So last week I mentioned that I had trouble with conflict. I got some terrific feedback from a lot of you saying that you too struggled with conflict and confrontation. Today, I’ll share with you a story that goes along with that same theme. Apparently, I don’t learn my lessons too quickly. Hence the fact that God all so patiently teaches me…over and over and over again. Why He bothers with my hardheadedness is BEYOND me…
Several years ago I taught in Special Education where I had medically fragile students and taught with a team of amazing speech, physical and occupational therapists. I learned SO much about myself, God, and parenting in those short two years than I believe I have ever learned. In my first week of that job I had a visitor come into my room. Nancy Wilson, just one of the awesome Speech Therapists I worked with, was the epitome of professionalism, class, dedication and genuine love of her kids and her craft. To learn from her was to learn from one of the best. She came to my room with a gift. A “welcome aboard” gift so to speak. I reached in the bag and pulled out a gumball machine.
I looked at her, with a look of confusion, and thanked her. She then said, “Jill, every morning, I want you to eat 2 gumballs. Eat them every morning, until yours drop.”
My confusion on my face must have grown because all she did was laugh.
I started laughing too and then she looked at me and said, “Jill, don’t be a doormat. Stand up for these kids.” And as lovingly as one could say, she said, “You need to grow a pair of balls. They are depending on you to.”
I finally got it. And she was right. She knew me all too well. How many times had I gotten a bad report on one of the boys, at school or church, and just blindly agreed with the person giving the report. For example, one year, a fun event was being threatened for the class. Each student had to write their name on a note card. Each infraction resulted in a letter being taken away. Once your name was marked out, bye bye fun event. It sounded fair enough. Unless your name has 3 letters in it…When I got the note saying Max couldn’t participate, instead of standing up for him, I agreed with the teacher and allowed him to miss the fun event.
Was I excusing his behavior? Absolutely not.
Did I think the procedure was fair? No.
Did I stand up for him and say that? Nope.
Did I regret it? I sure did. I felt awful.
Hey, I’ll be the first to admit they can be terds. Most days they need a spanking just for waking up in the mornings. Because some time during the day, I know they’ll probably need it. But what it came down to was the fact that I didn’t want the confrontation of the teacher. I wanted her to like me. Being in the same district was difficult because she was still a colleague.
The disagreement made me feel uncomfortable.
The conflict was easier avoided, even at the sake of my kid.
Awesome mom right here, man.
That example is just a very small, seemingly insignificant example. No, eternity doesn’t hinge on whether or not he got a fun event. But over and over and over again?
If I don’t be an advocate, who will? Essentially, while I don’t want to ruin relationships I have with people, I only have one person I need to please.
And again, through the times I was letting my kids down, God was reminding me that I didn’t necessarily need to grow a pair of balls and go guns blazing being the helicopter mom who fought every single battle out there. Believe me, I know those moms too. Oh boy. I can’t even DEAL with those moms…“Well, my baby couldn’t possibly have lost that book. They are totally responsible. I know. Someone must have broken into their locker and stolen the book. I’m positive that’s what happened.”
Rrrriiiiiighht. Let me now how that works out for you.
Anyway, instead of balls I need a holy confidence. One that God describes as coming before the throne with confidence. A boldness that Hebrews 4:16 describes as a “throne of grace”… “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
My God that’s GOOD!!!!
And He means ANY time of need.
Big or small.
Cancer diagnosis or standing up for a kid.
If it involves US, it’s all big to Him.
We are His children and He loves us.
Even while we are learning to get mercy and give mercy.
Over and over and over again.