The Parable of the Sower hits me hard every time; especially reading this: “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. “
I know many moms who live with great faith. I can think of one mom who just lost her disabled daughter, while caring for this lovely girl mom never seemed to lose faith, never seemed to lose joy. Her journey as a mom was filled with struggles many of us will never know, but still for her the seed seemed to land on good ground.
For many of the moms with which I have journeyed the tribulations of motherhood can take precedence over God. Every family has problems: children dealing with illness, addiction, emotional issues, and our mothering seems to be on very rocky ground. We hear the word, we may even love the word, but then life comes crashing in on us like a freight train, and it’s all we can do to just hold on!
It’s a very different thing if it is just you are a hearer of the word as a “regular person”, someone who feels as if they are not responsible for the futures of other people: people they help God create. I think then it is much easy to stop listen and receive the word. So why is so difficult for us moms? Some moms, myself included, have “perfectionitis”, and it’s partner “controlisits”. I call it being blind, deaf, and mute to God. For those of us afflicted with “perfectionitis”, and it’s partner “controlisits” we become blind to God by only seeing the trouble, we believe we are the only ones to see the future and it is most often grim. We have a huge time trusting that that there is a positive future. Then we become deaf to God, we are so worried that we are deaf to anything he may be trying to say to us! Finally that leads us to being mute. We don’t speak to him and if we do it’s rare.
Spiritually we are like chickens with our heads cut off. Our emotional headlessness, if you will, comes because we are running around panicked; it may be justified that we are panicked for a while, but we have to stop, look and listen for resources, helps and guide. Spiritually headlessness is much different. The panic pushes the word/God out of us. As in the parable we can hear the word, even rejoice in it, but panic will not let it take root.
How many of us are guided by the Spirit? I know I wish I would feel freer to be so.
For me, being guided by the Spirit means that I spend a few minutes in the morning praying about my day. Doing the Morning Examen. I have often thought I was born 800 years too early. In the time, I live now being prayerful often gets you pegged as being a religious loon.
I know I am not alone. There are so many who are holding back simply because of a fear, a fear of being different, fear of being confident to be prayerful, dare I say religious. Please, my dear fellow moms I am not talking about someone sanctimonious! I have no interest in that. For me, it is letting spiritual aspect of my nature come to the fore much more than I allow it. I don’t want to preach on a street corner, or make people feel uncomfortable with me. Or appear like a stuffed shirt. No! Jesus was none of those. He enjoyed a good wine, a fine dinner with friends, hung out with the rowdy crowd. Geez, some of his inner circle were the rowdy bunch!
Jesus was no stuffed shirt, but you knew where he stood. He was very clear about who he was and what he was doing. He and His Father talked all the time.
Now, if I were living in the Middle Ages, going to Mass every day, being prayerful, setting life around a religious calendar would be the norm. There are times when I think I would love to be cloistered, but only for a little bit. So, maybe, for me this is a seeking of bring the aspects of monastic life that I love in balance with the life and family I love.
So, this week my dear fellow moms: May you be empowered by the Spirit to become who you are called to be.
I am feeling it’s time to begin to step back, to begin to pray for the Duggars. It is time to take stock of what we have learned/are learning/ will continue to learn.
One of my Fellow Moms wrote me on Facebook about a blog post I had written earlier that day: The Emperor was always naked: Duggar trauma. First, let me say why I chose that title for my blog post. The obvious is the reference to the children’s tale of the Emperor’s new clothes. The Emperor is a vain and imperious man, which is easily made gullible by two greedy “cloth merchant/tailors”.
First off, there is JimBob as the Emperor, thinking that he, chosen by God, can do no wrong and, therefore, is all wise enough to know when he is being conned. TLC, who are acting like the cloth merchant/tailor, having been lulled in by the Emperor’s story of ordained love and pure family, sees dollars signs. So the Emperor and TLC were conning each other.
What TLC never saw was the Emperor was always naked. He just hid his “sin” very well with a family dressed in the magic cloth of sanctimoniousness.
Now that we have spewed our bile, it is time to look back to see what it is God is calling us to do. The Fellow Mom I mentioned brings up a very important point: the girls.
Well said, Patty. [Refering toThe Emperor was always naked: Duggar trauma] I noted earlier today that I took a mild interest in them; more from the stand point of how does a family that largely do life? Natural curiosity. I have not, however, viewed them as “not Christian,” but what you say really made sense and gave me an “aha” moment. I suppose I never paid much attention to their religious vitriol because I knew they were more extreme. It’s sad; I do feel somewhat betrayed because despite the extreme views they have, I wanted to believe that their hearts were in the right place. But yeah, the reactions have been less than desired. I mean, the sisters? That’s incest, and old or New Testament, that is an issue not taken lightly. Forgiveness and healing is important, and I pray that the girls who were violated can find some peace somehow. But getting peace means they need to have a voice, and sadly like so many other abused women, their voices are being silenced.
The girls are being overlooked as we rain down all our frustration and righteous indignation on the Duggars. All of that will not be/is not/can not be helpful. Now comes the time to step back. Ask God, go to reconciliation, for all the unkind, unChristian thoughts we have had over the Duggars. For all the gleeful thoughts over their misfortune.
I have worked with many moms in crisis, with children sexually abused and know that the first response, after getting the abusing child in therapy, is to tend then to the abused victim. It is very disturbing that, from what I know, Michelle has not gotten counseling for those girls. As her daughters experience life, issues will come up for them many of them revolving around trust, and self-worth. For those who believe that self-worth is a code word for selfishness, consider what the Bible says about it.
We are all made in God’s image. God desires nothing more from us than to have a relationship with him. He has died for our sins, given us grace and mercy, and provided the Holy Spirit to advocate for us. All of this would not be done for someone worthless.
If they do not get counseling, and not the type that blames/shames the girls, but real Christian counseling that speaks of God’s Grace/Mercy and healing; these will girls may act out sexually. Their thinking being that they are created to be a boy’s/brother’s/man’s play thing because they are sinful, so, why not, what are they for anyway. Or they become sexually repressed, so fearful of that aspect of their life they can not become intimate with their husbands. Sex becomes a dirty duty instead of the God intended deep communication of love and trust. Both of which were destroyed by the molestation. And believe both were.
Let’s say the girls do marry and begin to have issues. If they turn to mom, and I have seen this happen as a social worker for Catholic Social Services; Mom is not going to want to hear it. Her reaction will be just to forget it’s over.
AND the most likely reaction from Mom, Michelle, is to forget it ever happened. This will silent those girls for a long time, perhaps a life time. And this code of silence is used by mothers who may have known or did know, as Michelle surely has, as a way to control the girls; to keep the facade that all is well/perfect. It is used by the abuser to protect themselves from being caught. It is the ultimate tool of control.
It is also the great soul killer. When you are forced to be silent, you are compelled
to deny what happened to you. The Duggar sisters would begin to think that “it” never happened. Or that “it” was their fault so be quiet, so no one hates you. As they deal with the aftermath of what their brother did to them: they lose all faith in man and God.
All in all not a very good scenario.
Social Media has been a buzz with the Duggars. Much of what I have read has been quite angry, and I think, in most part, that anger is well felt. There are the loyal fans who feel betrayed. Who feel as if they have been duped. They wonder if the message they saw as being projected by the Duggars was actually what was being preached.
On the other spectrum there are those of us, I count myself in this group, who never jumped on the Duggar bandwagon felt a sense of justice finally done. For myself from the beginning the Duggars made my skin crawl and when a commercial would come on I would demand that whoever had the remote MUST CHANGE THE CHANNEL NOW! I even prayed about why I felt so vehemently opposed to them, and what I received was the thought that they were “evil”.
Since the news of Josh Duggar has come to light each day, we learn more and more about the family. Each day there is more discussion. I wanted to try and to be as gentle as I could when addressing the subject, so I include a Facebook post and response between J.K and myself
J.K. Response to my original Facebook post: I don’t trust anyone who needs to keep telling people, “I’m a Christian.” I will know who you are by your behavior & your integrity. You will show me who you are …
My response to her: J. K., unfortunately, the Duggars were, have been, showing us all along who they are/were/will be. They were showing us by their actions/reactions the type of society they wish to build: one in which the old testament understanding of women as evil prevail. One in which men are deemed master over women, which explains why Josh is being revered almost praised for his actions, and the girls ignored.
For the Duggars, proclaiming they are Christian is saying to the rest of the world that they are marked for special favour in the eyes of the Lord while we are condemned. Their arrogance, though they will tell you they are humble people, really (?), do humble people exploit their children, life by being on TV as a self-proclaimed shining example of good Christian living, but as the Old Testament says: pride cometh before a fall.
We have seen weekly their behaviour and integrity. All of it based on the attitude of our cruel god is better than your forgiving, all merciful God. They have told us by their actions that we should repent and start living as they do. As for their integrity. Integrity is usually defined as admitting one’s fault and not shifting blame. Many would say Josh has done that, good for him. He has, but what of the girls? How are they being treated with integrity? Here is where another meaning can be explored. The Duggar world view of women bad, men, not just good but masterfully perfect, will have them demanding the girls forgive their brother and nothing more. In fact, we have learned that their parents believe the girls do not “need” counseling. Here the second part of the definition of doing the right thing is not expressed. They do not believe the girls need anything and from my work experience, they will be annoyed at the least and downright angry at most when the girls do show emotional/spiritual wounding.
Now on our part. We, right now are angry. Many loyal fans feel betrayed. Many, like myself who never jumped on the band wagon, feel, and here I am guilty, feel a sense of justice. We can now speak what we have known in our hearts: the emperor was naked all along.
But we should not be gleeful at their fall, for pride goeth before a fall.
We should pray and pray hard for them because many/all of us have skeletons in our closet.
From WordPress: related articles
10 Signs of Child Abuse
You can become aware of child abuse by recognizing the signs. Here are 10 signs that can help.
1. Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
2. Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
3. Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
4. Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
5. Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
6. Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
7. Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children’s injuries from authorities.
8. Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
9. Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
Some signs that a child is experiencing violence or abuse are more obvious than others. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities.
What Can You Do About Child Abuse?
If you suspect a child has been abused….
- Keep calm.
- Tell the child you believe them.
- Show interest and concern.
- Reassure and support the child.
Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency, or to your neighborhood police precinct.
Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers help more than 5,000 child victims of sexual and severe physical abuse each year. Learn more about our Child Advocacy Centers here.
Take the signs with you! Download the PDF
Return to our Child Abuse page.
“Josh’s parents, Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, also issued a joint statement, saying they hope that people who watch them on TV realize that ‘we are not a perfect family.’ USA Today“
Yes, Michelle, you are right, NO family is perfect. I sympathize with you. In our own family, we have had our own traumas. And if you ask me, I will tell you. It is no secret. I know that to discuss such things can be very painful. Michelle, I do not know you, but from my own experience and from working with moms in crisis, it is natural for you to feel great shame, guilt, and self-criticism. Michelle, I hope you know you are not alone. To tell your story is a way to help you heal. No one is asking for gory details but to hear from you could be a blessing.
This is your opportunity, in your very public forum, to have a frank and true discussion of how this affected your faith, changed your parenting, and how you journeyed with God and became a stronger wife, mother, priest of your home, prophet to your children and queen protecting your resources: your children. What you experienced and how you dealt with it will help so many other moms.
I feel for you, Michelle. I pray for you, Michelle. I know that when we experienced our trauma I felt as if the world had opened up and was trying to swallow my hubby and I whole. We did what needed to do to become stronger as a family. We did what we needed to do to not let the darkness come into our souls, and we did not hide; to hide is to allow the darkness to overcome you. It creates situations you do not want.
We all know families who are experiencing traumas. Good families. Faith-filled families. What is happening to the Duggars, to any family, is not God’s punishment. That flies in the face of a God of deep love. What this can be is a time of great discernment. It can be a time of great learning. It can be a time of great support. It is the time to allow the truth to set you free.