Over the last few days I have read countless blogs about Miley Cyrus and how we were all sexually violated by her performance at the VMA's. If you didn't catch it, just know that there was a stripper-like, self-deprecating display of hip movement and horrible singing in front of millions of viewers, and Jesus.
Writers of blogs from every genre are talking about how surprising her behavior was. And Christian bloggers have taken it upon themselves to personally offer her some sort of official grace and forgiveness on behalf of all of us, while sharing their genuine concern about the condition of her heart.
Was her performance disturbing? YES. Surprising? NO.
Come on people. It's YOUR fault. It's OUR fault. We did this to her. The American people. The society who cares only about themselves and the wants of their children. We did this!
We bought the Hannah Montana wigs. We purchased the $200 concert tickets for our seven year olds. We told her by our actions, and by allowing our kids to idolize her that her value was found in what she did and not who she was. We have even told her that she can sing. And we ALL know that's not the truth.
We are a selfish people who love to exploit the lives off others. Our first world, spoiled curiosity enables paparazzi to shamelessly follow every movement of every star. We buy the magazines. We listen to the E! reporters. We watch the VMAs.
This is a sad, silent epidemic. As adults, we allow behavior, and dare I say encourage certain behavior, in children whether they are stars or not. And when these kids act out, or have dysfunctional lives, or sadly commit suicide, we want to blame everything and everyone else but ourselves.
But it's our fault. We raise children to believe they are infinite. We raise children to believe their actions have no life-long or eternal consequences. Our children live without boundaries, with the freedom to make too many of their own decisions without the knowledge or the maturity to handle the outcomes. We want our kids to be happy. And because of that, young people commit suicide, teenagers hate themselves, young men think that true power is in sex and money and young girls think love is found in relationship with any boy who has money and wants to have sex. Because of that, Miley Cyrus…
and Brittany Spears
and Heath Ledger
and Lee Thompson Young
and Cory Monteith
and Amanda Bynes
and River Phoenix
and all the kids who attend your child's school, and fill the rooms of your children's ministry and show up for Youth Night. And that kid who skateboards on the sidewalk with his headphones on. And that kid who throws a crazy tantrum at the restaurant when you are trying to eat in peace. And that kid you tuck in at night.
They all need us. They need us to be more. They need us to do more than passively sit by and be entertained by their pain. They need us to stop waiting for them to destroy their lives so we can offer grace and forgiveness. They need us to show them love through justice and a standard to be accountable to as they go and as they grow. They need more than what we are giving them.
So when you talk about Miley, or read tweets about her, or consider her, consider yourself and how YOU need to change–not her.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world -Mahatma Gandhi
Today was wonderful. It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner. I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful. All day today was about mothers.
I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with. (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!) Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom. I know, I am a mom.
Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me. Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything. My husband works long, crazy hours. My kids are –well, they are kids. I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that. (yah, right! My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me. This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….
At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement. That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled. I deserved it. Damn it, I earned it!
In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family. I love taking care of my family. In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things. Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post. Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything. I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to. Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do? Absolutely. But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me. And I want it everyday. Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.
Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything. It’s a day to do a heart-check.
Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?
Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it?
Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives?
Love God first, everything will come easier!
You are loved,
Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:
“Mom, I have a headache.”
“Do you need me to come get you?”
“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”
“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”
Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:
“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “
And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:
“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”
So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.
But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:
“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1
Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:
“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.
But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.
When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.
What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?
What is your worst day ever with your kids?
Share with me!
I grew up in the Lutheran Church. Lutheran’s are a lot like Catholics. We didn’t kneel, and we didn’t stand up quite as much. But there were hymnals to sing out of , and pews to sit in. My brother and I sat together in a sibling unity, like it was us against the church body.
I traveled back in time on Saturday night. We decided to visit a church where I could be anonymous. Not many churches have Saturday night services any longer, so I picked one that had a great website, agreeable Faith Statements and seemed legit.
What I didn’t know is that it was Charismatic.
And to echo my earlier sentiments: Nothing brings two brother’s closer than a 3 hour long Charismatic church service. The boys sat in front of Michael and me, playing hand games, whispering and giggling. It was them versus the church body.
It seems this world is so intentional about catering to the needs of every child, separating every child by their appropriate age, giving them each their own stores, their own ministries, their own nights, their own, their own, their own…
Saturday reminded me how we are robbing our kids from childhood experiences that bond siblings with each other. I’m wondering if this catering to our kids thing hasn’t totally affected our parenting and the increase of sibling rivalry.
Michael and I talk of times we were BFF”s with our siblings, and we had the opportunity to gain that relationship because we were raised in families where the circumstances forced kids to stand in unison against their parents, and the rest of the world for that matter.
If you ever have the time, take your kids places where they are forced to bond and you are seen as the bad guy. I think it’s an old military tactic, but I can assure you that it works.
Tolerance. This is the buzzword that looms and makes my job so much harder. We are living in a world of gray that refuses to accept a standard and allows whatever feels right, looks right, seems right, without regard for any such thing as absolute truth. I would say the lines are getting fuzzy, but it seems lines no longer exist.
This is particularly true in regards to male and female. I remember the year I bought Cody a baby doll for Christmas. He would be as mortified at you knowing this as much my husband was that I encouraged it. He wanted a baby, he wanted to be a dad. THAT I could not discourage. So I bought him a doll, and he played daddy with it for about two minutes and then the thrill was gone.
He didn’t want the doll because he wanted to be a girl, he wanted the doll because he wanted to explore the role of a dad, the role of being a man. But now, things have changed….
Now, our world is promoting genderless-ness. As if there are no innate differences in how we were created. But we ARE different. Scientists don’t disagree–well at least I don’t think they do. I am pretty sure they can tell you all the differences between our anatomy and physiology. And the differences would be clearly defined, no fuzzy lines. Boys have these parts, girls have those. Boys have this kind of hormone, girls have allllll of these kinds of hormones. It’s true. It’s absolute.
In the Bible, our gender differences are absolute. Men-work. Women-have babies. Really, it says that. It also says that God created us in whichever way he created us– either as a woman or man. He never makes a mistake. He never says, “oops, I accidently put a woman in a man’s body or vice versa.”
So now that I’ve covered Science AND the Bible: why is our world okay with removing the boundaries that clearly define the differences between male and female? And more so, why is it shameful to be accepting of our genders as beautiful & exciting, part of a bigger vision that is unfathomable?
I read an article this morning about a son we “refused” (that’s a whole other article) to wear anything but dresses, so his dad decided to wear dresses with him. I read a children’s book that encourages demasculation by referring to her son as a princess boy. I’ve seen young girls so terribly ashamed of their bodies and being feminine that they pile on layers and layers of clothes to cover themselves, I had a 9 year old girl so ashamed of herself that she changed her name to something that “sounded like a boy” so no one would know she was a girl.
Parents–STOP. I implore you. Instead of erasing the lines that clearly define us as humans created beautifully, with complexity and purpose, encourage your boys to embrace their roles as leaders and warriors, fighting for what they believe in and rolling up their sleeves to get the work done. Show your girls the beauty within themselves without having to use their bodies to gain approval or hide their bodies in utter shame. Allow both of them to see how their genders contribute to the workings of this system we call humanity. Please, let your boys be boys and your girls be girls. You will be sorry if you don’t.