You all know that I am such a fan of Lysa Terkheurst and her words of wisdom. My small group just started a study over “Uninvited”, one of my favorite books of hers. The book tells the story of the author’s own daily struggle with rejection and mom life. It seems that women are genetically predisposed to compete with each other; sit yourself down at any group of women, and there is one in every group (typically just online) who deems herself the Alpha guru of all. Her children always wear pants (Cole Keller’s particular struggle, he is my little hot pocket, he just now, at seven years old, will rush to go put clothes on if someone comes over), eat their vegetables and do everything she asks them to do the first time. I don’t know about you all, but I basically birthed a mini me version with the strongest personality attributes of his dad and me. Ay Ay Ay, he is a funny, sensitive, wild, loud, bull-headed ball of love, but we struggle on the daily with his obsession with watching other people play minecraft in their parents’ basement (he disagrees and says they all live in mansions and drive “lambos”) and refusing to ever try new foods. Mom life is all about balance so I simply pick my battles.
Cole’s school, the precious place where he has spent the happiest last three years, is closing at the end of the year, which means we are put in the kind of awkward position of picking the best school for him to attend. We are blessed to live life in a community where all of the schools are fantastic, but I have personally loved the two minute commute to Central for the last three years (because I am kind of a hot mess mom underneath the surface of it all). So, enter the heartwrenching open house tour. The amazing thing about small town life, is that I know so many wonderful teachers, parents and kiddos at each of the three schools. So, our daily prayer every morning while the car warms up (and the ice thaws, because a couple of weeks ago when it was 9 degrees, our bottle of de-icer froze, funny story, what the heck good is that?) is for God to place Cole in the school where he should be, in the school where he can learn the most, where he can do work for Him, through his kindness and compassion, and mostly his humor. He shames me pretty much every day with his forgiveness and kindness, we could learn a lot from our kids. If you think I am saying my kiddo is perfect, I can also tell you lots of stories where he is an angry gremlin, and tells me that he has the hardest life of anyone else in our family and I simply don’t understand. He typically tells me stuff like that after I ask him to put on his shoes and pants for the 14th time at 7:10 AM.
I say all of that to say, my daily struggle is with rejection. When God called me to start the beginnings of a strong single mama small group, He didn’t warn me that He would put me through the fire of testing my resolve to deal with my rejection demons. Whew. I will say I have always dealt with rejection, but never like this. A couple of times I even wanted to hang it up and quit even facilitating…wouldn’t that have made our great enemy so pleased? Enter the realm of social media and our school closing. I had to stand back and watch in horror as so many of my Central mama friends were torn apart on social media for showing the most human emotions of sadness over our school closing (and shock). The best tool I have in my counselor toolbox is validation. I talk to broken kids and parents (and teachers) every day who just want someone to say “I see you, I feel you. You’re going to be OK”, but I watched as they were told to sit down, shut up, and get over it. Sadly, I saw that happen to them by other people I thought were kind, compassionate folks (talk about needing to monitor what you say to people and how you say it). All people really had to say was that they were sorry, they see how upset we all were, and how they would pray for the best placement for our kiddos in their new schools. So many kind people did say that, but some did NOT. It was a hurricane.
In going to these Open Houses the hardest part of the process is tucking that hidden rejection away. “Oh, those PTO moms didn’t even greet me. They must not want me at their school” -said by yours truly, yesterday. Don’t you know that God sits back and shakes his head at me every single day? Upon thinking about it again, I think those mamas were probably stinking shell-shocked too from having a January open house, where the dynamic of their school is changing dramatically too.
Session one of Uninvited is all about Living Loved, about maybe putting other peoples’ feelings first, and not thinking that everyone is out to get you, and that they probably have a unique perspective too (that maybe includes lots of emotions). How will you live loved this week? How will you put those old rejections aside, and focus on today and the happy direction of your life and your kids’ lives? Get out there and enjoy the sunshine today with your kids and furry kids.
*My disclaimer for taking other peoples’ feelings also into account is that just because someone has past hurts does not mean that they have permission to hurt you and your children over and over again. You are not a doormat, and No is a complete sentence.