Friday, August 21, 2015

Back to School Clothes Scandal, Anyone?

(With "back to school" just around the corner - and already in session in some places - and it still being summer weather in most areas where boys and girls want to dress comfortably for the weather - I thought it was timely to share this)

I saw this on FB earlier today and it reminded me of all the media attention local high school students generated this past school year over this issue.

Opinions were all over the place on this, from it being too harsh, too lax, students dressing too "trashy" or perfectly fine, but too "trashy" for the school administrators.

In some of the cases I saw in the media, the girls were in fact dressed 100% inappropriate for school (in my opinion as a mom with 6 daughters).  In others, the girls were dressed no different than my own 16 year old. While I don't insist my girls head off to school dressed in flour sack dresses, I don't let them leave the house looking all "hey boys, check out the goods!".  Not that any of them would anyway, that's just not their style. Thankfully.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Headline News: Sometimes my attitude genuinely stinks

While reading all the developing news stories yesterday and last evening I kind of got a bit overwhelmed with all the BAD news. From fires to arrests to hacked documents to vile videos about abortion.  Sometimes I think I just want to stick my head in the Happy Sand and pretend none of the wickedness is going on all around me and my loved ones.  Clearly that would be irresponsible but it's so very tempting.

So then... Ashley Madison.  By now everyone's heard all about it.  Including girls or women actually named, "Ashley Madison". Imagine that special kind of awkward.

A few thoughts.

When I first heard the client data had been released by hackers, my very first thought was GOOD!  Followed by thoughts of how every single subscriber deserved absolutely every kind of devastation and humiliation coming to them.  From marital, to financial, to career and more.  All of it. Boom. Justice. Done!

But that was my flesh thinking, not my heart.  Really, when you think about all the stupid, awful, dumb things any of us have done (you, me, your spouse, your kids, my kids) and hoped would never come out for public consumption, we're kind of all AM Subscribers in a way. Obviously we're not all looking to cheat on our spouses but we've all got our own private, personal junk that we'd never want the world to know.  If we're Christians, we've already dealt with it with the Lord and that's as far as we'd want it to ever go. Ever. So in a way, I had to sort of back-track on my "ha, you get what you deserve you cheating pig!" mindset.  I'm all about justice, but I'm also eternally grateful for God's grace and mercy and that same grace and mercy extended to me from other believers who know full well there own sin isn't any prettier than mine.

In discussing it with my husband we talked about the children of these cheating husbands, their wives, and extended families and how they certainly didn't deserve the coming humiliation, and how they were the real victims in all this.  I CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE.

So, it was good to read this last night from Dustin Germain from The Reformed Pub.  These days, not much shocks me but I will say I was very disheartened and disappointed to learn Josh Duggar's name was on that list of subscribers.  I shared my thoughts on the whole Duggar fiasco here and here back in June.  Some (wrongfully) assumed I was defending Josh Duggar so I suppose I fall into the camp (mentioned in the Reformed Pub's blog post) of the 3rd group of people.  I do want to take exception to a part of it however:

"Finally there will be the family of Christ who defended him while acknowledging his sin. They will be heartbroken. They stood up for him as a Christian who sinned greatly in his youth but who had been restored in mercy and grace, and now they will be stung and embarrassed at having done so, often passionately in the face of skepticism and doubt. Even the very act of sticking up for a child molester tested and strained the forgiveness they were willing to extend, and yet they assumed and trusted the best even though all they had to go on was his word and some fruit they saw him bear. This was because they recognized the power of the gospel to actually change lives, evidenced by their own, and they believed that Christ again had done another miracle in regeneration. Now though, in place of that hope, there is a strange, disquieting sadness."

What I posted back in June wasn't actually a defense of Josh Duggar but more of an appeal for folks to really think about their attitudes about the whole thing, in the factual context of how things happened.  Despite that, I'm not at all embarrassed for what I said then. Disappointed?  Absolutely.  Heartbroken for his wife and children, and siblings?  No question about it.  It's a very shameful thing to be outed as a hypocrite, and that shame extends directly to one's closest loved ones.

I really liked the closing segment of this same post which starts out "So what are we to do?"  PRAY.  For Josh's wife, his children, his family, his victims and for Josh himself.  I would simply add, that we might pray about our own attitudes when we read something like this. We're all so bent on justice for wrongs (and that's not a bad thing at all) when it comes to things like this but I think sometimes we forget "Josh Duggar" could be anyone.  You, me, your spouse or your kid.  Calling his sin for what it is, is fair and right.  But sometimes I think we're all just a little too eager for under-the-bus justice for others, when we're so thankful we received grace instead.

Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Awkward Day

There are all kinds of special days in people's lives.  From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, the day you bought your first house (or first car), the day you graduated, or landed your dream job and on and on the list goes.  It's different for everyone, but everyone has some kind of list of days.  Then, there are other days that are hard to forget no matter how hard you really want to.  Days where not-so-wonderful things happened and it was traumatic enough to go down in your mental hall of records as "that day".

For me, that day is today, August 15th.  Specifically, August 15, 1995.  Twenty years ago today I became a widow.

I've thought about the day off and on for the last month or so (only because others have mentioned it, really) and of course today when I woke up it was among my first thoughts: "today is the day".  Followed by "now what?"

It's such an awkward day.  There are no rules like for birthdays where you wrap gifts, bake a cake and sing songs.  No special plans are made like dinner reservations or shopping for a new dress.  There's nothing to take a picture of and stick in the photo album to remind you of "this day".  It's just there, sticking out of the calendar going "hey, remember me?"

Well of course we remember, but we don't really want to.  At least I don't.  I don't want to remember the details of that day.  I don't want to remember how I felt that day.  I don't want to remember the phone calls I had to make or the places I had to go.  The one thing I don't want to remember ever again, is the looks on my children's faces when I had to tell them.  If I never see those expressions on their precious faces (or any of my other children born after that time), it will be too soon.

It's one of those days you don't talk about.  Or do you?  Do you mention it?  Who do you mention it to?  How do you decide who to bring it up to, and bring them down with your thoughts of "hey, today is the anniversary of the day I became a widow"?  You don't really want to do that but somehow it feels like you're supposed to say something, to someone. I'm not even sure why, but it does.

So as I've thought about it off and on throughout today, I've decided the best way to deal with this day is to look at all the awesome that has taken place since that day.

Those little kids who's expressions broke my heart into a million pieces?  They're all grown up now with lives and children and experiences of their own.  We talk almost every day, and they spend time here at home with mom off and on, and I can easily say I'm so very blessed they are mine.  It wasn't easy for any of them and they'll never know what it was like to not have to deal with that as children, but that experience, as brutal as it was, had a large part in making them who they are today.  Loving, appreciative, thoughtful, compassionate people.  Okay some of them are a little weird too (fine, they're all weird!) but they are who they are, and I love them so much I can't stand it.

That first few weeks and months (and years, to be honest) is still rather blurry and I'm okay with that.  There was too much pain to remember it all.  Too many mistakes made, too many bad choices, too many trials and errors.  Too many tears.  Yet God was merciful and gracious and brought a new (and wonderful) husband into my life and four more awesome kids.

In all the years since that day, so many amazing, wonderful, incredible things have happened.  I've experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother, traveled to amazing and breathtaking places, re-connected with my step-son (who struggled in his own way) and met his children, bought my first home, and... well, there's so much I can't even begin to list it all.  The more I think about how much awesome has filled the last 20 years the more I could easily come up with.

Of course it hasn't all been rainbows and sunshine.  Life has done what life does and takes you down in the valley then back up to the mountain.  Again, and again, and again.  Overall however, it's been an incredibly good and blessed life for the last twenty years.

So I guess all I really want to say about "this day" is that it happened, it hurt beyond words but... that was then, and this is now.  God has blessed my life in ways I would have never dreamed of, since that day.  I suppose it will always be an awkward day in some regard, but I like to think about the "since then" and the "now" and the "what will next year and then 10 or 20 years from now bring?" instead of anything else.

Oh, and August 15th was also the opening day of Woodstock.  Anyone who knows me and knows my love of classic rock, will understand.

Edited to add:  I've decided to share what I had to say about this last year, on this day.  You can read that here.  I'm only adding it because I hope it helps someone, who may need to feel that same hope that is rather elusive, at first.