Have you ever said no to a kid? Or been said no to? What did it make you do? Plead? Beg? Last night V asked if she could go to a movie and I told her no. While we were in Sequim, she'd been running loose, playing SK for all she was worth, so the Beve and I wanted to have a conversation with her. Expected her home for the day. When she called (from an unknown number) and asked us to go to a movie, I told her no, told her to come home. She begged, which blows a fuse in me. We give reasons for our answers (in fact, I used to regret the fact that I was such a proponent of giving my children reasons for my answers to their requests. I envied the "Because I'm the mother," answer, but always believed they had a right to understand my reasoning). But once said, no means no. The end. We waited until after midnight, then locked the door and went to bed. It's now after noon, and she still has neither called nor come back.
Amazingly, as I told her on the phone last night, "I've almost never said no to you." She agreed. She knows this. One of her friends came by this morning to pick up something. She said V had indeed gone to the movie last night, which, of course, we knew, and she thinks she's with some other friend. This girl was pretty cagey--protecting V from what she probably sees as our terrible tyranny. It's time to cut our losses here. We've spent nine weeks on this child, investing in her, sacrificing our summer. Beve called Child Protective Services, and they suggested we called the police to report a runaway. A cop called back to get the particulars, told Beve they'll return her to us. But we've decided that we've done all we can here. If she doesn't respect our authority, what more can we do? It's like she's a boarder, maybe has been no more than a boarder the whole time. I could tell stories...this latest thing is just the latest thing. But what would be the point?
Sometimes we enter into relationships, take on ministries and they aren't successes. They don't end with people entering the Kingdom, or transforming, or remaining in our lives. I'd like to never have to do anything that doesn't turn out well. I'd rather sit in my living room alone unless I know I can impact the Kingdom for good, and make no mistakes. But it doesn't work that way. We interact with people, people who have free will. V showed that. She heard what I said, and made the decision to disobey, to be a 15-year-old runaway. Alright then. But you know, I don't know that I'm all that different from her. Every day I make choices whether to runaway from what my Father asks of me, or whether to obey. A thousand times a day. There was a moment this summer when I knew--I KNEW--He was asking me to stick with V, and I had that choice to obey or not. I said yes then. I don't always. And He told me I'd know when that time was over. That I find easier to obey.