Have you ever come across a situation so painful, so out of your control, you didn’t know what to do? There’s nothing easy about making sacrifices for your kids, sometimes, there is no true victory and you can only make the choice that benefits them the most, no matter what the cost is to you. What would you do for your children? What would you do when you have to choose between satisfying your pride and righting a wrong or meekly accepting a table scrap to ensure that an innocent party, your child, is not affected?
This was the situation that I faced this week as I was forced between choosing what honor I had to uphold as a husband or as a father, with the two seemingly at odds with one another. On one hand, I could defend my Wife, Annie, and adamantly protest their betrayal and treatment of my Wife, going full bore into the Director and Pastor, or I could find a way to let my Son graduate from his Pre-K class. Quite the conundrum, considering that if I pressed too hard one way, the other would be lost and vice versa; meanwhile, the entire time, I have these horrible ladies tearing down my Wife. What do I do? What would you do?
As Husbands, we are called to protect our spouses, shelter them in our arms and keep them from harm, just as they do for us; marriage is always a give-give relationship, with each trying to outdo the other in showing their love and commitment for the other. This creates many awkward situations that many single people will never encounter, but may readily understand, where you have to put the needs of your spouse above yours while accepting the consequences of their actions as if they were your own. No longer is there two, but rather, one with two sides. This symbiotic relationship gets even more complex when one adds kids into the mix. Now, their needs are placed above yours and, even, above your spouse.
My Wife has been amazing, growing in so many new ways that are both vast and profound. There was a time when she would be quick to snap on someone, tearing them to shreds and leaving a wide wake of destruction and broken people, not in a physical sense (although she can very much hold her own), she has, as of late, been trying to be more peaceful and joyful, while at the same time allowing people to live in whatever fantasy’s they choose as opposed to calling them out for the liars they are.
Last year, my Wife was passed over for a job in favor of someone who was hired on as a favor. This didn’t turn out so well for Fern Creek Baptist Church’s Child Development Center as the teacher , who was also our son’s teacher, ended up ditching them in the middle of the year due to personal reasons. My Wife, who’d placed her application in twice before and never heard a word back one way or the other, volunteered to take over for the remainder of the year, and our son would have to switch classes. She was hired on, with the constant reminder that this was a temporary situation and that they were just trying her out. Taking on a 45% pay cut and loosing (2) key days a week from her job as a substitute teacher for the county which she still held, my Wife stepped up to the plate to help teach the 3 year olds, receiving accolades and praise from staff and parents alike…accolades that lasted until the end of the year when she gave the two week notice that she wouldn’t be signing back on for the next year due to the fact that we now had (3) kids going (3) different directions in addition to both of us working. What seemed like amicable partings was, alas, not to be. Upon contracting a viral infection and attempting to get a substitute as per the rules, my Wife showed back up to work since the Sub, Nancy, left it ambiguous as to whether or not she could stay the full day because Church Business came first, despite my wife possessing doctor’s note saying not to return to work for two more days.When she came in that Tuesday morning, the director of the preschool had some words for her and accusations which were done in front of the staff with no respect for privacy or professionalism. Now, she was a pariah, a poor hiring choice, someone who was to be pitied and concerned with, when my wife questioned them on when she called in later ( it was said that she did this every day) the directors response was ” that one day back when it was snowing” , keep in mind this was now May and the incident was back in January where her tire was stuck in snow and ice during the bad ice storm we had and she communicated yet still managed to come in…now, months later, it’s an issue, brought up only after she gave them notice of not returning the following year. . Keep in mind, she was receiving high praise and was being told what students to expect the next semester just a week ago.
The back and forth between her and the Director went on for a few minutes, in which my Wife did not raise her voice, or use colorful language and felt that she had no choice but to leave, taking our 2nd Son out and stating they wouldn’t be coming back for the rest of the week except to graduate the following week (the Handbook clearly states there must be (2) weeks notice if they were going to be withdrawn, this wasn’t a withdrawal, but rather a keeping them home for the last (3) days).My wife was upset and made a post on Facebook about how she was treated, along with my post stating they were lucky I was at work that day, my wife also told her co-worker/friend to let the school know that the pastor and director had better not speak to her. Apparently, one of the teachers there that was on my wife’s Facebook page and screen shot it, showing it to the Director and Pastor of the church, Rather than accept that for what it was, we received a nice letter, certified mail, stating that we were no longer allowed on the premises at their church and our son wasn’t welcome followed by an alleged statement that a police report had been filed because they felt my wife stating that the pastor and director had better not speak to them was a threat, and myself posting they are lucky i’m at work was a threat (none was) If anything that shows a preemptive attempt to avoid conflict, as we were understandably upset and did not want to speak to them. My wife also did not go back to the school after she left , she did not cause a scene, leaving before the students arrived. After receiving the letter that me, my wife and sons were not allowed to attend, my wife called to try and resolve the issue Monday morning, only to be hung up on her when she stated her name, with a rude Secretary that was irritated at the attempts to resolve the situation with the Pastor. During that phone call, Pastor Linda proceeded to make false accusations against my wife stating that my wife tried to get one specific lady to sub for her every day( phone records would prove that false), she went as far as to put my wife down stating ” you were a poor choice” when my wife asked to elaborate she stated ” you never looked like you wanted to be here and looked as if you were lost in space, however that may just be who you are or your personality but frankly I don’t care” she even told my wife that she was being un Godly, she went further saying ” I don’t understand why you want to attend the graduation when before we hired you on we had never seen you, had no idea who you were, you never attended any programs.” , that’s an outlandish lie as my wife has had a good relationship with the teachers and staff there, and attended every program since they were 2 with pictures to prove it. She was also told that she had harassed teachers from the school over the weekend when my wife had reciprocal conversations with 2 teachers , one being our son’s teacher stating ” I never said that you harassed me, we had conversations and nothing more than that. I don’t know where that’s coming from”. My wife explained that all we want is to see our son graduate and would love to be there and not cause a scene, she was told no, she then said that our son would then attend with his grandparents , that’s where she was told “absolutely not, if he attends with his grandparents we will have police to escort him off! ” That was below the belt and a cruel punishment to get at myself and my wife, how are you going to tell a Mother that her 4 year old son is going to be escorted by the Police should he attend his Graduation? Escorted by the Police! A 4 year old boy who’s only thought this past month has been graduation, who’s been practicing his songs every single night for Mommy and Daddy, that he was going to be walked out by cops because of a personal grudge and the pettiness of their feelings.
The hits just kept coming, in the form of a “friend” who played at being a neutral party, yet went out her way to provide “evidence” on the “threatening” behavior that my Wife was supposedly in from her Facebook post about what happened to her, not to mention a personal voice message asking what in the Holy Hell was going on over there and why was the professionalism broke down? Who the Hell did they think they were treating my Wife that way, for one, and then taking it out on my sons? Seriously?
And the lies from Pastor Linda Barnes Popham and Staff just kept coming. Normally, when one leaves politely without making a scene, the two parties involved just avoid each other and go separate ways, but not so with the Vindictive Baptist Church of Fern Creek. I had to watch my Wife cry because she wasn’t going to be allowed to see our Sons graduate, that they too were barred from attending a ceremony that they right earned due to retaliatory nature of Lead Pastor and the web of lies and spinning of tales she undertook.
Rightly so, my Wife expressed her feelings and warned her friends on Facebook about the treachery that was going on and the betrayals that still stung deep. This was a woman hurting, who had sacrificed much only to be treated like a heathen, a leper…an outcast…and from a church! Now, she was harassing when no such harassment occurred, was told what a horrible, spaced out person she was and that she never bothered attending any of the kids functions before. Wow! Who does this supposed “woman of God” think she is? A tyrant running her little kingdom of scared little puppets, fearful of standing up for what’s right; she felt the need to call my Wife multiple times just to drive home the fact that she and the “board” had decided that our Son couldn’t attend his graduation and that we were in violation of the (2) week notice. Funny how tunes change when a lawyer gets involved. Within an hour of our lawyer handling it, the pastor called to say the decided to allow our son to graduate but his grandparents had to call and state their intent of taking him…as if my parents were now criminals.
Yet, we were left with a choice. Forfeit our right to see our son graduate, allowing our participate in his ceremony with his Grandparents acting as Guardians or press the issue and not allow him the privilege he so deserved and worked for. One way or another, Linda Barnes Popham and Fern Creek Baptist Church was going to get their jabs in. It wasn’t enough to be a bully and state that they had a Police Detective look over what my Wife posted (because the Pastor and Staff are paid to snoop into people’s privacy instead of concentrating on winning lost souls) and felt that this was a good lead into workplace violence. Wow…Calling out a church on their B.S. and stating that it would be unwise to take your children there because the Church on a whole didn’t care about the kids as much as the next Ladies’ Brunch, holding mission meetings, or whatever was going on that force 2-5 year olds to sit in small room with no toys, watching movies like veggie tales because it was too cold or rainy outside and the “church” functions needed to go on so they could not play in the gym as parents were told would be the case during the winter…yes, that was a key indicator there. They also claimed to file a police report and that they (the police) were aware of the situation and were up to date on everything when, in fact, no such report exists. Lies upon twisted lies coming out of that forked tongued Pastor and people wonder why Christianity has lost its edge and no longer commands the same respect that it once did. I am actually still waiting for the Pastor to call me back, though most tyrants choose not to deal with those that are willing to stand in the gap and protect the innocent.
For those called to minister to the broken, to heal those that are sick, to bring restoration and not death it is imperative that they act and respond with a higher level of dignity. Bible is clear, not many should wish to become pastors and teachers for the standards are much higher. How can one trust someone that will place their own agenda above what is right? How can someone go to an individual that is supposedly a spiritual leader, one of God’s Chosen Champions and expect objectivity when they receive nothing but condemnation and a twisting of words? When did Pastors become gods?
I had to watch my Wife break down today, tears filled eyes smiling bravely at her oldest as she prepared him for his graduation, one that she could not attend. I saw as she heroically expressed her love for him and told him that it would be ok and to enjoy his graduation because he earned it and not hold a vindictive, bitter heart. To hug his teacher, say good-bye and walk with the strength and grace of an overcomer. I can’t win all my battles, but we won this one. My son was allowed to suit up and stand with his class…I just wasn’t there to see it, forced away by politics, hurt feelings and pettiness from those that are supposed to be leaders, champions of the weak…not modern day Pharisees.
Yet that’s what Good Parents do: place their children before themselves. I love my children and will do whatever I can to protect them and teach them how to be honest, decent and loyal individuals in a world where that’s not being taught in the Church anymore…at least, not at that one, it seems. One expects better out of those called to lead and it’s not an unreasonable request. Apparently one cannot expect this Pastor to adhere to the Reaching up, reaching in and reaching out that Baptist churches are known for and the “greatest passion” of sharing the gospel of Christ with others is mere Christian dogma thrown out because it sounds good on a webpage but goes out the window in practice.