Sunday, April 24, 2016

letting life shine amidst the bathroom chatter

It seems like yesterday but in all reality it was over 4 years ago. That moment after we found out that we were expecting and I began to wonder about the sex of our baby. Inside I really wanted a boy. Mainly due to all those years of nannying boys and even more so out of fear of having to raise girls. And I began having dreams of a daughter. Then the writing was on the wall. Ballet pink splayed across the dining room.

It was then that every fear or anxiety I had about raising girls came at me like a blunt force. Me. Having girls. This grown woman with so many skeletons in the closet. Well not really in the closet, because most have come out to the open. But knowing what was in store for them. And more importantly, not knowing what was in store for them. What would childhood look like? And adolescence? And leaving the nest? Would they be bullied, or swayed by the sexy notions of the time or would they be the bully or the mean girl (please Lord no!)

All I could do and all I can do is pray. Well pray and help pave the way, right? I remember chatting over my fears with my husband and earnestly, almost as a plea, asking him to set our family on the offensive. Let's be on the offensive, right? See what's coming before it comes. Start the conversations before they are in the middle of it. Not get swayed by what the world is screaming. Not get swayed by what the church is screaming. Asking him to help me get swayed by what the WORD is screaming.

And then God gave me another little girl. And I felt a little like Sarah when she finds out she's pregnant with Isaac, laughing, in a sad and happy manner knowing full well that that which He has called me to, He will equip me for that work, even though it seems near impossible. Thank you Lord. Because raising girls, raising kids, that's work we cannot do without help.

And as any mother or parent or human being knows, what we do and what we say and how we act and how we love does not go unnoticed. It's why we can see ourselves in our best and in our worst playing in a motion picture right in front of us. The shortened temper, the kindness to a stranger, the cute and odd idiosyncrasies we all have, the joy in a beautiful day, the list could go on. And it matters what we offer up to them. It matters. Thanks be to God again that every single day is a new opportunity to do it better. To offer more grace. To show more love. To mess up and offer forgiveness. You get the idea.

Some mornings I wake up and the mercies don't seem new. I awake with the same attitude or mindset, only to offer it up again on the altar. Continually offering, well beckoning in my case, for more and more help. To raise these little girls in a way that offers the world as large of a piece of Jesus as our family possibly can. And boy do we get it wrong some days. But that's displaying the amazing work of grace and mercy. Free to sinners who fail.

That's the point right. Boy or girl. To love God and love others. To spread a passion for Jesus. And our words hold no sway if our actions aren't following right behind them. And then we start our day, we read the news, we begin to worry. We cast vision for our children, we want to mother hen the heck of them. To protect them. To keep them. To shield those little eyes. Right?

In these past almost 4 years of motherhood, I find myself consistently wanting to mother hen my girls. To keep them from my own mistakes. To shield and protect them. To not let them see or know or experience the evils the world holds. Just about a month ago I sat in bed reading articles on my phone...we're silly that way. And the two I read pertained to girls and social media. About how girls were beginning to give their bodies away to boys because they felt so much pressure to have sex that it was easier to just give in and get sex over with. Of boys asking for nude photos of girls to be sent via the kik app. So on and so forth. And my heart ached. God's good plan for sex...which is good and lovely and so fulfilling, so skewed and spent years too soon. My heart physically ached for the pain and hurt and damage that's being done to these sweet young girls. Ached. And I prayed for them and for my own sweet little girls to be guarded from sexual pressure.

Talk about sex, in an age appropriate way friends. Talk about it plain as day...about what the Bible has to say about how our kiddos are formed, who forms them, who loves them, how He made them and that all He's done is good. Remind them of their good good Father who has created them for His work. He's made them and us friends, to live a life that shines. To shine the light of Jesus.

And now the news of transgender bathrooms. Target's endorsement. The multiple petitions and chatter on how we should stand and fight and never shop at Target again. And I'm not making light of it. Believe me, as a momma to two young sweet girls, I'm not making light of it.

But I have been earnestly praying. For wisdom and discernment. For love to shine. Because friends, those boys and girls, men and women are struggling with their gender identity. They're made in the image of God. They're real people. And because of the sin that infiltrated the world we live in, because I'm using the Bible as my lens, they're confused and hurting. Some believe they were created to be homosexual, transgender, bisexual. But because again, I'm using the Bible as my lens, they were created in the image of God, as male or female. But sin, well sin frustrates God's good plan that He's bringing back to perfection. Soon and very soon.

As a family this past year, we've been studying the book of Revelation through Bible Study Fellowship. Revelation, as Elizabeth would sing,..."The Book of revelation says what God is going to do." Friends, it doesn't matter what your theology says about the book of Revelation. (although its great to figure that out.) The biggest takeaway from the book of Revelation is that millions of people will be swept into eternal darkness and despair because they would not denounce the world and follow Jesus. The biggest takeaway is one of Jesus greatest commands "Go and make disciples of all nations..." Go and live a life that shines for Jesus. That shares Jesus.

And with that lens, I'm reviewing the bathroom issue. I've got these sweet girls, friends. They're little and impressionable. And they watch. Oh dear, do they watch. They watch in the uncomfortable staring kind of watching. How will momma react? How will those people react? What is this world we are living in? How do things work? All the questions their little brains are trying to answer and put into perspective.

And here's my chance to pave the way. To start on the offensive. To lead them through this. And the only thing I keep hearing in the Word and in my heart is, LOVE. Love them. Show them how to love.

And here's the deal. As I see it, for the unforeseeable future my daughters will go to the bathroom before we leave. We will use a unisex bathroom as a group of three. Or friends, we will walk in that bathroom in twos or more. And we will look anyone we see in the eye and smile. We will offer kindness. We will not be scared or timid. We will not shy away from questions when they come if there's a male in the bathroom. We will confront them head on. Because this isn't new. This isn't new my friends.

Sodom and Gomorrah came down in an instant.

We happen to know those who consider themselves homosexual or transgender. We happen to know where they are at. We've been able to love them. Alex has share the gospel, he's used his friendship with these individuals to share the love. To let life shine for good.

It's not loving to boycott or never use a bathroom or never meet the issues head on for anyone. It's not loving to our kiddos not to talk about what's happening. What's going on. It's not loving to shame those confused or living life differently from ourselves. It's not loving to turn the other way in disgust or treat them as if they are all child molesters. It's hovering under the notion that removing ourselves will be easier or keep us safer or protect us or protect our kiddos.

I know we are called to protect our kiddos. I'm not deeming that silly. I'm not saying it's not important. You remember I've got two little girls. Two precious little girls. I would rather die than allow something hurtful to happen to them. And I know the idea of sexual predators in the bathroom is real. I'm not negating that allowing men to use the women's restroom and vice versa won't have adverse affects. I don't take any of those things lightly.

There are still options for us. Still good options such as single unisex restrooms. And from what I've read through Revelation and the New Testament, we've only got more destruction, more sin, more pressures coming as we take a stand for Christ. It's not magically going to get easier. We don't let the doors slam us down and hide in fear, we stand tall. We stand strong. And we love. We let our lives shine bright.

Because God's got us. He's got us. The God who created the entire world, who created you and me and millions of others, knows the hairs on our heads. Knows who is in the bathrooms in every part of the world. And He's still called us to love and share and lay ourselves down and dump ourselves out for His glory.

Take this life and let us shine friends. And let your children join in.

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