Mean Girls & Discipleship

Mean Girls & Discipleship

In less than 20 minutes they were changed. When my girls left the apartment to go play with their friends they were the girls I’d always known. Full of laughter. Full of energy. Full of plans.

“Okay, you go get Channah and Abi and Natan and I’ll go get Devorah and Tamara and we’ll meet back at the park.”*

They returned only a few minutes later with tears in their eyes. The light that usually radiated from their faces was replaced with something that I knew I couldn’t avoid, but hoped would be delayed until they were much older. Mean girls had said mean words. I saw past the tears on their cheeks and saw their souls and realized I could never undo what had been done.

My oldest was angry. “Who do they think they are?” She was mortified and humiliated that girls younger than her would reject her.

My youngest was heartbroken. “How could they?” She is a giver and a lover. And her greatest gift, friendship, was refused.

I held them and we cried together and I prayed for them. And then I spent the next week wrestling with a gamut of emotions. I was angry.

If those girls ever show up at my door again I am sending them away with a piece of my mind! I was hurt.

How could anyone reject the purity of my girls’ friendship without care for how it would make them feel? I felt hopeless.

I guess it’s true. I can’t protect them from everything.

As my heart raced between emotions, it came to a startling halt at the realization of one very important truth. How I responded to this was actually of greater importance than the situation itself. You see, my girls and I truly do life together. Just about everything they know they’ve learned from me.

Mean Girls & DiscipleshipMy oldest daughter is very nostalgic and dreamy. She seems to drift off to another time and place when she talks about chilly weather, warm fires, a great novel, and a cup of hot cocoa. She also gets extremely frustrated by the pressure of having to learn something new. “I just want to know it. Why do I have to learn it?”

My youngest daughter is silly and clever. She is also extremely hard on herself. We seldom have to admonish her for bad behavior because she’s already taken care of it and much harsher than we would.

These attributes, the good and the bad, they got from me. No, I never sat them down and said, “Now, you should love warm cozy afternoons and you should inflict harsh punishment on yourself.” All of these things they learned simply by watching me.

This time would be no different. Although, it might be more critical.

This is parenting. This is discipleship. This is a divine calling.

In ancient Israel, a Rabbi would select his talmudim, his disciples, and they would walk with him and talk with him and learn from him so much so that the end result was a mirror image of the rabbi right down to mannerisms, voice inflection, and facial expressions.

This awareness always leaves me trembling with holy fear. What I am today, my daughters will be tomorrow. When I become angry, they will be angry. The circumstances that make me giggle will one day cause them to stop, pause, and smile. And in the situations where I struggle, wrestle for a bit, but resolve to offer grace, they will one day offer grace from an unclenched heart.

Days later the neighborhood girls apologized and came over to play. When they walked into our apartment, I greeted them with a smile and took the three minutes it takes to make microwave popcorn to ask the Lord to give me the grace to offer grace.

*The names of the children have been changed in order to protect them from the possible scowls and wagging fingers of mamas all over the world that may show up in our Jerusalem neighborhood and have also dealt with mean girls.

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Rebecca Verbeten was born and raised in Southern California and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel with her husband and two daughters. She received Jesus as her Lord and Savior when she was four years old and at that time fell in love not only with Jesus, but also with his Bride, the Church. She is a graduate of Master's Commission USA and spent eight years as staff and director of Master's Commission Springfield. She is a licensed minister with IMF, the International Ministerial Fellowship. Along with homeschooling their two daughters, Rebecca and her husband, Patrick oversee Zealous8:2, a ministry connecting young adults in 7 different nations to God's heart for Israel and the Jewish people. She never feels more alive than when she is exploring the Land of Israel with her family. Learn more about Rebecca by visiting her blog, Memoirs of a Slave Girl or following her on Twitter @Rebeccaverbeten

  • Laura Reinstein-Teague

    A humbling reminder. For me, it has been my tendency toward irrational fear that I have seen being played out in my children. Colton comes by the tendency naturally with his over-thinking, intelligent brain. Abby has always been fearless, to the point it scares me. I have always worked with them each individually to help them learn a healthy balance. But recently I’ve seen my fears, of sudden tragedy or heartache or whatever, being exhibited in my kids reactions. Its been like a mirror shoved in my face and a finger pointed. “See? This is you. And now you’ve taught it to them.” I want my kids to be brave. I want them to try and do and live in spite of fear. And I am realizing that the most sure fire way that is ever going to happen, is if I am brave. I have to try and do and live.

    It’s so humbling to know that our actions and behaviors as parents will play such a key role in shaping our children. That God designed us that way is a testimony to his love. Daily we need Him. Daily we need His example so we can project that to our children. We wants us to need Him and He desires to see us choose Him and His Word to guide us. In our weaknesses and tendencies toward irrational fear, His grace fills in gaps, giving us what we need. And ensuring us that even if we mess it up, He loves our children that way too. And His grace is enough for them as well.

    • Rebecca Armenta Verbeten

      Laura, they see you be brave a million times everyday and may not recognize it until they are older. I’ll be praying for you on this. Next month’s post touches on this very thing. So, stay tuned. :)

      • Laura Reinstein-Teague

        Looking forward to it! :)

  • julieneils

    I can so relate to this, Rebecca. Thank you for a beautiful reminder of the importance of how and what we live with the eyes of our children upon us. Beautiful, well written, nourishing truth.

    • Rebecca Armenta Verbeten

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. Isn’t it refreshing to know we’re not alone? God is so good in placing other Warrior Mama’s with so many different experiences and abilities to sharpen us. I am so blessed!

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Mean Girls & Discipleship

by Rebecca Verbeten time to read: 3 min