who would seek to do us harm, and will speak wisdom into your life whether you want him to or not. (Here’s hoping seeds were planted!)
I can honestly say I have been blessed through this ordeal due to our family coming together to carry each other’s loads, our friends’ wonderful support, and seeing how individual yoots handled themselves. I am so proud of my kids!
What’s not shared is lost,
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19,20