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My family and I moved into our neighborhood, one year ago this month. Over the course of one short year, we have been introduced to many scenarios that have left our souls wounded and our hearts hurt. My purpose in writing this, is to not agonize over what happened but to share the lessons I learned from this.
Upon moving into our neighborhood, we had many of the children in the neighborhood flock to our house. We were still unpacking boxes, and the door bell would ring several times a day. I wasn't sure if it was the curiosity of who we were as new neighbors, or if it was because they sensed something different about us. Everyday, we would stop what we were doing and let our sons play with the neighborhood children.
Two of the children who are siblings started to come over everyday, multiple times a day. They would be at our house for hours before someone from their house came looking for them. This would be a normal scenario, had we known the parents and had a chance to develop a relationship or friendship. It was usually another sibling that would come ring the bell to come get them to take them home. It was months before we met their Mom. Over the course of time, we learned that literally overnight, she had become a single mother left with four children and an ex who didn't want any part of her or the children.
My heart bled for her, and for her children. I couldn't imagine being in her shoes. My parents are divorced, and I remember the pain that caused me as a child. I could now understand why these two siblings showed up at my door everyday. It was not easy, as they had no boundaries and no sense of what was acceptable. My husband, my sons and I all had to slowly teach them discipline but in a loving way.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Things were going well for a while, until it started to interfere with our family time. The siblings would start to show up more than multiple times a day. As a homeschool family, sometimes our day gets crazy and we end up homeschooling in the afternoon or early evening. When we explained my sons couldn't play because we were busy, they began to ring our doorbell every hour. Sometimes the doorbell would ring six or seven times in one day. No matter how many times they were asked to not come back that day or ring the doorbell, it persisted.
It sounds ridiculous to be annoyed by something as small as a doorbell ringing, but it became a nuisance. Holidays, weekends, and even family time after church on a Sunday became interrupted with our own doorbell ring. One day it was so bad, I was left shaking and had to call my mother-in-law to help me calm my nerves. I prayed on this intensely and asked God, what was the lesson in this and what was He wanting us to do?
Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
I was reminded with the above scripture. Even though I could feel myself becoming angry at the situation, I still proceeded with faith. When we had free time and the siblings showed up to play, we would welcome them into our home. Again, this was not easy as they did not play well with the other children in the neighborhood. They didn't share, even when the toys were not their own. They also had a way of instigating and antagonizing, almost as if they wanted to be picked on. The oldest told me one day that my sons were their only friends.
All of that changed last week. While having them over, the youngest in a rage flung a toy at our television. Thankfully, it did not break and there was not a scratch. Neither sibling showed any remorse, and I asked them to leave. I knew at this point, it had to be addressed with their Mom so for the first time I went to their house.
I was not welcomed in. The door opened a crack and one of the older siblings answered, and explained to me she would have to wake her Mom up. I waited at the door, and when the Mom appeared, I explained what had happened. Again, there was no remorse shown. There wasn't a question asked if they had even broken the television. She only suggested that if they didn't know how to act properly, then she would not "send" them to my house anymore. I apologized to her, and told her I was sorry it had to come to that but I could not have my home disrespected like that. This floored her, and she exclaimed, "I should be the one apologizing to you."
I was angry that this constant ringing of my doorbell was not simply from a child in need, but a deliberate action from an adult to take advantage of me to not deal with her children. I had her children in my home for hours, multiple times a week and yet was not welcomed into her home. But the anger only lasted a moment. We said a farewell, and I left her house with a sense of peace and like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I felt I had done what God had called me to do. Here is what I learned from all of this:
- We show the love of Christ (Matthew 22: 37-39): Sometimes situations are pressed upon you, that are not pleasant and may make you angry because you may not understand yet the lesson God has for you. Show others the love we have received from God, that at a point in our lives we probably didn't deserve. This is called grace. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
- We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2): My faith let me know there was a lesson in this for all parties, and I knew God would be the victor.
- We keep growing in the faith (Matthew 28:19) This scripture speaks volumes because it is about going out and creating more disciples. It is about telling others about Jesus. Sometimes, the best way to tell someone something is through actions and not words.
- Living intentionally for ourselves and our children: One of the local churches in our area, has a sign that reads, "You may be the only Bible someone reads." I want my children to see the love and faith in Christ I have, so that they can have that too. It is so important to live a good life not only according to the scriptures and for our own personal salvation, but also for that of our children. They mimic what they see.
- Forgive: (Matthew 18:21-22) "Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven."
- Pray for others: I have no way of knowing what this family has gone through or will go through, but I know the power of prayer. I feel God has ended this chapter on whatever friendship or acquaintanceship would have been between my family and hers, but I know that I can pray for them from afar.
- Our homes and family are sacred: I made the mistake of letting children into my home, that I had no idea what they were going through at their home. I thought I was showing the love of Christ (which I was) but ultimately, it was leading to what would become destruction in my home. I was glad of the blessing and warning from the Lord.
- Your time is valuable: Many people make the assumption that it is easy to be a stay at home Mom. They think that our days are spent lounging on a couch, watching soap operas and eating chocolate. My days revolve around homeschooling my sons, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, blogging, running errands and running my household while my husband is at work. It's about getting all of this done, and having time left over to be at joy with my sons and my husband. It is something that I am so thankful to be able to do, and I love every minute of it.
Don't let anyone take this joy from you, and treat you like you, your family, or time are not important or valuable. You are valuable, and so important. The Lord knows our struggles and He knows our hearts. Don't let the ignorance or selfish actions of another destroy any part of you. You are His. Our job is to honor and obey Him, and He is our Shepherd, Savior, Provider, and Protector.
What are some things you have learned from being in a hurtful or confusing situation?
#Christian #inspirational #bgbg2