Family First Friday #17 2015

I do not even know what to title this blog post.  I wanted to share all of the exiting things that are happening here at our house, because some of them are exciting!!  My BYU boys are home for the summer (or a part of it)!  Scuff returned home from his mission to Brazil!!  And Tammy has left for Utah!  Those are the highlights.  But in the midst of all of those great things, life has been super challenging and overwhelming.  And I have been super busy without even enough time to sit down and just blog the highlights.

Not to depress you, but to help you understand that we have challenges too, I have decided to blog about the things that are currently stressing me out, and some of the major challenges we are facing.  I can’t share all of them, because, well, we are still going through them and they are not concluded, so to share too much too soon would be inadvisable.

However, since my birthday, Drew’s best friend, Darren passed away, which I blogged about a little.  That was the first major blow.

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

Then, about a week later, we found out that Sun was not admitted to the high school I have had all of our children at for the past 9 years.  That was a low blow.  You may be tempted to think it was because she just wasn’t up to the same academic standards, however that would be inaccurate.  The truth of the matter is that the principal of that school was looking for a way to keep her out.

Over the past two years, Speedy has been walking out of English class and refusing to read some of the vulgar and debasing ‘literature’ they have chose as their works of study.  It has not been a small issue.  They read literature that has debasing topics, graphic details, plenty of profanity, and then they watch the movies in class.  Speedy is more sensitive to those things than some of the other boys have been.  We, as their parents, have always given them praise and permission to stand up to exposure to anything they feel violates their standards, regardless of who is doing the exposing.

Last year the principal called me and told me that she also had ‘conservative values’ but wondered how I could justify Speedy leaving class and not participating.  After all, she contended, they were going to be exposed to these things in college.  Well, unfortunately for her, between the six of us who are older than Speedy, we hold eight college degrees, one in literature, and none of us have ever had a problem with the university literature courses.  The only place where we have a problem is in the high school English class.  Good grief!

There wasn’t much she could say to that.

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

The year before the principal was upset because Sport petitioned the school board to take more than the allowed number of college credit hours so he could graduate with his Associate’s Degree.  The board allowed him to do so.  You would think she would be happy that one of her students actually completed the purpose of the school in the four years allowed.  She wasn’t.  The next day she shot down Speedy’s petition to attend a higher level core support class that he missed admittance to by .001 grade points.  And the petition had been in for several weeks.  Seriously.

Sun’s interview for the program was suppose to last 10 minutes.  It lasted 2.  I assumed that was because their decision for admittance had already been made.  I was right about that, but wrong about the conclusion. The principal came into Sun’s interview only, and then that interview room was closed down.  The principal went into the interview looking for a reason to deny Sun admittance and when she had it, she didn’t need to continue.

I could go on and on.   But suffice it to say, plenty of people were admitted with academic abilities and scores below Sun’s.  There was room for her in their program.  The principal in her passive aggressive manner felt the need to flex her power muscle and send me a message:  Quit messing with her school.

For a while I was really angry–angry that she hurt my daughter, angry that Sun’s application and interview was never about Sun, angry that she was willing to hurt someone else to get back at me (which seems to be the story of my life….), and angry that she didn’t just have the guts to tell me how she feels about me and my ‘values’.

Then, my sweet husband and my calling as seminary teacher put everything into perspective for me.  Drew read Sun this scripture in Matthew 5:

 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
copyright: Karen Larsen photography
He helped her to understand that what was happening to her wasn’t because she wasn’t as good as the other children or as capable.  What was happening to her was a direct result of Speedy’s willingness to stand up as an example.  The rest of the scripture that follows expresses what Speedy has been doing:
 
 13 ¶Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Unfortunately, whenever good men and women stand for truth and righteousness, those seeking power and authority will seek to pull them down, even if they are only 14 years old!!
My studies for seminary those weeks were about the persecutions the early saints received as they were expelled from Missouri and unjustly driven from the lands they purchased and homes they built because of the choices of a few who had been numbered among them.  Joseph’s instructions to them from Liberty Jail were also instructive to me.
D&C 123:
 12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
 13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
 14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
 15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.
 16 You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.
 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
I realized, God is my friend.  He knows my worries and my concerns, my strengths and my weaknesses, my efforts and faith.  He also knows my works and the thoughts and intents of my heart, and He knows those things about those who are my enemies.  I do not have to retaliate or seek retribution.  What more could I do to her than God will hold her accountable?  Do I think she can stop me or my children from achieving our goals?  Not if they are set in partnership with the Almighty.  What can she do to stop his work?
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
And D&C 121:
 33 How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.
I just realized that I can trust God to fight my battles for me.  I don’t even have to worry about them or be concerned if her wrong is ever righted.  God is my friend, my defender.  I will do what He asks, when He asks and how He asks.  Then I can stand back and know that those who stand against me are really standing against Him.  Let Him do what He will with them.  What is that to me?  It will be right.  It will be just.  And it won’t stand in my way or the way of my children.
That is where my emotions have been the last several weeks.  There is more going on than that.  But what I cannot say.  You’ll just have to stay tuned.  Have a great weekend!!  And hopefully I will find more time for writing and sharing the struggle of my soul.

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