Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The ongoing prayers of this simple family

Before I even begin, let me be fairly clear here with at least one area: I am not for one moment in time placing my family's decisions, rules, direction in life or what-have-you, up for debate. If you feel we are wrong in our stand, so be it. Deal with your family issues in whatever manner you see fit, but do not direct your disagreement toward my blog comments or my emails. I have shared little in this matter and yet already it is creating a headache with those who feel the need to chastise our decisions and choices. If time proves my choice of direction to be wrong, you'll get your satisfaction when I come back here to blog about the path of destruction I've walked us down. Until that time, save the comments and smirk to yourself, ok?

I am not sharing any of this by way of shame towards either my daughter or the young man involved. I am honest and open with my feelings and my thoughts here. Anyone who has been visiting for even a small length of time knows this. I am not looking for sympathy, pats on the back, or chastisement. I am sharing only because I need to. I need to be transparent so I can look back later and fully see where I was, what I did and why it did or did not work. Sometimes, being human and being led in sinful nature, being able to look back affords more vision than being able to look ahead ever will.

We are walking through a bit of a trail right now. It's not so much a difficult season for us as it is shame in watching the fruits of our lax parenting come forth yet again :o( I'd like to say we had learned from the mistakes of our past, but obviously we have not. Worse would be to think we had and simply ignore this new season. We let too many things slide and go by with a wink and it's producing worm-filled useless fruits now.

Well, I won't say the fruit is useless. No fruit is completely useless. This particular fruit involves our eldest daughter (16) sneaking around behind our backs to chat with a young man we have done much for and involved in our family. His own family is dysfunctional to an extreme and we have often tried to bring him out of that as we can and offer a sort of view of a family a bit more normal...stable, at least. We have taken him to church for some time now. Vanity perhaps on our part -- as though our family is any less in turmoil at times than anyone else's, but our hearts were in the right place.
Daughter has been sneaking every opportunity to have meetings and conversations with this young man, to the point that his step-mother literally burst through my door a few nights ago around 11:30 pm...literally burst through my door in the dead of night without warning (the children were camping in the barn loft, so our door was left open for them if needed), to scream and rant wanting to know where said-boy was. I didn't have clue one what was or had been going on. He had parked his (her) car about a mile down the road at a neighbors empty house and walked up here to meet up with daughter in the barn and chat for however long. They weren't alone, but still....this is beyond inappropriate and completely against our rules, lax as they have been. The entire fiasco was not pretty, and I certainly could have done without it, especially in the dead of night.

For all intent of purpose here, this family and it's inhabitants are on lock-down. Right or wrong in others' viewpoint, daughter has lost every privilege and level of trust she had previous to this. She has a road ahead of her, rebuilding the trust her father and I had for her. She has used her siblings to sort of cover for her in chores and other duties so she could talk on the phone and such, and I have no doubt this was not the first gathering they have had behind our backs. I take full responsibility for this. I have slacked off over time, and with Dewey being off working, it has gotten worse. As it should have, I suppose without Dad being home where he belongs to head the family and keep the direction right. I should have expected things to fall apart with his being gone, but I truly thought the fallout would be limited somewhat. My folly, I can see now. I had allowed dress codes to change, though not by much, it was still apparently too much, going from the cape dresses or other plain dresses/aprons to skirts and shirts. Seems innocent enough, but it's not what you wear, it's the heart behind wanting to change it. I did the same with music and other influences of the sort. I turned away from the directions we had and those little steps taking in such ease, turned into full bore runs toward attitude and heart changes.

But, no more. My eyes have been opened to my mistakes and while I have struggled to remain very calm and not screech into emotions during this, I have clamped down the law so to speak. There are some very strong, very harsh rulings coming from this incident. As I said, all privileges are gone. Not altered, just plain old taken away period. The cell phone is gone. Maybe a mistake in the first place, but it is gone so a moot point at this stage. The 'fellowship' of this young man is over. He was told by Dewey that even coming down this road and passing our property without being specifically invited by him, Dad, alone will not happen (ours is a dead-end road, so he has no need being here anyway). There will be not one ounce of contact between the two, or the two families, until the emotional issues have cleared and thoughts are back on track. We are not taking said-boy to church with us. Should he choose to continue coming he will transport himself. If he can skulk about in the middle of the night on his own, he can certainly get himself to church if the need and desire is there. Each of the children, though some a bit young to comprehend anything that has happened, have been told we will not be rude, but there will be nothing more than a passing hello when in the company of this other family. To purposely go behind our backs in this way, there is no trust, no respect and no loyalty in place. We will not be rude, but we will not engage in anything beyond the bare-bones 'civility' of casual acquaintances.

We have already received some fallout from these decisions, but hey, that's life I suppose. No one else needs to understand why we have made the choices we have, or why we feel they are steps that need taken at this moment in time. Everyone leads their families in different directions, with differing guidance. This is our chosen direction.

The past several days have seen our Bible lessons come mostly from Proverbs. I liked this comment (among many others) from our reading this morning -- a fool is called by several names in Scripture, but whatever he is called, he is a menace to society, to his friends, his family, and all Christians. He is the most dangerous person under satan's rule because he thinks lightly about everything, things sacred and things concerning sin. "Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom" Proverbs 15:21a.

Some characteristics of the fool: He does not think ahead of his own actions. He lives only for the present joy and pleasure.
He is self-opinionated and acts as his own counsel and instructor, shedding the words and advice of others as preachy or 'bossy'.
He is easily seduced. Flattery and sweet words from the wicked are readily followed while common sense and morals are left to drift aside.
He realizes no need for protection from evil or the wicked.
He is not aware that he is living in a world of profound evil.
He is heedless of satan's countless traps and willingly pulls himself from one only to step directly into another.
He is unreliable and has no sense of direction for his present life or his future.
The fool deliberately causes trouble for others and is quarrelsome.
The fool never admits he is wrong, sincerely, unless the wording of such a 'confession' will enhance his chances to create more strife for others and joy for himself.
He lacks common sense and cannot be trusted.
He brings grief to his parents and his family because he refuses the teachings of those in authority over him, and with life experiences he could learn from. He is rebellious in most, if not all, things and shows little love or respect for others.

The only activity that can be safely undertaken with or for a fool is PRAY. That is where we are. We are not turning our backs on this young man. We are lifting him in prayer, perhaps more than we were before. There is not, at this point in time, any place for this relationship in our family. Of course, daughter is having her rebellion on this and has taken the stand of being sullen and pouty lately. Which has been pointed out to her as simply another sign of her immaturity and lack of responsibility. If she intends to build her trust level, to show she is somehow mature and responsible to begin a relationship with a young man, this is definitely not helping her out. She is acting out of immaturity as far as I can see. All the more reason for rules and constraints to freedoms until we can rebuild things around here.

I have been told that not allowing the young man to church with us is harsh. I don't think so. In the past year of his attending with us there has been little growth you can point a finger at and recognize, and no change to his demeanor or such at all. I'm not saying God isn't working in him, but there is no fruit showing of any good works that I can see, and being party to the sneaking around in secret proves that out all the more I believe. He knows our rules on dating (we don't) and he knows our views on friendships between the sexes and so on. He did not go into this sneaking around with a blind eye, he did it with his eyes closed hoping to get away with it. And in no uncertain terms is our daughter innocent in any of it. She has been raised under the same direction her entire life and has not known different. She is fully aware of our rules and she has her own brain to use. She chose not to heed any of that and go for the instant fun and thrill of sneaking about. There is no set in stone blame here...it is very equally spread around, landing perhaps a bit more in my own lap than anyone else's.

That's about it for our update I guess. Prayer would be greatly appreciated. I will be glad to see my husband back on the homestead where he should be.
And yes, I have seen the "irony" in all of this turmoil lately...coming on the heels of that besetting sin post I made last week or so. I thought (one of )my biggest troubles in life was my lack of emotional control at times. yeah, right. Guess I need to rework that little listing, heh?


Dawn said...

WOW! Good for you. I am so glad to see that you are sticking to your guns with this young man. I have so many regrets with my olders. So many boundries that were crosses while I let it slide. There lives are a dirrect result of my lax parenting. I am trying to re-do with the youngers. However the example that the olders have set is hampering my efforts. For what is it worth I support your decision 100 percent and wish that I had had the strength that you are now showing with your daughter. I am now raising a 2 yearold grandson due to that whatever parenting style. My daughter's life is forever changed and it all wouldn't have happened if I had not let the rules slide. Trust me, your daughter will thank you later on. And even if she doesn't you are still doing the right thing.
You are in my prayers.
In Christ

Anonymous said...

I have just started reading your blog and enjoy it very much. Don't let certain comments get you down. Pray about it and do what you think the Lord is telling you to do. I have been thru about the same things you are going thru and no one liked my decisions, either. I felt that was what God was telling me to do. That's your family, no one knows your family like you do. I, for one think you are making good decisions.

Donna and Greg said...

I have read your blog and enjoyed it. We may never meet this side of eternity but please know that you are in my prayers. Whoever says that parenting isn't hard...doesn't have children. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 days a year hard job, no matter how old your children are. Through some of my childrens actions, I have learned to accept that it is not all my fault. They do make their own decisions and don't always think with the brains that the Lord blessed them with. Your transparency with sharing this publicly was a brave move on your part. Hopefully all of your comments will be supportive and not critical of your convictions for your family and your lifestyle.

Scarlett said...

Please don't let others make you feel bad. You are taking care of your family as you see fit, and I am very proud of you. I only wish I had your backbone right now. My daughter is 11 and I am trying to move her from the dress of the rest of the world, to more simple and modest dress. It is not an easy task. Keep up the good work, and don't beat yourself up we learn from our mistakes, as you are doing right now. Your daughter will love you for it down the road, even if she is angry with you now.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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