Saturday, June 6, 2015

I Got it From My Mama (And Daddy)

This week I did something I have never done before. I went to camp as a counselor for 8th grade girls. It was the most incredible, most difficult, most anointed time I have experienced in my life outside of the 6 months I spent at Mercy.
Before I left, I had the honor of my sweet homeschooler asking me to be her "camp mama." I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was something I was supposed to do. And I was terrified.

 I don't know how well you know my mama, but she's incredible. She speaks the truth in love, she is STRONG, and our relationship is the best it has EVER been. And my daddy is fantastic, loving, gentle, firm...

 But, I was a tough kid, with hard memories, heartbreak, and trust issues.
And this girl is my favorite, but she does too. And I didn't know if I could be a mama, even for a week.
Boarding the bus I was queasy, jittery, prayerful and concerned. And I had NO idea what the week ahead would hold.

This week I held her while she cried, I rode a swing that was CRAZY high off the ground (even though I didn't want to at first)  I gave medicine and hugs and listened when she talked. And occasionally, I disciplined. Each time I did one of these things I saw her heart... and mine just broke. Because I remembered another little girl who wanted hugs but didn't know how to give them, wanted love but didn't know how to receive it, and wanted stability but didn't trust it.

And in each of these situations, I kept thinking about the Jesus I saw in my parents. I kept praying about how they raised me, and in those prayers I knew what to do. It was both simple and insanely complicated. "Never give up. Keep loving the ugly parts." And let me tell you, as a kid, I had some hideous parts. But my parents would always hold me even when I was stiff, love me even when I faced consequences for my actions, and sometimes we would cry together because neither of us knew what to do
So that's what I did. I loved her even when my heart was breaking, held her when I didn't know what else to do, and we cried together because sometimes life just isn't fair. My nieces awakened the "mama" dream in me, but my homeschooler? She showed me what it is to love those kids who need it most, and who trust their experiences which tell them they are not worthy of love  more than they trust Jesus...those kids like me.

And I have never been more thankful for my parents. I guess I wanted to write this post for all the parents who feel like their kids will never see the other side. Those kids who push you away with one hand, and hug you with the other, who tell you they hate you and then cry themselves to sleep because they hate themselves more, those kids who have such tender and incredible hearts when they finally start to share them, those kids who tell you they love you, and it is that very love that causes such traumatizing fear because human love isn't perfect.

For those parents, from one who was (sometimes still is) a tough child, thank you. Thank you for loving the ugly, for never giving up, and for mirroring Jesus the best you know how. Someday your kids will be thankful, someday they will hold you close to their hearts and regret having ever pushed you away. Someday they will tell you they love you and you will have no doubt they mean it. Someday, you will cry together tears of joy not of sadness, but until that day comes, let me be the one to say, thank you, for loving the ugly ones. Someday the story will be beautiful.

And as I became "mama" this week so many people thanked me for doing so well with my loved beyond knowledge homeschooler, all I could think is I got this parenting heart from my mama and daddy. And the love inside it? That's straight from Jesus. Because He always loves ugly. I have never been more thankful for my mama, and more honored and excited to be one, even if it was only for camp.

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