Sunday, December 5, 2010

I am Momma Bear

Most of you know I'm the oldest of six children. This information, in and of itself, is pretty boring. Just another tidbit about me. However, being the oldest of six children has ... uh ... shaped me into the woman I am today. I basically grew up feeling like I was their second mother. (Side note: our mom is awesome.) In fact, as we've grown into adults, growing out of being their second mother has been a difficult transition for me. And, I know I joke around about this, but there actually was a time when I saw an actual therapist and he actually told me I had to let go of parenting my siblings; you know, especially since I had my own children that needed their own mother and that my own brothers and sisters were all adults and could take care of themselves ... and also that little detail of our own parents being pretty freaking good at the whole parenting thing.

Still, years after that counseling session, there are times when I find those misplaced mothering tendencies towards my siblings creep back up again. The biggest one I struggle with is bossing. I've even tried bossing my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. I'm terrible. I apologize a lot. ( least, I should.)

But the other thing that pops up? My Momma Bear. Like, the big bad grizzly that only tends to come out when someone comes after my own children? Well, she comes out when someone comes after my siblings too.

Which is why, last night, when someone tried posting degrading comments about my baby brothers on my photography blog, I kind of lost it. First, I should say, I will never allow anything about my client's personal lives to be posted on their pictures. Second, I will especially never allow anything hateful or destructive to be said about my client's on my blog. And thirdly, you weasly little anonymous coward, I especially will not allow insensitive, uneducated, misguided comments about my baby brothers and their wives to be posted on my blog. Ever.

I told Mike the things that frustrated me the most:
*I knew the comments were put there to get me riled up and I hated that it worked.
*I knew that the decisions my brothers have made and the paths that led them to where they are, are beautiful stories. It bothered my that they were called into question. I hated that I felt like I needed to defend them; especially since they had done nothing that needed to be defended.
*I was bothered that people were passing judgement on my family; people who don't know all the details, who haven't taken circumstances into account and who don't really even understand the situations.

While I lay in bed last night and pondered how exactly I was going to defend my poor baby brothers and their wives and verbally rip to shreds the person who posted the comments, I had this moment where I heard the Lord ask me, "When did I defend myself?" I thought of the things that had been said about Jesus; the false accusations, the beatings, the questioning and how he never once defended Himself. He didn't need to be defended. He let His accusers say and do what they wanted. Granted, He, being God, had a little more self control than I do and He also knew the whole big picture ... still, I think the lesson is there. Let people say what they will. Don't defend, don't engage in the conversation. Just let the truth speak for itself.

And then I began to think of all the people I have passed judgement on without knowing details. Oh man...sometimes without even wanting to know details. Sometimes, without even knowing them. Sometimes, I try to get all the details and say it's so I won't make a wrong judgement.'s that for justifying gossip? Once a new mom came to MOPS and was asking how to get her 18 month old to sleep through the night and not in bed with them?, take care of that when he 18 days and it won't be an issue. Later I found out they had adopted him only two months before and he'd been living in a cardboard box before that.


The judgement's I've made against so many people! Without apology, without care, without love. And most notably, without concern for how my words will affect them.

Or those who love them.

So today ... I've felt less harsh toward the person who made those comments. I'm still upset, my Momma Bear still hasn't fallen back to sleep, but I've been reminded of the many Momma Bears who's anger I've ignited with my own callous thoughts and words. I'm thankful for second chances and the opportunities I've been given to apologize for the hurts I've caused. I'm reminded that talking gossiping about others doesn't help them or me; it just hurts. It has kept me from friendships that could have been amazing, it has blocked me from hearing stories that could have changed my life, it has stolen away opportunities for me to show Christ's love.

So, anonymous blog commenter ... I'm sorry you feel the way you do. But thank you for giving me the chance to look inside myself, question my own motives, and learn a little bit.

"As for you, you meant evil against me (and my family), but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result..." Genesis 50:20 (parenthesis mine)


Sarah said...

I hear you. I've so been there. Also moments like that make me hate the internet and wonder why I ever go on it, regardless of it's lessons.

twyla said...

It seems that the best response to a commenter like that is to absolutely ignore the comment. Then they are left to wonder if you got the message, understood what they said, or care at all. A friend of mine once told me that when someone says something unkind to you, you take from it what you can use and throw the rest away. I live by that advice.