Yesterday's post continued...
We've been attending this Memorial Day weekend conference for the past 7 years. So many wonderful things have come from our times here, the very best being a husband for my oldest daughter! Erin and Audrey always had a wonderful time running with the littles, Larry and I were edified by the teaching and met some dear people. But always, the teen thing was if-y. We were first invited to the conference by a couple that we know through home schooling and we had no other affiliation with the churches that attended (some from Oregon and Washington), about 200 - 250 people. I won't bore you with long details but just suffice it to say that last year wasn't quite as free and easy for Erin and Audrey and there were some rough moments when we had to pull them back to our sides, sometimes to rein them in and sometimes to comfort hurt feelings... teen stuff.
This year we were immediately concerned because once we got settled in it became apparent that there was a ringleader already sitting on a self appointed teen throne and the groupies were gathering. After a day of this, the girls began sharing little snippets of actions and conversations with my husband and I and we became even more concerned. The moment of decision came when I witnessed an exact replay from the previous year, an action that I knew hurt down deep. We had an ah-ha moment realizing that it was time to be done. The bad outweighed the good and we want our girls to grow up kind and trusting too in the kindness of others. There are situations that require us to tough up and press through but this just wasn't one of them. We could leave.
The part that was truly difficult was leaving my son, daughter and son-in-law, and my daughter's in-laws with whom we don't get to spend enough time. We enjoy their friendship and the girls too are friends with their children.
So, we spent a couple of hours with the adult kiddos and left at 9:00 at night. At 2:00 a.m. we pulled back up the drive that had sent us off the day before. As I mentioned before, there were tears (some of them pretty serious) for the first twenty minutes or so after taking to the highway. But shortly after, as we discussed the whys of staying or leaving we had found things to giggle about and everyone began to breathe easier. We've only been home for a week and the girls are showing more confidence in their friendships and their opportunities to reach out to others. I remember being younger and how confusing it was when people were unkind, I want them to have the courage to walk away from unhealthy situations and to recognize opportunities where they can be Jesus to people in need. So that's it... the good, the bad and the ugly. Thankfully, God is always good. The bad and the ugly seem to creep in where you least expect them, therefore we must be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.