Reformed Grits

February 4, 2008, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Life

13 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child and teaching 2nd grade, another teacher called me into her classroom as I was leaving the school one day to tell me something.  She asked me to shut the door and said, "I just wanted you to know something about the family life of one of your students- ‘Ryan,’  as this is something you should know… His mother has left the family and is having an affair with another man." 
I was floored.  I was a 22 (barely!) year old girl who admittedly was S H E L T E R E D and I had never had any experience with things of this nature.  I was also outraged. 
"What is the matter with that woman?  She must be an idiot.  Does the man not know she is married and has a FAMILY!??"  She then told me that the man also had a wife and family.  I ranted on for a bit, but she just ended it with, "Anyway, I just thought you should know in case you have some behavior change in the child or a reason you may think you need to just look out for him." 
I thanked her and went on my way.  I never had a moment’s trouble with precious "Ryan" but I always hated that had happened to him.  I probably was a bit more tender towards him (yes, I’m capable of it) and a little more loving too.  He didn’t change.  But my perspective did. 
It’s interesting how perspective skews our original vision of a subject.  "Skews" isn’t the right word though.  It actually gives more focus or clarity to the truth.   When we see things through a proper lens they become more clear.  More real.  More doable. 
I get asked all the time "HOW ON EARTH do you do it with 6 children?"  Even today a good friend who has 3 said that her 2 nephews who were 2 and 1 spent the week with them and she was wiped out.  I always say, "I had time one at a time, and my oldest is almost 13.  My oldest ones help, and I only have one baby.  I have more help than NOT."  Having my kids at THIS age is a breeze compared to the time I spent with 3 children 3 and under.  And the time with 4 children 5 and under.  This is totally doable.  They always sigh, and say, "Yeaah, I guess so."  Putting it in perspective takes it off it’s pedestal. 


In the same vein, another friend who had a professional life before children, now has a 3 year old and a 6 month old.  And she thinks I’m something?  I told her I’d take my 6 over only have 2 that young any day of the week!  It’s exhausting!!  I told her it gets easier and they get more responsible and they mature and get more helpful… it simply gets better and better.  Perspective gives her the ability to endure!


I know a woman who used to ask me how do you clean and cook and wipe hineys and do laundry and have nothing for yourself at the end of it?  She wanted a piece of her life "just for herself."  I shared with her how anything and everything done for the Lord has meaning and especially in the nurture of others and pouring out of yourself.   You can get great satisfaction out of having the laundry accomplished and dinner on and the children bathed and read to… even if in the greater picture of your house the living room is dusty and the bathrooms are filthy.   You make your job your own and you do it your way and put your own touches on it and you pour it out of a full heart, knowing that your significance and security comes in Christ alone and not in "having something for me."  If you set this "something" as the goal or the reward, it becomes an idol–   this "something" that gives greater satisfaction than service to which we are called by the one who purchased us with His blood.  If this "something" is allowed to persist in the background, we will never find the satisfaction there for the taking in what we are called for; and sadly, the "something" will always elude.  It can not be grasped because the things of this world do not satiate.   Sadly this woman has left her husband, home, and children in the pursuit of the satisfaction that she has ironically left behind unclaimed.   The skewed perspective of purpose devastated the lives of her and her family.

    I gain more perspective every day– of what I don’t know and what is to be learned.  I panic over small things until I remember what I’ve learned.  The fine teacher I mentioned earlier taught me that same year to ask, "Does this matter in terms of eternity?"  As a woman of great perspective she would know.  I found out years later that her husband was the cheating "other man" who had taken "Ryan’s" mom away.

3 Comments so far
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Wow, I’m floored by the end of your story. What compassion this woman must have had to be concerned for the student, when she was intricately involved in the whole situation.
I just can’t imagaine how she coped with the pain of it all.
I am often the woman who wants a little piece of my life just for me. It is hard to get the right perspective about what I am doing, and striving to do it all for the Lord, cleaning, caring for children, laundry dishes, all of it.
This is a reminder that I need each day so that my vision is not skewed by selfish desires.

Comment by MaryLu

Wow, I’m all teary (lol)… but YES, this (6 kids) is SO much easier than 4, 4 and under! THAT was NUTS. I don’t know how I survived it, but I did! And yes, with an almost 13 yo and a super helpful 11 1/2 yo girl life is SO much easier. My 9 yo daughter cleaned my 5 yo’s room yesterday. By herself. Without being asked. The floor had been covered for a LONG time. Of course, last night the 5 yo threw up off the top bunkbed and SPRAYED the newly cleaned room. But I can’t even imagine that amount of barf on all the junk that HAD been in there…

Comment by Kristi

Well, I have sat here for like 5 minutes and still can’t figure out what to say…
so I guess “you couldn’t be more right” will have to do.

Comment by Gayle

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