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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thirty Days of Truth - Day Four

So, just about anything has to be better than yesterday right?  Here we are at day four and the topic is:

Something you have to forgive someone for.

Wow, another long story I'm afraid, so here goes.

Quite a few years ago my husband and I were deeply involved in church.  The church we were going to was a small one and my husband felt called into the ministry.  We spent a year of our lives going to Roanoke, VA every month for a weekend to attend classes to get our credentials, studied hard and worked our butts off to make it through the class.

At the time we were serving as volunteer youth pastors at the church.  We had about 15 kids that we adored more than almost anything.  They loved us as well.  We took them all to Tennessee two different years for a huge event called Winterfest and we loved our ministry, our kids, our calling.  We named the group The Voice of Truth from lyrics from the band called Casting Crowns.

I won't go into a lot of details, but things started going wrong.  Kids confided in us and we were bound by their confidence to stay silent as long as the things they divulged weren't things that were a threat to the kids themselves or to anyone else.  Things like losing virginity, smoking, drinking, etc.  Parents started worrying about the bond that we were forging with their kids and some started causing problems for us.  I had parents trying to force me into telling them if their daughters were virgins or if their kids were sneaking out and drinking.  I kept my vow to the kids and refused to tell the parents.  My feeling was that I was in a position to help these kids and if they couldn't trust me, well, they wouldn't come to me any more.  I stand by that belief now as much as I did then no matter what the cost was or is.

At the time my daughter was about 12.  She wasn't allowed to participate in the youth group since she wasn't a teenager but we tried to make up by spending time doing things with her outside of the church setting.  Kitty has always been a great kid, as much then as now.  Her best friends also went to the church and some of them were involved in the series of events that followed.

In the end, there was a huge bout of nastiness and the parents that were involved lashed out at my daughter instead of bringing their hatred and jealousy to me directly.  There was a woman in particular, a woman of power in the church who should have been held to higher standards.  Should have been ashamed of herself for what she said and did to my daughter, but she wasn't.  She kept her stance and we ended up leaving the church, and my daughter?  Well, she pretty much had an emotional meltdown.

We tried another church after that and again there was a parent that undermined me and my family, based on her claim that "I'm the parent, you're not supposed to be closer to my child than I am."  It's odd really, because I'm not a huge fan of kids.  My daughter wouldn't have even been around were it not for an oopsie, but for some reason I have the ability to get close to teenagers.  Maybe because I'm not condescending or judgmental or maybe just because I listen and don't spout off a bunch of rules and lectures and such.  I thought I was doing the right thing, but in the end, it was my daughter and my husband who paid the price for it.

Those two "mothers" caused irreparable damage to my child.  Emotionally, mentally, spiritually.  She now thinks that it's okay to be treated badly because "role models" in her youth did it to her.  Same as yesterday I suppose, I know I should forgive them, maybe I have in some respect, but then again, maybe not.  And again, not sure I want to.  There is a reason they call me Mama Kitty, when it comes to my child, I'm no less fierce than one.


AubrieAnne said...

I have heard bits and piece of this story before and let me just tell you that it makes my blood boil! Children, especially teenagers need someone to confide in, especially when it comes to things that they are not ready to tell their parents. I think it is good to talk to your own parents, but at the same time, it is very ehalthy to have outside people to talk to as well.

Also, it was unbelievable cruel for them to target your own daughter. They would have damned anyone that had gone after their own child! It's unbelievable how many people do not imagine themselves in other peoples' shoes first before taking action.

In the end though, it is probably best to forgive them, not necessarily for their actions, but for their ignorance.

Form what I know of you, Donna, you are a wonderful person and no church momma is gonna change my opinion.

Moana_B said...

Oh my, Donna, what an experience. Blessings to you and especially your daughter, I hope she has healed from this experience. See, this is what cheeses me off. Like you, I am blessed to have a rapport with children, especially teens, and it's because of the qualities you mentioned above - not being judgemental, listening to them and treating them as equals. Becoming a parent doesn't mean you have to become threatening (or grow horns!). I like the way it works in my home. My kids have no fear in coming to me, nor do their friends. We all try to protect our children and I suppose it must be difficult for those mums who felt their children couldn't trust them - but hey, it's not like you were harming them. You were only being helpful and in turn, you earnt their respect. Bugger them, I say. Feel proud of yourself. Churchgoers - my foot. Can't cope with the hypocrisy. Christian born, I am, but me - Pagan.

DawnZhang said...

Forgiving is good. It helps me most of the time and yeah everybody needs someone to talk to, someone whom they trust or believe in. I talk to Moana and then everything seems alright again. It was mean of them to do that. Me as a teenager I break down very easily and go into depression and I'm sure that happens to every teenager. We are easily affected and when we do something we need someone to talk to. If we don't confide in our parents we talk to someone else we trust and know.

You are a wonderful person and as Aubrie said no church momma or no person could change my opinion about you. You are almost like my mother!!!

Eschelle said...

aahh so hard to forgive... i still can't do it all the time... ugh...

Katie said...

Donna there is nothing wrong with developing a bond with all of those kids. YOU did absolutely nothing wrong. What you said about gaining their trust is what could gave you a chance to help them is accurate. That's the problem now with children and the issues they come across. They can't talk to their parents because sadly the majority is quick to judge. I went through that myself. The parents were just jealous that they did not have the relationship, but they needed to try. I'm happy that you can forgive and move on. Be confident in you, continue being the extraordinary person you are!


JJ said...

I have worked a lot with teens. I have found they usually confide in adults when they can't confide in their own parents. They are lucky to find someone they can trust. This is a common problem in our country. Forgiveness is always good.

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