My kids. I love 'em, but they aren't perfect.
My kids are pretty good kids (if I do say so myself), but I'll be the first to tell you that they are not always good. They lie, cheat, steal, get angry, hit, are lazy, etc. etc. You get the idea. Usually my kids keep their bad behavior at home, out of public viewing. Then there are times when they make some pretty poor choices in a really public way.
This past year one of my kids went off the charts public, with facebook posts and blog posts regarding her decisions to disobey our rules and boundaries. She also shared some of the consequences of those choices and her feelings/opinions about them. Everyone who knew our family knew that one of the kids had done something wrong.
And then yesterday, another of my kids, in a very public way, was openly defiant. She flat out refused to comply, to the point of setting herself up ahead of time to be unable to comply. She fussed. She fumed. She glared. She cried. She muttered under her breath. Everyone who was watching knew that something was going on.
God has taken both those times and taught me something: Sometimes when your kid publicly misbehaves, makes a bad choice, gets caught in sin; sometimes it is the best thing to happen.
Let me explain by way of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Outsiders viewed my kids' bad behavior in a variety of different ways. Some had concern for the child, some had concern for me, some sided with the child and others with me. Some quietly gloated from a distance while others were not so quiet. And some even felt the need to inform me of how bad my kid was behaving (as if I were unaware of the situation).
And then there were those who came beside me. Encouraging me. Offering support, prayers, and kind words with a heavy dose of love and grace. Those friends are a gift of God and I do not take their friendship lightly. I am forever indebted to them.
There were others who were going through similar trials, who quietly pulled me aside and shared their situation with me. While I wish I didn't have the knowledge I now have in various ways to block cell phones and ipads, how to search computer histories, and which padlock is the best to prevent television access, I am thankful that through my experiences others can find what they need.
I am counting it all joy that God is using our situations to help others and that other moms feel comfortable asking me how I handled a particular situation. That would not have been the case if I had perpetuated the idea that our family doesn't have issues and that our kids are never in big trouble.
I am thankful for those who were brave to seek me out, to risk being bare-faced and vulnerable. God is using your situations to encourage me that this parenthood struggle is not all for naught! And someday, someone else may need your knowledge.
So, I want to encourage you! If your kids are out there and making bad decisions for all the world to see, take heart. God can use it for good! We don't always see how, but sometimes we get a glimpse. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.