When Ruins Sing...

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things...(psalm8110.com)

Vulnerability 101: Parenting Teens (Week 36) (Guest Artist: Virginia Wilson, my daughter:)

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“Does Anyone Recognize This SUV?”

I shared this beautiful work of art several months ago on my Facebook page.  Virginia is 17 and I still like to display her paintings for all the world to see:)  Little did I know, this masterpiece would be the perfect feature image for a future blog post.

As parents, we want to give our kids every opportunity to find and develop their gifts.  We want to foster creativity in them, encourage them and raise them to believe that anything is possible. Right?

All of that is true and yes, I want my kids to believe in themselves, but more importantly, I want to raise my kids to live an “I AM SECOND” life. ( Click here for more information on the I AM SECOND movement.)  I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.  It is a life lived laid down for the life of another.  It is a life that does not make excuses, or formulate cover-ups.  It is a life that is authentic and willing to share weakness, in order to give the gift of “me too.”

**This is still raw but Virginia has given me permission to share.

Just this past weekend she comes rushing into our bedroom with a screen shot of the back of her car posted on Facebook with the caption,

“Does anyone recognize this SUV?”

A friend had seen it on a neighborhood community Facebook page and was quick to inform Virginia.  I am thankful for friends who bring the hard stuff straight to us, instead of just speculating behind our backs.  Next, I am thankful my daughter rushed to share this information with us, instead of trying to figure it out on her own or form a “cover up” plan!

“What does this mean mom?”

“Well, it probably means you were doing something you should not have been doing?”

This lead to a very candid and informative conversation.  She admitted she was probably driving too fast. She passed someone going slower, as she moved ahead of the “speed hump” they were slowing down for.

***AS PARENTS, I KNOW YOU SEE THE OBVIOUS ABSURDITY RIGHT THERE!

Talking it out, she realized that passing someone going slowly over a speed hump was not only stupid, but illegal, for the speed hump has a purpose-TO SLOW EVERYONE DOWN! She did not make excuses. She appeared truly remorseful for her impatient neighborhood driving behavior.

I stress the word “neighborhood” here, because the street this happened on is a thoroughfare, but it is also a neighborhood street, with kids, bikes, joggers, strollers, wagons and lemonade stands.  Going too fast is more than a traffic violation;  it is a possible death sentence.

We expressed our deep gratitude for the man posting the picture, because we would much rather deal with this learning lesson in a constructive life-giving way, than be receiving a phone call or police visit informing us of her death or someone else’s.

In the mean time, we check out the community page, and sure enough, there is Virginia’s car, accompanied by a commenting community.

**I WANT TO STOP RIGHT HERE BEFORE YOU ASSUME THIS HAS A NEGATIVE TONE, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT!  MY LONG LIST OF SINCERE “THANK YOUS” IS JUST GETTING STARTED!

People are curious as to why this car is posted. That is totally a valid question.  I am thankful the “poster” asked the question, instead of immediately cursing the driver.  This is not always the case on Facebook.

I saw some comments making assumptions as to why the picture was posted. Again, that is a totally valid conversation interjection.

My husband, Virginia and I had a quick discussion;  I said a silent prayer and began to chime in on the conversation.

(I will do my best to give you the basics but the post has since been removed(thankfully); so, I can not check to see my exact words:)

“That is my daughters car.  We have addressed the issue with her. She has informed us of her behavior and assures us it will not happen again.  We are so very thankful you brought this to our attention.  It truly does take a village.  Please “direct message” me if you would like to talk further about this incident.”

A couple of people commented, after I shared my daughters identity.

One was an attorney, who said she was welcomed to come down to his office and they would show her some pictures.  That is not a bad idea.  It would probably do us all some good to remember the repercussions of speeding or taking our eyes off the road, even for a second.

Another commenter simply said he had a story too.  From those few words, I could read the sincerity of his heart to help make a difference, to help teach a lesson maybe, to help build a tomorrow, that doesn’t have to relive the tragedies of the past.

The “poster” immediately sent us a direct message with the utmost kindness and sincerity.  It is so much easier to receive the hard stuff when you know it is coming from someone who seems to have  your best interest at heart.

Below is our DM conversation:

POSTER: “Sorry, not trying to cause trouble and will take post down.  As a parent I would want someone to watch after my young driver too!”

ME: “OH MY GOODNESS! I AM NEVER GOING TO BE A “SHOOT THE MESSENGER” PARENT!!!!  I am extremely grateful you posted it and that someone told Virginia and she told us.  As a community, we so need each other!!!  This is how we get better.  Virginia was very humble with us and admitted she was driving to fast.  She took it seriously. She did not get defensive at all and was very apologetic.  Trust is earned; so, now she has some to earn back regarding her speed.  Again, thank you so much!

POSTER: “No problem!”

Welcome to our moments.  Are they pretty? Not always.  Are they worth sharing? You bet, if it helps just one person to know they are not alone.

I would like to close with a story tucked into God’s word that often gets overlooked.  However, it has always spoken volumes to me.

In 1 Chronicles 19, we see one of David’s envoys humiliated by an enemy.  They were seized, shaved, and their garments were cut off at the buttocks.  They were then sent back home in a walk of shame..

When David hears of the disgrace heaped upon his men, he does one of the kindest “Christ-like” things I have ever seen.

When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance. 1 Chron. 19:5 NLT

It is easy to miss the extreme mercy and compassion in the above verse; however, anyone who has experienced shame will embrace it!  Notice that David allowed his men to “heal” in private, before making them appear in public! This behavior reflects the heart of God.

Do you remember how Jesus treated the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8?

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:1-11 MSG

In this era of TBH on FB (Translation: TO BE HONEST on FACE BOOK) or any social media, many have turned it into a license to publicly humiliate, masked in the statement, “I am just being honest.”

This woman was “honestly” caught in the act of adultery, yet Jesus points the finger at her accusers.  David’s men were sent home in shame, yet David let them heal up in private before returning to the public.  We have much to learn and put into practice from these two stories, don’t you think.

I am incredibly grateful that when my daughter was caught in the act of speeding and illegally passing, she was not publicly humiliated.  A concerned community extended a rally cry and helped us parent her in this situation.  I pray lessons have been learned and the same mistakes will not be made.

Whereas our situation was handles with love and compassion by a caring neighborhood, many other situation have not been as fortunate.  The microscopes with which we dissect others are often the biggest logs in our own eyes.  These logs are strategically positioned outward,  keeping us from addressing our own inward shortcomings.

I never want to be a parent who:

chooses to stick my head in the sand,

or make excuses for my children’s poor choices

or claims credit for their victories

or covers up their messes.

A good parent disciplines because they love!  We love our littles, no matter their ages, so much that we want to gobble them up with a spoon.  They are our hearts delight, even on their worst day.

There is not a thing in this world my children could ever do or say that would ever make me love them any less and that love is a tiny fraction compared to the love our gracious and merciful Heavenly Father has for us.  The forgiveness I get to extend toward my babies and others is minuscule compared to the forgiveness our Heavenly Father has extended toward us.

In light of HIS MERCY AND GRACE,

I pray we all sign off encouraged.

I pray we run to hug our babies and tell them how unconditionally loved they are.

I pray we extend mercy and compassion extravagantly.

I pray we link arms in love to help raise the next generation in our homes and in our communities.

I pray we never use humiliation as a “to be honest” statement.

And I pray that in humility, we have the hard conversations privately to help send the healed boldly back to the public, with their heads held high, confident in the ONE who saved, delivered, restored and fulfilled them!

Amen

Dedicated to my daughter, my sunshine, my laughter, one of my heroes of faith, and one I will always proudly claim and call mine!

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About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel Forgiven and Free Living a life that says: COME AND SEE!

3 Replies

  1. Praise God for this reminder that we are a village not meant to point fingers but to gracefully point each other down the best path as a community! I love the picture and both your and Virginia’s hearts!

  2. Praise God for this reminder that we ARE a village not meant to point fingers but to gracefully point each other down the best path! I love the picture and love both your and Virginia’s hearts! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous

    I love the message here…thanks for posting!

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