Daughters, Teens, Open Arms

Last night during a special moment... and honestly folks, "special" only happens momentarily and you have to catch them when you can... Jesse, our 18 year old son, was sitting down with his guitar trying to figure out the chords to John Mayer's "Daughters" song. My daughter Casile is right next to him. The other two girls are staying with us right now... troubles at home. You can see all the lyrics here, but the chorus goes like this:
Fathers be good to your daughters Daughters will love like you do Girls become lovers who turn into mothers So mothers be good to your daughters too
I snapped a pic, then retreated to my bedroom to shed a few tears. Watching and listening to these kids sing this song ripped my heart out. They live in a world of pain and pain-dealers. It was an emotional moment because I know so many girls and women who's hearts have been broken, crushed and sometimes murdered by their fathers and some by their mothers too. A couple of the girls in this pic do not have fathers in their daily lives. So many young girls and women come out of their homes totally beaten battered and bruised... some physically but so many many more emotionally. All the guys too, except they don't seem to show it the same. They get angry and act out in different ways. It was emotional for me too because just the other day I could've killed Jesse. Now he singing this tender song about women who need love. I empathize with parents of teens. It is brutal work with very very little and sporadic reward, like this guitar moment. Most the time I want to tear my hair out, kick my kids out, or rip their heads off their stiff necks. Sometimes I get to the point where I just don't think I can stand it anymore. Lisa and I have no rule book to follow. What kind of book has instructions for running through such a brutal gauntlet? Just run for your lives, keep your head down, and hope you make it to the other side. I'm exhausted. I've run out of ideas. I constantly feel like I'm bending further than I maybe should. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too tolerant. I don't know. Our kids and their friends stretch us beyond recognition, always further than we think we can be stretched. I resent it. I get angry. But at the best of times, I don't think I want to lose them. I keep getting that as a pastor I'm too tolerant, that I emphasize grace too much. People leave over it! It's discouraging. Over and over again. There's so much pressure to mix in a little law, expectations, goals, pressure, whatever. AARRGGHH! I'm tired of it. That's the yeast of the Pharisees in my opinion. Just a little bit ruins the whole loaf. You can't mix the two. But I guess I'd rather get accused of being too gracious than being too judgmental. I got a sweet email from a friend of my kids. She said:
Dave, I just got wind of how you are now taking *** in since she got kicked out. I respect you and Lisa for always welcoming people with open arms.
I don't show you that to toot my own horn. Not at all. I just want you to know, dear reader, that yesterday I was spitting nails ready to kill a few teens for sport. I had also been accused of being too open-armed and was ready to quit. This morning this email was waiting for me and made me think that maybe keeping this trail is worth it in the long run. Maybe. I'm not sure right now. But maybe.
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