On Keeping it Real
A few months ago, one of my children had an incident at school that left me reeling. This child exhibited behavior that our family does not condone, but the issue was compounded with the discovery that issues had been occurring for months upon months and I had no idea.
When everything came out into the light, we had an opportunity to deal with the issues, to seek reconciliation, to ask for forgiveness and to move forward. It ended up being a positive experience, one of learning and growth, but during the initial fire storm, I was an emotional wreck. In that time, I wanted to tell everyone what was happening to my family. I wanted to air my grievances to the masses. I wanted to retaliate against what I considered to be unfair treatment of my child.
But I didn’t. Only a handful of close friends know the details of what occurred in that time and there are 2 main reasons for this. The first one is my child. My child is a sinner, a work in progress, a person in need of grace and forgiveness. The mistakes and bad behavior do not define my child and do not determine the course of their life. However, these things might have determined the course of their life if I had allowed my not so gracious opinions to be aired in that time.
The second reason is that those who were affected by my child’s behavior are people who are made in the image of God. No one is perfect, but everyone deserves to be treated with respect. And privacy. While the mama bear in me wanted to fight for my child, I also knew that I needed to fight for those who were involved in this issue whether I approved of their behavior or not. Sometimes “fighting for” someone else means that I need to keep my mouth shut.
The reason I share this is that I am a very open person and I share a lot of myself in this space. But it is important to note that I do not share everything that I possibly could share. This doesn’t mean that I am hiding parts of me or that I only share things that make me look good.
My sole purpose in writing in this blog is to seek to bring glory to God. Sometimes, I get it right. But sometimes I don’t. There are times when I over share and in retrospect, I wish I had not hit publish. Other times, I wish that I had been bold enough to write what I felt needed to be said.
Parenting in the social media age where lives are open books brings a unique set of challenges. Where is the line between “keeping it real” and honoring privacy? How do we invite others into the messiness of our lives while maintaining necessary boundaries to protect our children? Is it possible to bring glory to God along the way or would it be better to only share our stories after we have gained the wisdom and sanctification necessary to share on issues that are in process?
While some of these questions can’t be answered specifically, there are guiding principles in scripture that address all of these issues. It is important to note that the “heroes” in scripture are never described as being perfect. Actually, it is quite the opposite. They are described as messed up sinners and we get to see it all- the good, the bad and the ugly. The thread that ties all of these stories together is the amazing redemptive power of God. There is no sin that He can’t overcome. There is no issue that is beyond the reach of his grace. There is no brokenness that He cannot heal.
I am beyond grateful that God has not called me to share every last little detail of my life for the world to judge and criticize and make assumptions about. I mess up. My kids mess up. Even my pastor husband messes up. We are all sinners in desperate need of grace, mercy and forgiveness.
While I will continue to share my story as long as I sense that this is what God would have for me to do, I will do so out of a heart that is seeking to bring glory to Him. This means that there will be things that will not be shared here. And there will still be times when I won’t always get it right. But just in case anyone reads my words or sees my pictures and thinks that I have a perfect family, I want to tell you that this is not true. What is true is that we have a great God and because He cannot be shaken, we find our rest and our refuge in Him.
Going through tough issues with my kids has taught me some humbling lessons. One of the lessons is that I must not make assumptions of other families, because I have witnessed personally the damaging effects of assumptions. Whether a family portrays themselves as having it all together or not, every family is in desperate need of Christ. I have also learned not to judge quickly or criticize freely. Or at least I am learning this! I have been hurt by quick judgments made as a result of my kid’s behaviors and I want to be careful not to do that to others.
John Bradford’s words frequently resonate in my heart~ There but for the grace of God go I. And while I am not being led to a scaffold to be hung, I want to live with this kind of humility, owing all that I am to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.