Last night my oldest daughter was having a very rough time. Things have been very difficult for her of late. Middle school is difficult because it is middle school. Most people I know agree with me that middle school was the worst years of their life. Hormones. Growth spurts. Personality changes. Budding independence. The insatiable need to discern your place in the pecking order—and to get as high in that pecking order as you possibly can, by whatever means you can. That’s hard enough. Add to that being relatively new, dealing with serious depression, and some serious bullying, and you might feel that you are in the fight for your life. That’s how she feels.
We took care of the bullying problem. The person responsible ended up being expelled. But while Maggie admits that is no longer a problem she still feels so different from everyone that she came to the conclusion that she would never fit in. She was looking for kindness and found none. She felt broken, wrong, messed up, and hated the fact that was how she felt and that going to school made her feel that way.
She really needed love from us right then. “Right then,” as it happened was around midnight. All her fear and anxiety that she had been trying to keep buried just blew out. It wasn’t convenient. Mandi and I just wanted to get to sleep. We were spent from the day. But the time to love, I have been learning is rarely convenient. It does not follow your schedule. Loving her in that moment, meant putting our needs and wants aside and entering into her pain and mess.
As I was thinking about this, I remembered an old post of mine that really hit what I was feeling, and that is that love is messy. You can read it here. In that post I said,
If love were not messy there would be no need for love to be patient, compassionate, or humble. There would be no call to not be irritable or selfish. There would not be the need to forgive one another or to bear all things. Love is described that way because love is messy.
We have a long road ahead. The good news is that we are not alone. Jesus goes with us and before us. While things are inconvenient and messy right now, they are not anything that is a surprise to our Father, it is nothing He hasn’t seen before. He’s dealt with a lot more difficult things. So Mandi and I are praying expectantly for discernment and direction as we work our part in loving our daughter though this mess called middle school.