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.