It is a mom’s right to defend her child against things she deems dangerous, this much I absolutely support. But are we really doing the very best by our children when we fill them with fear or hate of anything we personally do not agree with? Please read that carefully: fear. Hate. As Christians, we absolutely cannot agree with everything, we can’t seek the popular vote and the comfortable discourse to avoid tension. Sorry… awkward moments and a touch of unpopularity are kinda built into the whole contract. But I maintain that there absolutely has to be a way to teach our children about life, choices, sex, drugs, rock n roll and all the rest that does not necessitate enraged, outraged protests and vicious finger pointing.
I am a Christian and a Mom. I will always seek to instruct my children in the ways of Jesus. Not ‘good living’ or ‘being a good person’, but Jesus Christ. But until I do find some verse that displays Him screaming judgment in the streets at anyone other than the Pharisees (hypocrites using the church as cover for their own nefarious agendas, btw) I’ll be hard pressed to adopt that as my own approach. These hateful adjectives we ascribe to our fellow humans… they cannot all be justified or justifiable. I have already been pretty strongly judged by some of my fellow Christians about my ‘hippie’ mentality, and I’m constantly trying to understand God’s heart, and His plans for my life and the things I’ve learned along the way, and the perspectives I’ve gained. Perhaps I’m too tolerant. Perhaps. That’s between me and God, and it’s a conversation we have daily. But the answer cannot go straight to intolerance, can it? Nor do I need to sit and judge too harshly those who are the raging intolerants, the bigots, the name callers and the pious (or did I already just do that?) I understand that some of these behaviours are born out of deep wounds and damage. And intolerance of intolerance is still intolerance. I’m simply saying this: We NEED to find a better way to have these conversations with our children. They not only learn from WHAT we say, but also HOW we say it; not only from WHAT we do, but also WHY we do it. So let’s not dress our hatreds, our confusions, our ignorance up in Sunday clothes and arrogantly call it God. Let’s not point at anything different and automatically call it “Devil”.
Here’s my Plea to Parents: Before we race to the soap boxes and take to the pulpits of our sofas, blogs and tweets; before we fill our children with what may turn out to be our own impassioned but passing processing of things we’re not even sure we understand… can we just take a moment? To breathe. To pray. To remember that being parents doesn’t mean our own processes are done- we will always be works in progress, and so will our children; that shaping the morality and outlooks of our children is not entirely up to us…we’re never-ending interns on God’s clock. That the best thing we can do for our children is teach them HOW to choose, not to choose for them. And that prayer, not brainwashing, is your best bet for their futures.
It is a tricky world. We’ll screw up more before we’re dead, and God bless ‘em- our kids will screw up too, no matter what we do. We’re humans, and that’s kind of our thing. But it is my motherheart’s dearest wish that I manage to convince my children of my unconditional love, and of God’s unfailing grace so that they never reach the point of feeling unreachable, unworthy and unsalvageable; that they learn there is no name out there that can ever make them anything less than the joy of my heart and of God’s heart. That just as there is no screw up that can separate ANY of us from God’s love, there is none that can separate them from mine. It is my hope that should my children ever (although daily I pray against it) wander from God’s path into strange waters and murky streets, that they be spared from the stones and crippling vitriol of people too wounded or frenzied to see that we’re all the same: people just trying to figure life out and find the Way. I hope Jesus sends angels to remind them in voices louder than accusing mobs and enticing websites, that they’re never too far gone to come back home.
In the meantime, if I’m the angel God uses to reassure some other mother’s child that God loves them in all the impossible fragments of their life at any given moment, then I need to be a voice that’s clear and unshakable and loud in declaring For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
And that means you, young man or you, young woman. It means you. No matter how far you are from the place you’d like to call home, you’re never far from God or from someone He can use to help convince you of that. If you’re reading this today, know that I skipped a meeting to finish this letter. It’s a love letter you see. A little early for Valentine’s Day, but it’s an open ended offer so it doesn’t matter: know that God sees you and loves you. It doesn’t matter who may have called you what, it doesn’t matter if they were right, or only thought they were. It doesn’t matter if you think they were right, or are afraid they may be. Hear the things the Lord Almighty says to you:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
You can be saved, salvaged, rescued, restored, redeemed, healed, forgiven and loved. Exactly as you are. EXACTLY as you are. If you were a Christian, you know the way back…you took it once. If you never were, or need help remembering it goes like this:
Father I believe you are God, the One True God. I know Jesus died on the cross for my sins and was raised again. Please forgive my sins and come into my heart. Deliver me from my past and guide me on the path You have prepared for me. Amen.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
It can be that simple. If you feel like you need to keep talking, go for it. Prayer doesn’t need to be fancy. Or audible. Or even real words. If you mean it, God will hear it.
You are loved. You are worthwhile. You are valuable. You are a delight.
I apologize on behalf of those who have hurt you, haven’t take the time to hear your cry for help, didn’t understand what you need, or were stumbling blocks to your progress. I especially apologize if they came in the name of God and told you He didn’t love you. Please forgive and release.
And please don’t ever give up. I may not ever know anyone who reads this blog…or even IF anyone in the whole wide world ever did. But if you read it, know that there’s at least one mom in the world rooting for you and sending a ton of love your way.