**If you are looking for our Giveaway Week Question of the Day, read on! You’ll have to read the post to be able to answer today’s question and earn an additional entry. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read Tuesday’s post HERE with all the details regarding how you can take home one of our new MUSTARD SEED PRAYER JOURNALS for kids – for FREE!**
I’ve got a special treat for you all today! We’ve got a guest blogger today who is near and dear to me. In fact, she knows me better than anyone else on earth! She’s served many roles in my life: biggest cheerleader, spiritual mentor, first teacher, middle-of-the-night nurse, term paper editor, Sunday School teacher, conflict mediator, personal shopper, personal chef, camp counselor, travel agent, college “scholarship” financier, the list goes on!
If you haven’t guessed by now, our special guest is my mom, Sally.
Her list of credentials is long but the only one that really matters is that she loves the Lord and has left me a legacy of faith and prayer! I’m always blessed by her teaching so I hope that you will be as well! (Before I turn the reigns over to her, I have to preface this by saying that I gave my mom complete freedom to choose a topic that God had laid on her heart and I did zero editing! After reading her words, I have to admit I was a little nervous about sharing them because she chose to write about ME! Good gracious, Mother! I should have known…)
One of the plethora of blessings in being a parent is learning lessons about God from our children. One major lesson I learned while raising my daughters was that God did not want me to rescue them from pain, rejection, and struggle. It is very hard to see our children suffer, and our instinct is to rush in and solve all problems. I see it all the time as a teacher. Women get in the middle of the spats their children have with classmates, and a minor childhood hurt becomes a long term grudge. But God showed me very specifically one day through such an experience that Molly had that I needed to back off and let God be God.
Throughout her elementary years Molly experienced some serious bullying from a classmate. You need to know that Molly was the sweetest little girl (still is), who was loved by all for her kindness and humility. She was also one of the top students in her class in a time when students were given gold stars on a very prominent class chart. Molly’s stars were always way ahead of everyone else’s. So one classmate felt extremely competitive with Molly and pretty much tortured her because of it from first through fourth grades. When Molly would come home from school with stories about what had happened, I would tell her that this little girl had some insecurities and that we needed to pray for her, but Molly was never to answer with anything but kindness and forgiveness.
Then one day I was really put to the test! Molly came home with her best friend who was spending the night with us. They had a fun time together as usual. The next morning, the girl’s mother, who remains to this day one of my most treasured friends, picked her up to take her home. As soon as the door closed behind them, Molly burst into tears. Apparently this sweet friend had joined with the bully and one other girl the day before at school, following Molly around the playground yelling mean things at her. Molly had kept that in all night, but let it all out that morning. I prayed with her and reassured her that often girls can be mean, but I was proud of her for not answering in kind, and reminded her that we are to forgive. However, my mother hackles were up and I was actually livid! It was a betrayal that stung!
When Molly left for school that day, I turned to my housework with a vengeance. I was scheduled to have the entire Brownie troop at my house that evening (which included all three girls). I didn’t want to have them in my home. As I took out my anger on the kitchen floor, I thought, “I suppose she’d be popular if I let her get “F’s” in school!” The LORD spoke almost audibly to me in that kitchen! He very clearly said to me in my heart, “That’s your problem! You want her to be popular. Take your hands off her! I am training her to be persecuted for my name’s sake!”
WHOA! That stopped me in my tracks. If Molly was to have her own personal walk of faith with God, she would need to see His faithfulness in ALL situations. If I attempted to rescue her by jumping into the fray, she would be denied the experience of seeing the LORD as her Rock, her Rescuer, her Shelter, her Defense. Jesus told us that, as His followers, we would face persecution, just as He did.
First, I would have to model forgiveness for Molly. I asked the LORD to help me show love and forgiveness to these girls that night. When they came, He more than answered that prayer. Even though I was FEELING upset, He gave me the strength to ACT lovingly. And the miracle was that, as I obeyed His command to love and forgive those who hurt us – yes, even those who hurt our children – He then gave me the feelings to match! God actually worked in the situation and each of those girls remained friends with Molly, and I remained friends with the moms. That was victory! Molly learned that sometimes, even our dearest friends may disappoint us. But if we are to be a friend we need to learn to forgive. I learned that God needs to be God with my children!
Now, there are certainly times when it is perfectly appropriate for parents to advocate for their children. But I’ve seen many parents rush in to their child’s defense too quickly and actually make matters worse. Girls are particularly prone to meanness – and they love to get others in on the harassment. Molly needed some toughening up, because it would prepare her for later betrayals that she went through in that nasty period of middle school and even in college! Through each of these struggles, she experienced the faithfulness of God – as opposed to the toughness of her mother!
Thank you, Mom, for your words of wisdom! I am just at the outset of the school years with my own children, but I can already see how critical it is to remember that God is sovereignly weaving a plan for the lives of my kids. I need to remember and TRUST that nothing can touch them that hasn’t passed through His hands first! So, here is the question for today:
How has God used pain, rejection, and/or struggle in your own life
to shape you and grow you?