I saw one of those quizzes on Facebook – “which song sums up your life?” I immediately thought of an old song that played on my parents car stereo, “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life.” I always got a giggle out of that song but over the past few years it’s begun to feel more like a theme song.
Several years ago I took over a school that was failing. I’ve told this story in other blogs so I won’t bore you with it but my intention was to save it. It was to bring it back to it’s former glory. It was to save everyone’s jobs, teach the children, etc. That was my intention. No, that was my heart. That’s what I set out to do. But along the way, things didn’t go my way and despite risking everything we owned along with all our savings, and our kids futures, we failed. We failed hard.
At that moment it felt like Jesus had put his foot on my behind and punted me. I felt like I was flailing. Honestly, I still do. The hardest part was the way it happened or should I say the way it ended with rumors, lies, accusations. That was the most painful part for me. You see I have spent my life trying so hard to be a good girl, trying to be a rescuer, and in that moment my best effort didn’t matter. What everyone said I was, I was. I still can’t wrap my mind around that.
I live in a small town. I still shop in neighboring towns so I’m not seen. I still avoid social situations where I might see someone who might have had something to do with the school. I play tennis. I have to be careful when and where I play. It’s a small town. People are connected and they share. I still can’t drive past the school. The pain is too deep. I LOVED that school. I LOVED those children. I LOVED the people I worked with. I really did.
My biggest struggle is still fighting that balance of who people “say” I am and who I really am. I have recently had some family issues that caused me to struggle again. My mother who I provided care for, for the past 4 years since my father died, suddenly decided that I am a thief and a liar. The story is too long and too painful to share right now, but its not true. I gave all of my time to my mother. I took her to every appointment. Despite my difficult childhood, I chose to honor my mother and care for her. She has chosen to divorce not only me but my children as well. So there it is again. That struggle. Someone says you did or said something, and you did it. Or at least that’s what everyone believes right?
Why do I struggle with it so much? The truth is 180 degrees from what has been said about me. Yes, there are many who know that. I struggle with the injustice of those who don’t. Why is that? Why do I care? Well when I answer that I will make my fortune. My guess is that I care because I care. I care about how I’m perceived. I care about how I live my life. I’m a Christian woman. I want people to see Christ in me. I don’t want them to see that lady who “lost the school” or “abandoned her mom.” I want people to see goodness, mercy and justice when they see me. But that isn’t always the case, and that is my struggle.
In the midst of it all God continues to call me to obedience. He reminds me that it’s not what everyone else thinks of me but what HE thinks of me that matters. When I am serving, when I am doing what I’m called to do is when I feel free. That’s when I don’t care what anyone thinks. Our entire family helps with a summer camp for kids in foster care. I get to put on the birthday party for everyone. When those kids are racing down slides, decorating cakes and racing to eat donuts, they don’t care if I lost a school or if my mother has disowned me. They see Jesus in me. In the way I love them, in the way I hug them, and in the way I pray for them, they see Jesus. That’s what matters. That’s what lasts. That’s where I need to spend my energy, not struggling with what I can’t control.
As Jesus dropkicks me through these goalposts of life some days I will be right side up and some days I will be upside down. But I will be moving forward. And someday my tombstone will read, “Bless her heart. She meant well.”