MIddle School, Back to School, Anxieties, & the Gospel

Our youngest is navigating middle school.  This is her second year, but her first without a sister, as my oldest two are now in high school.   Whew, we are off to a tough start.

Let me just say that my youngest is awesome.  She is super creative and energetic, but her highs are high and her lows are low (isn’t that all of us?). 

As we head into the third week, a very common challenge has sprung up:  gym.  As a kid, I was fast, but that didn’t earn me much in gym as I was like 4 foot 3.  I was picked on, and I hated the whole locker room.  As best as I can tell, the lack of a close friend seems to be the culprit in this case. 

As we headed to school, Em’s just didn’t want to go.  Since there is a 10 min gap between dropping off my high schoolers and going to the middle school, I took the opportunity to try to soothe her.

We talked about David and King Saul in 1 Samuel 24.  This is the story about David cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe while David hid in a cave and Saul relieved himself (for real).  As soon as David cuts of the corner of the robe, he immediately repents.  He runs out to Saul, lies prostrate on the dust, and confesses his sin. 

How risky!  Saul wants to kill David, but David knows that he has disrespected the Lord’s anointed and sinned.  The two leave in peace, and we have a great testimony about how to interact with authority, loving our enemies, and an example of repentance.

Em and I talked about his.  I ask her if anyone in there is her enemy.  She says no.  Then we talked bout how to bless the people in her class.  We come up with this plan.  She is going to begin the class by praying for herself – praying that God would sustain her when she is miserable in gym.  Then, she is going to look at each person in the class.  She knows their names.  Then, she is going for God to bless each one of them.  It will take most of the class to get through every person’s name and to pray for them.  Then, she is going to pray for herself again.  My encouragement is that I am sure that God will bless her if she is praying that God will bless them. 

Will she find new friends?  Will gym by enjoyable?  We’ll see, but the time will be redeemed if she blesses those that she feels alienated from, and that is a pretty sweet work of the Gospel. 

Middle school is tough.  Emotionally loving (and sometimes nudging) your kids is a challenge, but we trust God sustains our kids and ourselves as we seek to bless the world. 

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

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What Holly Golightly & King David Teach Us About Bitterness

In Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, we meet Holly Golightly.  She is a New York socialite struggling between two lives.

In her past, she was Lula Mae, a fourteen-year-old who stole turkey eggs to survive.

In her present, she can’t seem to commit to any relationship.

These two worlds collide when she learns that her beloved brother dies while she simultaneously rejects the one person who appears to accept her and all of her foibles.  Her past and her present are both uncertain.

What is the temptation of the human heart when there is unresolved hurt from the past and an unsecured present?  Bitterness.  Bitterness, by definition, is unresolved conflict with either a person or God.  Either type is toxic.

Believe it not, Holly Golightly is a lot like King David in 1 Samuel 22.  Yep.  I just said that.  King David and Holly Golightly are a lot alike.

You see, King David has an unresolved past and a shaky present.  He deceived Ahimelech, the priest, and because of that, King Saul orders the death of Ahimelech, 85 priests, and every man, woman, child, and livestock from Nob, the city of priests.  Additionally, David is the anointed king of God’s people, but he doesn’t sit on the throne.

David could be overwhelmed with guilt.

He could shake his fist at God.

He could ball up into fetal position and give up.

What does he do?

1 Samuel 22:20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

David takes responsibility for his sins, and he commits to protecting Ahimelech going forward. David doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, but he knows blame shifting is not going to work.  Getting angry God is not to work.  He owns his sin and commits to faithfulness in the present.

That’s what we are all called to do when we struggle with bitterness.  Ephesians shows us how:

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Put away falsehood or excuses.  Speak truth where necessary.  Repent.  Put away bitterness and wrath, and seek to forgive as Christ forgave you.  Not easy, but it is the pathway out of bitterness and a protection against potential bitterness.

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog