Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My kid got called names today at school.


I teach at the school my son attends, and this year, I teach first grade, which he is also in, so I see him quite a bit at lunch and at recess and sometimes in the hallway. Today, while on break, I saw Wes walking down the hallway. He didn’t seem himself, so I asked him if he was okay. His response was to simply bury his head in my chest. I asked his teacher if I could have him for 5 minutes, she agreed. (Let me insert here how much I LOVE his teacher.) I took him to the teacher’s lounge where we continued to have a conversation.

Me: What is bothering you?
Wes: A couple kids called me 'slow' during tag today at recess and one called me a 'loser'.

Mama bear isn’t quite the picture you should envision. It’s more like, the 5 foot tall girl who suddenly feels 8 feet tall, weighing in at 270, with a blood pressure of 190/150. Like, I know I have on these expensive 3 inch heels, and I’m in a lovely, tailored pencil skirt, with my fake Kendra Scott earrings on, but I can 'mama bear' with the best of them. I (for real) don’t even care that smoke is comin’ out of my nose right now. I will handle this situation RIGHT NOW.   

I arrowed up a quick prayer.

Then I took a long, (veeeerrrrrryyyyy loooooonnnngggg) deep breath and I said, “The most important thing about this situation is…what did you do?”

Wes: I told him to stop.
Me: And then what happened?
Wes: He stopped.
Me: What a strong man you are. You stood up and told him to stop and he did. You handled it. God gave you the words to say and you used them. That is what a man of valor does.

He smiled a tiny smile, but his shoulders were still slumped.

Wes: Thanks mom.

Here’s the harder part. In all truthfulness, I need to tell you that Wes isn’t fast, at all. He actually loses most races that he runs. I mean, he will never be an Eric Liddell. I had to really think about what to say at this point. Here’s what came out.

Me: Wes, you’re not the fastest runner and that is okay. You can tell that boy, “Hey, stop it. I’m not the fastest runner, but I can still play hard.” And you can. You can play your heart out. You can. That is what you can say next time. 

Wes: Okay mom. 

Me: And also Wes, it is very important for you to forgive him. We all mess up sometimes, you and me included. You know how we talk about our own sin and how we make mistakes? We forgive each other and it is very important that we forgive others too. That is exactly what Jesus did for us.

And then while choking back my own tears, (and maybe still choking on some choice words for that kid)...

Me: And you’re not a loser. God doesn’t create losers. And I love you. A whole lot. 

Wes: Thanks mom. I love you too.

Wes went back to class.

Here’s the worst news in the world.

I CAN’T CHANGE THE OTHER KID.  (I mean, I could. I can do amazing things with some good, high blood pressure.)

Here’s the best news in the world:

I CAN TEACH MY KID.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Blah blah blah. I don’t think James had any kids. That’s fine for me to have trials, but don’t give my kid any. OKAY???? Hey, you little kid that called my son a loser, you better not provide any trials for my kid because…ooops, okay, sorry, I’m back. Jesus. Yes, trials. Trials for my kid. Jesus allows trials. Ugh. They are SO HARD sometimes. 

I tried to re-read the passage like this:

Dear Lauren,

Count it all joy, Lauren, when Wes meets trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of his faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that Wes may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Love, Jesus

I desperately want to raise a MAN. I want Wes to be a godly, righteous man whose faith produces steadfastness.  I want that steadfastness to have its FULL EFFECT.  I figure now is the time to learn it. Right now. Today. Sitting at the lounge table at school with his head hanging low, tears forming in his little, brown eyes.  Right now is the time to say, “God will show you how to handle this if it happens again. You can’t change him, but you can do the right thing. And if that kid ever says something ugly to someone else, you do the right thing. Learn from this. You stand up and speak up for anyone that might be on the receiving end of the “loser” comments. This is really hard right now for you, but this hard stuff will help you to stand up for others if this happens to them. Be Jesus, Wes. Be holy. Be strong. Be a warrior. Be a MAN." 



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Read with caution.


There are some things that aren’t proper to write about and some you should certainly never post. This is one of those posts, so if you think you should stop reading here, please do so. It will not be deemed appropriate by most.

If you’ve ever had a son, I’m pretty sure you’ll “get me” on this one.

On Wednesdays, at my Christian school, the faculty meets early for devotional time. They provide childcare for our children, so my son always goes to the library to play with his friends for 15-20 minutes while I am in devotional time with my staff.  Hallelujah!

This specific Wednesday, after the ending prayer, I headed to the library to pick Wes up. As I walk in to the library, the lady taking care of the children gives me, uh huh, THE EYE. You know the one. The eye where she non-verbally lets you know she needs to talk to you. (I know this particular non-verbal communication well.) The range of feelings that come after “the look” vary, but most involve sheer terror of …“Oh great. What in the world did he do? Will we be calling a parent? Will I need to give him a spanking? (Because everyone knows I have a wooden spoon on me at all times. Like, does the sun even rise every day?)

As I follow her gaze, her eyes lure me over to a quiet place in the library where we can talk “alone”. Dear Lord in the heavenly places! What in tarnation would warrant one of the oh-so-feared QUIET talks? I mean, let’s be real, you know it must be bad when you have to CIA your way into a discreet nook of the children’s library to find out what crime your kid committed. (Insert heart pounding, labored breathing, nausea and the onset of physical panic at this moment.)

She then proceeds to tell me the following:

My 6 year old had some toy out and was swinging it around his head like a lasso as high and as wide as he could. (No shocker here. I’m still thinking this is mild play at this point.) Mrs. P. tells me that she politely heads over towards his direction to make sure there is nothing dangerous going on, which let’s be honest, danger is usually the most likely explanation. (I must thank Mrs. P. at this point. She is wasting no time trying to save other children from any madness that might go down in the near future. Thank you Mrs. P.!) At this time of the story, she changes her face a bit as she begins the next statement. I see a slight crease in her mouth as if she is actually hiding a smile and maybe even a few small giggles. Hmmmm, I’m not quite sure how to respond, so my expression stays anxious. She continues and says that she kindly asks Wes, “What ya got there?”

Here’s where we hit the tripwire. 

He replies, “Oh it’s just a tampon.”

WHAT???????????????????

Oh yes. That is exactly what he said. And that is exactly what he had.

She asked him where he got it and he continued to tell her how he found one wrapped up in my bathroom, so he just tore it open and silently put it in his pocket, so he could play with his “whip” in the library today since we had devotions.

For. The. Love.

If there was one thing in the world I assumed would NOT be used for a weapon…but nope. Not a chance Lauren. Not a chance.  It is an innate genius with boys. They all have this implausible flair for making every single item they unearth into some piece of destruction. Today, it was my tampon.

And that was our Wednesday. Here’s to you and yours!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Kids Don’t Believe in Coincidences


Kids don’t believe in coincidences and I have to admit, I love that about them. The Bible talks about having a “child-like” faith. I am in a room with sixteen 6 year-olds for 8 hours every day and I can tell you right now that I understand why God said that. They don’t believe in coincidences. Coincidences don’t exist when it comes to children and their God. They wholeheartedly believe in their prayers and in God’s ability to answer those prayers. 

Today was the first field trip of the year. Woohoo! Field trips are when some of the best memories are made in school! Bus rides, sweaty, red-faced children, picnics and parents. It is always a fun day! We were signed up to go to Mainstay Farms in Cleburne, TX, about an hour away.
As teachers, we were keeping a watch on the weather. The forecast kept calling for scattered rain/mist on our field trip today, so yesterday at school, we prayed out loud as a class and asked God to keep the rain away until after our field trip. This morning on my drive to school, all I saw were gloomy clouds swelling around above us. When I walked in, the kids began asking, “What if it rains? What will we do? Can we still go?” We stopped and before getting on the bus, we prayed again. Well…what do you know… the rain stopped. The dark clouds spread and the sun shined down on us and even better, a group of white clouds moved in to give us some nice, cool, shade.

Some adults (me included at times) might pawn this off and assume it was just “by chance” that it quit raining, but not my first graders. For them, it was certainly because we prayed. They wholeheartedly believe that the Lord took His hands and held that rain back until the end of the day so that we could enjoy time in His creation on the farm. That's it. It's that simple for them. We prayed and God answered "yes" to our request. They know it. The end. I’m pretty sure God smiles down on my little people quite regularly for their faith.

While I am their teacher and I do hope and pray they learn from me, God often reminds me to learn from them…Today I’m going to know and believe that God heard our prayers and did indeed, stop the rain for us.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A ring update!

Quick disclaimer: Names have been changed in this piece to protect the innocent. 😉

So my ring!!!!!

I’ve been wearing my ring to school, to run errands, to church, anywhere I go, I’ve worn that lovely ring loudly and proudly, including all day today.

There is quite an interesting update to this story though… Just one week after receiving my precious jewel, Wesley again entered my classroom with his face a bit blushed. He came trotting over to my desk with a new ring in his hand. It was light pink this time, heart shaped with the same beautiful silver lining. Once more, this was purchased with his own money that he earned in his classroom. As he placed it down on my desk, I put my arms around him and he whispered in my ear, “Hey mom. This is for Jen.” 

EEEERRRRRRRTTTTT. What?!?!?!?


Oh yes. This was for a sweet, little-miss in my classroom! Let me say that again...He purchased that pink, heart-shaped ring for a young lady in my class! I wasn’t sure what to do, so I simply walked him over to said young lady and he (a bit shyly, well, as shy as Wes can be) handed it to her. She smiled and placed it on her finger. I admit that I felt a twinge of pride that she decided to wear it. Bless her kind, kind soul for that small, but oh so big moment. She will never know what that did for my heart.

As he began to walk away, he quickly turned back around to her and said, “Oh, and it’s just because we’re friends.” She smiled again and went back to work and he went back to class.

And that was that.

His first real gift to me and his first real gift to a girl all in 7 short days…what a week! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Ring


The THEN: 
For a while now, anytime a birthday has approached or Christmas time has come, my mom has taken Wes out, just the two of them, to buy a present for me. She has found though that she has had to gently guide him in his purchasing decisions because he tends to want to buy me weapons or super hero figurines. My mom would ask, “Do you really think your mom would like this?” “Oohhhhhh yes, I know she would” would be his reply. Privately, she would laugh a little about it and then she would sweetly steer him towards something different. He would always decide later that the gift that he and my mom picked out was a good one and he would be satisfied. 

The NOW:

Friday, August 25, 2:45 pm

I had just dropped my kids off at music class and had sat down in my desk chair to work on a few lesson plans. The door pops open and in walks Wesley from his classroom next door. He has this half smile on his face and walks towards me while holding his hands behind his back as if he is hiding something. I pretend to not notice. I figure he is about to show me some writing work he has just completed. 

“Hey man, whatcha doing?”

“Weeelll, hey mom. So, I wanted to come over here because I went to the ticket store in Mrs. Stewart’s room just now.”

The students in Mrs. Stewart’s 1st grade class receive tickets for reading extra minutes during the week and then they get to spend their tickets at the store on Fridays to purchase small items.

“You did? Well, that is so much fun!”

“Yes and I had 20 tickets to use. I spent 10 tickets on a light saber sword for me and then I spent the other 10 tickets on this for you.” 





The English language, well wait, let me rephrase that beginning. There isn’t a single language ever created in all the world that has a powerful enough word that would accurately describe my feelings in this moment. This is the first time my little man has earned his own “money” and then also purchased me a gift straight from his own heart. And this gift…it was not the gift of a superhero or a nerf gun or a star wars replica of the millennium falcon, but something he knew I would really love…a beautiful, sparkly, lovely made,  ring. This ring, oh this ring, it has a bright pink jewel surrounded by a beautiful silver base with details along the edge. It only fits on my pinky, but I wear that ring more proudly than I’ve ever worn any piece of jewelry from any guy in my life. My dad and my son, the two men that will always have my love.

As he walked back to his class room, I could still see how proud he was that I was so in love with this new piece of jewelry (that I will never, ever, ever, ever take off.)  Right before leaving he said,

“And mom, can you show all your students what I bought you?”

“I will show it and I will shout it from the rooftop Wes. I love you.”

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Invisible War


“Hey boys, there he is…our target, our sole objective, our one goal. Such a fresh ambiance surrounds him, already bent towards evil since birth. Evil. Yes, say it again…evil. Make sure we give his dad an extra superficial peace today convincing him that he is doing the right thing. Look at that little guy. He’ll look beautiful in the underworld.  We can plan to bring him anguish for all eternity. That’s right dad, drive on toward the Jehovah’s Witness cult meeting and take your son into the darkness where you both belong. You’ve been doing this for the last year and half, keep it up. Keep it up. Hold his sweet, small hand as he walks into the concentrated blackness of our father’s work. Hi there, Wes. Welcome.”

And she kneels…

Boys, wake up and pay attention.  She just knelt…again. It is certain the warriors are on their way, so gear up.

Men, she is crying out…She is pleading for our might, our help, our strength. Make ready. The King of Warriors has commanded us to guard her son. The vile beasts surrounding young Wesley are venomous and are determined to fight us. Light the protective flames within your eyes. Let the fire burn at full potency. We will scorch their atmosphere with purity in our vision.  Your shield is required so put on your garments filled with blinding lightening. We will use it as a safeguard. It is solid and indestructible.  Put on your beryl colored breastplate. When they thrust their poisonous blows, your breastplate will remain impassable. Take the sharpened sword from your belt and have it inclined toward the disorganized hostility you are soon to encounter. Add on your burnished bronze leg plates, as we will need our steps to be fixed, strong, and precisely treaded today. It is time for battle once more.

Men…Protect. Defend. Guard. Keep. Uphold.

Fight. Battle. Combat. War.

She has obediently cried out. We will be vehemently ferocious. HE has commanded this fight and HE will not fail her.

Now, DESCEND.


They have arrived. Do not look at them directly. Their light will render you sightless for bits of time and you will be thrown off your course. Keep your weapons near you at all times. Their armor is impenetrable so don’t waste your time trying to pierce it. If you think they are going to speak, shut down your hearing. Their voices are like the roar of an uncompromising multitude. It is even more remarkably deafening when they are shielding a soul for future redemption. Hold on tightly to something near you until it is over. We cannot beat them when prayers are being invoked. Our only hope is to try and hold them off for a while and we will hold them off. Do whatever is required to keep our opponents from Wesley for as long as possible. Wes’s father has summoned us to this time and we will not give it up easily.

Chest out, boys. We will keep them at bay. We MUST have this child. Wickedness is not just our desire. It is our obligation to the creator of evil.  


Men, we have arrived. We can already feel the weightiness of the corruption inside this building filled with this toxic assembly. Do not fear. Today, we are being drawn in response to Wesley’s mother’s desperate pleas. Therefore, our only intention is the soul of Wesley. When we enter the enemy’s kingdom hall, you will be violently besieged. Barrel through the crowded room together with your supernatural vigor. Fight off every spirit you see. Move forward despite any harm you receive. Once you reach Wes, join his appointed angel in the struggle. Nicholas, place yourself in front of him. Protect the young man’s eyes. Let him see the darkness in this place. Let him see the gloom of the people all around him and then replace those pictures with visions of Truth. Show him pictures of our Father and His church. Show him Truth’s design. Remind him that this design is what he was intended for, not the one he is currently in. Matthew, place yourself over his ears. Cover them, so that no language of the enemy, not one word, would be able to enter his ear. His mother has read him our Father’s word every day of his life. As he sits in this depravity, speak softly within his ears the messages sent from our Father.  These words have already begun to take root in his heart and our speaking them will strengthen his belief. Josiah, stand behind him. Let none of our oppressors reach his mind. Keep the spirits of anxiety, worry, fear, hurt, doubt, anger, or bitterness, out of his mind. Replace those thoughts with hope, assurance, salvation and righteousness. If you run into trouble and are battling in an unusually rough spot, simply repeat the name that is always above all names, El Shaddai, for he will be our might in this conflict.

Men, let no piece of young Wesley be seen by the tormentors. Shine with excruciating brightness, blind the room. Hold together so that none of the tyrants can reach him.  You will be worn out. Keep fighting. If you are hurt, keep standing.  A soul is at stake and a mother is praying. Our vigilance has been demanded by the Father. We will not lose.

Now, go… and I will see you after the victory.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wesley and Joseph


I’ve said before that I really believe God gives us small moments in order to remember His promises. Yes, I also believe in miracles, but in my own life, I have experienced the quiet whisper much more than the parting of any seas.

I’ve written before that Wes has been having to go door to door each Saturday and then to Jehovah’s Witnesses meetings each Sunday for several hours. Even as I write this, I am sitting in Colorado Springs among gorgeous mountains in a tiny wooden cabin. The air smells refreshingly different, the trees stand a little taller and I find myself appreciating God’s desire to change things up in various parts of the world. I love this place, but even as I write this, prepared to be home on Thursday…Wesley’s dad has already told me that Wes will be spending his whole weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at a Jehovah’s Witness Assembly. Granted, his dad only gets the day time hours so I will see Wes each evening, but that means less play time, less time outside and most importantly, no church this weekend. It can leave a mom disheartened and distraught, filled with fear… All things I have mentioned before. They don’t go away, even a year and half into this, it hasn’t gotten even one ounce easier to watch him walk off into a kingdom hall surrounded by people who are adamantly trying to teach the opposite of Truth.

About 2 months ago, I had dinner with my sister in law, Courtney. I had voiced some of my apprehensions in casual conversation and she called to tell me that as she had read her Bible that night, God had brought a story to her mind about Wes.

Joseph.

He was young, 17 years old. His own family betrayed him. The brothers he grew up with, the men he loved and looked up to, the men he had probably laughed with on multiple occasions had become so angry with him that they wanted him gone. They didn’t just need a day off, they wanted him totally removed from the family. So, they sold him. Sold him. SOLD. To be a slave. A SLAVE. As he rode off from his land as a slave in a new land, I’m sure he felt abandoned. Alone. Completely alone. This new country was foreign. He knew no faces and had no friends. He didn’t even speak the same language as the men around him.  Yet, as the story continues we see Joseph, not as an older man with much experience, but as a young man with little experience, emerge. When temptation is thrown at him unabashedly, he refuses with strength beyond his years. When he is in jail, he continues to love and praise the Lord. His faith isn’t wavered. Promises from a cupbearer to remember Joseph's gifts of dream interpretation when he returns to the palace are quickly forgotten. His forgiveness overwhelms any bitterness that might have tried to grip his spirit. He is honored by the king and he stays humble, stays righteous, and eventually rescues his whole family from a famine, forgiveness flowing freely. Joseph. He is a godly older man, but he started out as a godly young man. He never forgot his Messiah.

No, my kid hasn't been sold and no, he hasn't been in jail. My kid is 6.  But for some reason, God has allowed Wes, for this time, to be inside a very dark world. He is surrounded by a “country” he doesn’t know. The main language spoken is Spanish, which he doesn’t understand and he is completely alone in his small knowledge of Truth. Not one other person knows the Lord in this community that he is quickly getting to know. In fact they make an adamant stand against the Savior that he knows as Jesus.

I began talking to Wesley about this story. Through the tears of not wanting to go to field service or to the meetings, we would talk about Joseph’s strength, how he was alone too, how he was the only one in a really dark world, but he stood firm, he resisted evil, he forgave and he always remembered his God. We talked about the similarities between Joseph’s situation and his own. We also talked about how it probably wasn’t fun for Joseph to be in jail or to be in a dark world all alone, but God allowed it, so just like Joseph remembered and trusted God, we will too. We will trust that God is working in this awful situation and we will at some point, see victory rise up within the valley.

These talks had been going on all through out the day. He always seemed to listen, but I wasn’t sure what was sinking in.

Then one morning, I wasn’t feeling the promise of the Word in my heart. I was way down in my flesh. Like, way down. His dad arrived to pick him up. I was angry, fearful, worn out, and tired of watching my kid have to do this. I didn’t have it in me to be nice…so I wasn’t. I was saying goodbye to Wes and his dad said, “Come on Wes, we are going to be late to the meeting.” That was it. That one small phrase wrecked my already distressed spirit. There was nothing that could cover my frustration. I snapped, “Are you freaking serious? This is so ridiculous that you keep taking my kid to that place. It’s awful. This whole thing is awful. ” Wes looked over at me a bit taken back. I looked at him with a few small tears in my eyes. I don’t know if he saw them. I sat down with fury stretched across my face. He walked back over to me, hugged me and then in a soft voice so that his dad wouldn’t hear, he whispered, “Don’t worry mom. I’ll be Joseph.”

I hugged him tighter.

He left.

I prayed.

I prayed that he would indeed remember all we had talked about. Let him remember who he is and Who he belongs to. Let him remember Truth. Let him remember Your promises.  In this darkness, let him remember You. Let him be the one small light that shines radiantly among the shadows of evil he is having to walk through at the tender age of six. Let me remember this moment… A moment that You have graciously given me that reminds me You are always in this with us. Thank you.

My kid got called names today at school.

I teach at the school my son attends, and this year, I teach first grade, which he is also in, so I see him quite a bit at lunch an...