|Photo of J. Stahl by A. Stahl, 2013|
As summer comes our way, we're transitioning to the point that we have former kindergarteners going to first grade come end of August, and summer break is almost upon us at kindergarten. A couple Sundays ago, the children had a special service at the local Catholic church, and our children had a song to sing for those who would come. (Only one of the boys got up to sing, but that's ok!)
Our cherry tree and Currant bushes ripened and I'd been busy canning.
Wheat, Barley and Rye harvest times are almost upon us. I'm dreading it so very much due to my Celiac. It does make things difficult, such as going out to enjoy a ride in the country on a bicycle. I have to avoid the fields until the crops have been processed and the straw has been rolled.
I had a bad reaction to a few packages I signed for, and our neighbors spreading gluten around on their level and the lowest level of our common hallway. Between itchiness, well, the insides of my hands are just unsightly until they heal.
Mosquitos have begun to come out in full force, so I have to be very careful what times of day I go outside, as apparently I'm quite attractive to them. Normally attractiveness is not something that someone would whine about, but this is particularly an unfortunate experience when you go out picking fruit and come back with many mosquito bites that become welts.
Due to the fact that it is almost summer, or is summer already in most of the Northern Hemisphere, the modesty posts have been coming out in droves. I've been reading a lot and commenting little. Honestly, all the purity culture/rape culture/modesty culture things are quite triggering for me and I'm having a lot of trouble processing all of it. Partly due to my size, partly due to the extreme fundamentalism I was raised in and how that has affected me when it comes to this type of living.
Basically it boils down to:
- The only way to win is to be male.
But, there have been, in the midst of the crazy, some absolutely wonderful articles explaining my exact issue in better words than I can due to how much I've been impacted by this.
On top of that, there's been some really icky parenting thoughts being spread on twitter and facebook and I've been triggered quite horribly. I've been spiraling as a result of these things, and it didn't help that I've been sick for most of this week either.
It is terrifying to me that anyone would want to teach their children that they are broken or unworthy, or that their needs are not required to be responded to right away. Or worse yet, that they are a convenience or inconvenience to the parent.
Parenting isn't a pissing contest. I don't care what others say, it's just not for that. Parenting isn't about projecting our insecurities and needs onto our children either. It is about equipping them to handle life. It's about showing the love of G-d and giving them as much grace as has been afforded to us.
The Bible isn't about beating us down and then building us up. G-d is neither bipolar nor is G-d abusive.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God
-John 3, ESV
You see, I was raised with this abusive, bipolar mindset that G-d is out to get you, condemn your sin and then raise you up and show how awesome he is just to save your sorry rear end from hell and allow you to live with him.
Guess what? That is just NOT scriptural. Nope, not one flippin' bit. It's terrible theology.
I was also raised with the mindset that children are awful little sinners out to get you all the time and that they will rule the roost if you are swayed by their "whims". (aka needs)
Then I had a child and my world turned upside down. I did not believe that any more. I struggled for around 2 years before I found Gentle Christian Mothers.
I was reading psychology books that were showing me repeatedly that this is just not how children develop whatsoever; and at the same time having this abuse repeated at me over and over about how I had to do something or my children's sins would destroy them. I needed to spank them and not respond to their cries. I knew differently deep down, but almost 30 years of this being beaten into me, and repeated ad nauseam; I was succumbing to the pull.
I had friends giving me tools and a lifeline and I finally reached out. It's been a five year journey to peaceful, grace-filled parenting.
What I did not know, was that in parenting - you drudge up every little skeleton in your life from the way you were parented when things get tough. If someone triggers that bad memory (or if a situation does) you basically have to re-parent yourself through the situation. The bad thing about being triggered, is that you don't always know when it will happen, how it will make itself known to you, or how you will need to handle it this time.
Being triggered may manifest in becoming extremely tired, emotional outbursts, anxiety, panic attacks or depression. It could cause withdrawal from social situations, stomach upset and on and on. It could do just the opposite as well.
I realized last week that I was suddenly becoming extremely withdrawn. I was giving up activities and staying in more. I was being loads more quiet than usual and extremely introspective. I've lashed out from time to time; and I've acted like a petulant child.
Today, I stuck up for an infant child of a friend of mine who asked why her child's cries made her hurt so much, and whether she should respond to those cries right away. And I was jumped on immediately and called foolish, led astray and other things for standing by Scripture and modern science that say to respond to the cries of our children and to love and cherish them.
I cited papers and was gracious and respectful and called a fool and that I was letting my children rule the roost.
People, this is why I choose to remain where I am, and exactly why I haven't found a like-minded fellowship for seven years. I refuse to be a part of the abuse cycle any more.
There is a better way. I'll chose G-d and grace, every single day.
I'll stick up for the weak and young. There is just no way you will ever expect me not to. Where there was none to speak for me, I will be one to speak for others.