Anyone who has been called out by the Lord to write words to point people to Him know how hard this can be. He asks us to expose our lives for the sake of others. To lay down and become vulnerable. To reach into the deep places of where we have been and where we are and use our journey…our imperfect lives…for His purposes.
I now have the privilege of something called hind-sight. It’s a beautiful thing! As I look back at the triumphs and struggles we have had as a family, I see things we did well and things we did not do so well. I see people who stepped in to encourage me and people who just kept smiling while slightly turning their backs as if to say “we don’t have problems over here so you stay over there“.
I don’t want to be in that clique. They had problems too, they just didn’t want to admit it.
I read a lot of other blogs and books. I need inspiration for my own daily life and it helps me to see how other people write. I learn from their stories as well as their writing styles.
Recently, I realized that most of the material I’ve been reading has sometimes made me feel like they’ve got it all together and I just don’t. What I was doing was reading from moms who still have school aged children.
Do you ever catch yourself comparing your life to someone else’s only to find out you’re not comparing apples to apples? I know we’re not supposed to compare but let’s face it, it happens.
When the light bulb went off, I was both relieved and terrified.
You see, my children are college age. The days of “hand me your cell phone” and “we don’t like that friend so NO MORE” and “apologize to your sister” are OVER!
I can’t write much about this new place in my life because my children read my posts. But, they know, I am struggling with some of the decisions they’re making. Not all. In fact, most decisions are going to turn out well. But, although they honor me with respect, they respectfully disagree with some of my opinions now.
Double edged sword.
I want for them to make their own decisions. But, often times it takes falling on your face to learn. This is that time for them. They fully own their actions now. The good and the not so good.
I find myself thinking “if they would just keep doing what I say, it will all be okay!!”
If you are here with me, feel free to reach out privately and let’s get a coffee! I’m being dead serious.
I share all of this with you to say this…those of you who still have your children under your wings, in your nest and under your authority, your parenting privileges will change at some point. You will always be your child’s mama but your role will change after high school. Your opinions will be just that…opinions. NOT the authority. NOT the bottom line. NOT the giver outer of consequences.
A friend of mine posted today that she wished we (Christians) could be more vulnerable with one another. That we could share hard stuff without worrying about judgment. Hard stuff that is internal. A mental struggle. A family struggle. Things we keep quiet most of the time.
This is a platform for me to do just that.
I have two great kids. But, when they were in school, we had struggles that I did not talk about very often. There are still things that I’ve never spoken of. Words vomited out that hurt. A teenager landing their fist through a wall. Threats of “I’m leaving!” and “There’s the door!”
This wasn’t every day. But, it was here. As I get older and allow things to spill from the cracks of my heart, I am learning that there are a lot of good families who are struggling.
Like, really struggling.
I’ve been there. I’ve questioned whether my child needed professional help. Whether I needed professional help. Whether these things, these confrontations, went on in other homes. The list could go on and on.
If you are a weary parent…like, you are reading this alone and you think you’re alone because what would everyone else around you say if they even caught a glimpse of what may be happening in your home weary…you are not alone. You are not alone! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
If we were sitting at Dunkin Donuts together in our yoga pants curled up in a corner booth together, let me tell you a few things I would be saying to you out of this place of hind-sight I’m now in…
*Do not give up! There may be times that it would be easier to set your kids in front of the TV or send them to live with their dad or let them quit high school at 16 or let their attitude rule your home-DO NOT! Your children do not know the long-term consequences of their behavior when they push you like this. But, YOU know the long term consequences. You’re the adult. It’s your job and mine to stay the course. No TV until chores and homework are done, keep them close, do whatever you need to for them to finish their education and if they are seniors in high school who STILL think they can get their way by bullying you, you stay on your feet and hold your ground! Call a friend. Call a grandparent (we did!), call a coach, call a Youth Pastor, reach out for help. Get creative. Find ways to discipline that speak to your child. God honors our efforts when we don’t give up. He’s got your back, I promise.
*Keep trusting Him. God wired the brains of our precious little people. He knows what’s going on in their heads better than we do. He purposely made you the mama to your little tribe. Purposely! That means He has equipped you to do what you need to do. He’s given you resources. He’s placed the right people in your life at the right time. He knew you would struggle. He knew your child would challenge you like this. It always helped me to keep in mind the big picture-it’s not even ALL about me-it’s not ALL about you-it’s not ALL about your child. Every bit of the struggle is to bring you and that child closer to your Creator. All of it. Those challenges you are facing, they are temporary. I promise. Not only that, but it is in our struggle that we get more and more desperate for God and as we lean in to Him and in to those that he has placed in our path, we will grow. We will learn. You will one day encourage another parent that it will all be okay. Not perfect, but okay.
*Pray. We went through some times here that I call “dark”. I call it that because I couldn’t see the light. I had to rely on my faith. To make the conscious decision to trust what God says and anticipate each time we turned a corner that the light might be waiting there. I prayed “Lord, I believe, but please help me in my unbelief” A lot. Stay close to Him. It’s okay to get mad and question Him, just keep talking to Him. And be thankful. Be thankful for the privilege to parent that challenging child (or children). Be thankful for your resources and that you can trust Him.
When we were being faced with challenges early on, I told a friend that I was continually hoping that my child was going to turn out alright. She too was in the midst of her own parenting challenges. She responded by saying “honey, I’m not hoping this turns out alright, I’m counting on it!”
That was a turning point for me.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Do you see the wording here? They. Will. Not.
God never promised not to give us more than we could handle. He will. We were not made to handle it all on our own. He wants in on the deal. Invite Him in to your life and family and watch Him work.
Are you struggling in your home and in your mind with parenting issues? Reach out to someone you can trust and let it pour out of the cracks. Relieve the pressure.
Can I pray for you? It’s possible I’ve walked down the road you’re on now. Reach out, I would love the privilege to take your name to the Father.
Praying for you specifically today who are barely holding it together,
Peace, hope and courage,