To Everyone Who’s Judged Me...You’re Absolutely Right
This whole blogging thing is not for the weak of heart.
I’m a pretty open person. Can you tell? And I am passionate about advocating for foster children and giving a face to foster care, even if that “face” is me and my children. Hence the decision to open myself and my family up to the world. Hence the willingness to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes along with said family-opening.
Every day, I get the most deeply encouraging, undeserved, life-breathing words from readers. Strangers--STRANGERS!--take the time to pray for me and write me the kindest of words. You people are the dearest, most uplifting people I could conjure up in my wildest dreams.
But. But. There are some. Some who like to challenge and question and sanctimom me. The comments I’ve gotten and the questions I’ve received, would be enough to frighten a thinner-skinned gal away.
I’ve been told that my parenting methods are barbaric. That I’m in foster care for money. That I’m judgmental and small-minded. That I’m a “like whore.” That letting my baby cry for a few minutes is neglectful. That my family is “very white.” I’ve been questioned about why I can’t “just take” a seventh kid or “trade” kids with someone else. I’ve been called a “fake mom.” I've been labeled a racist and an elitist. I’ve been accused of exploiting my children.
You guys, this list is not exhaustive. And for each of these comments, for every criticism I’ve received, I want to respond. I want to defend and explain and “how dare you.”
Neglectful? I devote every second of every minute of every day to these kids. How dare you.
Racist? You don’t know how passionate I am about civil rights and racial reconciliation. You don’t know about children of other races who have come and gone or the kids who were “supposed to be” a different race and show up white as can be. How dare you.
Why can’t I just take a seventh child so my foster daughter can be with her sister? Well, let’s see, because I. already. have. six. children. How dare you.
Alas, I bite my tongue...because a blogger who argues with her readers is just tacky and because it’s easier to overlook and move on than to engage and because, well, because they’re right.
No, I’m not racist or abusive or “in it for money.” But that weakness you see in me, the cracks in my veneer, the messiness seeping out, that’s me. I may not be all those names and accusations you’ve thrown at me, but I know the me that you don't know.
I yell at my kids. I’m cold to my husband. I look at the beautiful life God has given me and want something more or different. I desire the praise of people and think I’m better than others. I value things that just don’t matter. I care about my comfort more than I care about people and their needs. I’m judgmental and elevate my own opinion. I have no self-control. I’m selfish and lazy and arrogant and angry and...
I’m a mess.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved [me], even when [I was] dead in [my] trespasses, made [me] alive together with Christ...For by grace [I] have been saved through faith. And this is not [my] own doing; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:4-5,8)
And I can acknowledge my weakness and my shortcomings and my sin, because Jesus died to cover it all. And I don’t have to defend or hide or live in shame, because Jesus died to forgive it all.
So when someone sees weakness in me, even if it’s not the accurate weakness, I can join in with a hearty head nod. I can “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses” (1 Corinthians 12:9) because my “sins are covered.” (Romans 4:7)
I’m a mess. But I’m a loved, forgiven, saved mess.