Monday, May 04, 2009

Willing, but Weak

My Monday Night Girls really pushed my buttons tonight. I am tired and they were wired-- which is not such a great combination.

Ironically, (or not), the lesson was on I Corinthians 13. I have been very bothered by how cruel and disrespectful they are to one another for some time. Each week it seems to get a bit worse. As I try to create and foster a safe environment to share and learn there is a great deal of acting out, teasing each other and outright rudeness. Everyone talks over each other and has a sassy comeback or addition to whatever another may be sharing. When it gets too deep someone will cut up. Bible Study is completely voluntary. The 7 or 8 girls that come are there by choice, so I really don't get it.

The contrast tonight between the passage we were studying and the way they were speaking to each other was unbelievable. Despite my direct attempts to point this out there was still so much back and forth I couldn't take it. I felt like I was in a movie scene where a young inexperienced teacher shows up at an inner city school and gets eaten for lunch.

They keep showing up each week. They tell me they love me. Yet, their behavior baffles me.

I am trying to remember that they have been through more than I can begin to imagine. Most of them have never had respectful speech, encouraging words or loving support modeled for them. Yet, at some point, it has to be addressed doesn't it?

I tried to speak truth in love--to remind them that they are all in the same boat and should be working to maintain a positive environment in their current 'home.' I fear that my hormones, my fatigue and my fleshly frustration may have led me to be a bit bolder than I should have been. I just wish they understood how deeply loved they each are--and would treat each other as the valuable treasures that they are.

I am untrained in behavioral issues or the different ways adolescents 'act out' in their pain. I am just a woman with a willing heart, a passion--and a flesh. I love them and I am not giving up. Some nights I just leave there feeling very defeated. It is then that I have to trust God to use my meager offering of self...broken vessel that I am.

Redeem it, Lord.

13 comments:

Traci said...

It's not about you or even each other- they are acting out of years of learned behavior and defense mechanisms. They don't even realize they do it- as odd as that sounds. Trust me on this one- I do this everyday with teenage girls. Slow and steady will win this race. We'll keep praying.

Just'N Angel said...

Don't give up! You are making a difference just by being there. Teaching is such a hard job...people just don't realize how hard until they do it. The dynamics of teenage girls is hard by itself, but add the turmoil of emotional problems and feelings of abandonment and you've got triple trouble. They WILL remember the love you show more than the words you say. I will pray for you as you continue to minister to them.

Kate said...

I know tonight must have been so, so frustrating for you. Your post tonight reminded me of one you wrote some time ago regarding earning their respect rather than demanding it. Over and over again, on nights like tonight where they are making you sad and crazy (or at least it would drive me crazy), you are modeling for them exactly what you want them to learn and what they've seen so little of in their lives. Keep it up. It sounds like you're doing great.

Kylie, Jesse and Asher said...

Oh man I have been here so many times! It may be years before you ever get to see/or hear about a young girl that you have worked with truly change and "get it" but it will happen. You are planting seeds and tilling their hearts. I have found after 8 yrs of working with teenage moms that it doesn't hurt to share your frustrations with them and ask them how you should respond to their behavior and how it makes you feel....the ball goes to their court and it's amazing what that self reflection can do! You are amazing! Stay steady and KNOW that you are making a difference.

Rachel said...

I just pray that God will give you a divine inspiration of how to show them that they are precious treasures to God, to you and to each other. I'm sure He'll give you something. We'll be praying.

Open mouth, insert foot! said...

You wrote, "I tried to speak truth in love--.." and later.."I just wish they understood how deeply loved they each are--and would treat each other as the valuable treasures that they are."

I, thank God, never had to go to a group home but..a lot of people dont know this so here you go..I watched my mother beat my brother with a water hose when I was 4 and him 10 and she lost all rights. My Mawmaw and Pawpaw took me in but boy do the scars still run deep. I still, to this very day, run from what you are talking about above. Its that enviroment that makes me the most uncomfortable. By the time my mawmaw took me, my dad was long gone, too, so those abandoment issues are HUGE! They make these girls put up a wall and while they want desperately to let you in, they are scared so they cover it with sarcasm and attempts at humor that come out with a bite to get their space back. I know, I have been there.

I write this to hopefully give you a little insight and hopefully you will see you are getting through..the more you get through the harder they will push because its all they know. They have to protect themselves from THAT pain again. They probably, in their mind and heart, know you mean them no harm but if their mom and dad did them harm..the people who are supposed to love them more than anything, then anyone can. Keep chipping away at that wall a little at a time, and hopefully the ones who let their walls down can move on in so many other ways too. Its hard though. Really hard.

Mindy said...

I know that defeatedness feels terrible. Just wanted to tell you that I know God will redeem it all and good will come from your doing bible study with them. AND to say I'm praying for you as you continue in this venture.
in HIM -
Mindy

Storey said...

hang in there! they wouldn't keep showing up if they weren't feeling that love. His love must be SO attractive to those who have never really experienced it and they probably would never be able to verbalize this. You are probably if not the only, one of the few people who have ever consistently "shown up" just for them. a book i need to be reading for yl seminary work is hurt: inside the world of today's teenagers by chap clark. might be something that would be helpful in understanding a little more about these girls. seeing kids who are hurting so bad, that should not have experience hurt any where close to what they have, just makes me want to have the power to change everything for them and make them see Jesus! but, thankfully, that's not our job! its His! our job is pretty easy, comparatively, we just have to love!

KM said...

What a blessing you are being...allowing yourself to be used by Him. These girls had a long life story before they ever entered that home...how many of us would have had several different relatives stand up to take us in before we ever donned the door of a "home"? I agree with something posted above...you are planting seeds that may never see bloom for years...but they will. And sometimes, they may be looking to see how far you can be pushed before you go away like everyone else in their lives have...maybe that is the test. AND, no one has loved them enough and long enough to show them how to behave appropriately. Praying for your renewal!
Kristi in Texas

Paulette said...

trust me from someone who can relate very well to this group of girls, they HEAR you, that is why they come.. Dont give up, I am so grateful ones like you did not give up on me because it would have been so easy to give up. Bless you J-mom bless you, trust me God in his infinite wisdom will definately redeem it. Oh how I would love to meet you.

Larissa Smith said...

I would imagine that your example to them is far more powerful than your direct words, in comparison to the other people they have known. Hang in there! It is worth every bit of this frustration to prove to them that you truly care for them and that they are safe with you - you never know when one of them will turn to you, finally confident that someone is there to support them.

Sunni-Nichole' said...

Please feel encouraged! You are doing an amazing thing and the fact that you won't give up speaks volumes. I also teach teenage girls and some Sunday's I want to go home and cry. My girls are not 'troubled', just teenagers and sometimes I wonder why they even show up at all. Still, I press on. We can really only trust God and be faithful to the calling.

Thank you for being so candid. I will say an extra prayer for you tonight.

D said...

They want desperatly what you are offering them. Deep down they know it's right and will bring them closer to a Godly walk. However...the situations in which they are living requires they behave otherwise. They want what you have, but have no way of really getting there from where they are. If that makes any sense.