Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Mom and Her Son

Today was supposed to be a great day. I have been contemplating between sharing about two different things: either wrapping up my last two posts with answering the second question (What will I do with Jesus), or celebrating in this being my 50th post! Over a month ago, I rejoiced with one of my blogger friends as she shared her excitement about reaching her 50th post and I thought Wow! What a milestone! I wonder if I’ll make it that far! If I do, I will certainly have to rejoice with my readers through a post! Well, here I am, my 50th post, and I am not rejoicing.

After dropping my kids of at school this morning, I spent the drive home in tears and prayer. Let me add to that list- frustration, anger, bitterness, disappointment. Why? Because my son can be so difficult at times, and this morning was one of them! Actually, he has been incredibly difficult a lot lately and I am not dealing with it as I should.

I continually remind myself (have even voiced it to him) that God created him with a critical mind. He is fearfully and wonderfully made, and God fashioned his brain to work the way it does. However, lately I don’t see him as very wonderful. L Lately I see him as walking in sin and rebellion. I find myself getting so frustrated that I act like a child. I respond harshly. I don’t even want to talk to him because I have come to expect nothing other than a critical response, and I have told him as much. Of course, that ended in disaster.

Trying to change my son’s heart with my words- failure. I cannot change my son’s heart! I cannot change my son’s heart! My words, full of anger and impatience, become nothing more than sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor 13:1) to him.

The whole way home I whined and cried and God listened. In frustration, I complained that I don’t know what to do with him anymore! I don’t know how to respond to him when he is being so disrespectful, dishonoring, and rude.  He is a fool, having no delight in understanding but in expressing his own heart (Prov 18:2)! I don’t know how to make his heart teachable! When I try to correct him, he comes back with a response that picks my words apart and criticizes my view of the situation. And I feel like a failure because I know that I have let my son down by allowing it to get to this point. I have let my Lord down by not being quick to discipline and correct my son. I AM A FAILURE!

In the midst of my fit, I was reminded of a conversation I had with one of the godliest women the Lord has placed in my life. Years ago we homeschooled together and shared a lot of frustrations and tears (the tears were always mine). I recall voicing how difficult it was to home school my children (who struggled academically) alongside her children (who excelled at every area in life, especially when it came to academics). I shared with her my feelings of failure as a mom and teacher to them. She replied with something like “If they were highly advanced in their studies, would you give yourself all the credit? Or just when they struggle?”  That was tough to answer, and it has stuck with me.

So what’s a mom to do? I don’t have the answer to that question. I know I will be talking to my husband. I’m considering taking away the thing he enjoys the most right now- building, playing with, and making movies with his Legos. I don’t want to take that away! I enjoy watching him enjoy them! But something has to change. I also know that I will be praying more consistently for my son.  His heart is in the hand of the Lord (Prov 21:1), and He fashioned him with a mind full of critique. I know He has plans to use that mind of his, and those plans don’t include dishonoring and disrespecting his mom and others.
So, even in this, even in the impossible frustrations of parenting and disappointments, I will trust God to use me, my son, and this situation for good.

My ride home, crying and talking with the Lord ended with this song and I thought "How perfect, Lord! I have so many dents and rips! But the war's already won, and You have it all worked out for me, my family, and my son! Thanks, Lord!"

Francesca Battistelli 'Free to be Me' You Tube
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  1. Stephanie, I just wanted to let you know I'm praying for you and your son. I'm sorry things are so difficult for you, but I know that these things will be used for the good by our Lord - that He has, even in this post, used them, to remind a non-wife, non-mother like me that while being a wife and mother may be your greatest aspiration you have to always remember to trust the Lord for strength. You have a beautiful heart, Stephanie, and your posts are always a blessing. Congratulations on your 50th post; I know it wasn't the celebration you wanted it to be, but celebrate anyway in the love of the Lord. Thanks for pouring out your struggles here.

  2. Stephanie...
    As a mother of five, and having dealt with disrespect, rebellion, dishonor and rudeness and all the other things our kids put us through as they grow and learn, I totally relate to your frustration. However, what jumped out at me the most and pierced my heart so deeply were your words, "I have failed"! Because I have said them... I have lived there... I have put up wallpaper in that place! But, several years ago the Lord gave me a scripture that changed my life.

    Isaiah 44:20 (actually all of Isaiah 44). As I was reading it, He told me that I had made my failures an idol; and in reality that idol was a lie. I was not a failure. I am His child. And in holding onto that lie, I had turned it into an idol.

    As moms (and dads) we try so hard to teach our children, and train them to be Godly young people, but we have to remember that they, too were created with free will. And that ultimately they are responsible for their choices and actions. And there will always be consequences.

    Continue to train; continue to discipline; continue to love. It will not return void. God is faithful to complete that which He has begun in them.... and in you!

    (Sorry for the long post!)

  3. Dear Steph,
    It's so easy to let things slip, isn't it? But you have seen it, and have turned and are heading in the right direction ie. praying, weeping, talking with your husband, contemplating what to do (temporarily taking away what my daughter loves works great with her!) and encourage your son to get alone with God and talk about who he wants to become...and you know the saying "It aint over 'til the fat lady sings" You have not aren't finished. You are a loving, caring Mom who wants to please God above all else. YOU ARE HIS CHILD (THAT IS FINISHED!), and you are called to be a Mom, and He has given you everything you need to do it. Get up and keep on doing it (of course you are).Thanks for loving you kids enough to not let them continue on in their rebellion. Thanks for being honest and transparent...I am not alone. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family!
    Lori Mayberry

  4. You ladies are all so encouraging to me! I bare my weakest self and you shower me with grace and encouragement. Thanks so much for being here. God is good, and even today, in the midst of such a frustrating time, He blessed me and made me laugh! (I will have to share that story in a future post!).
    Joy- Thanks so much for your prayers! I covet them. And I'm thinking I will anticipate my 100th post! That will be a day of celebration, huh?
    Lena- I so covet your wisdom as you continue raising your children. I will look at Isaiah 44 (chapter 43 has always been one I go to often).
    Lori- So good to see you here. I think the Lord is very clearly telling me today that failing does not make me a failure. I am going to make this a 'fail-forward' (a blessing from Mom's Together today). Yes, I am His child and nothing can change that.
    Thanks again, Ladies

  5. My mom always told me that she hoped I'd have a child just like me someday, just so I'd know all that I've put her through. And now, in these years of my life, I'm finally starting to see just what she meant. I'm an arguer - always have been and still (uuhhhggg) am (I'm still working on this) - and I could confuse her 'til the cows came home with arguments of why or why not I should be punished for something or if I had even done it. I was disrespectful, rude, and sometimes downright insulting, telling her that she was wrong and didn't know what she was talking about. It got to the point where she told me, "I love you because you're my daughter, but I don't like you." It wasn't even what she said really, but the fact that God was working in my heart and I kept fighting Him. He would convict me that I was wrong, only to have me argue my way out of it like I did everything else. And you know, the more God convicted me and I fought, the worse I became. And then mom said that and I couldn't argue anymore. It was the straw that broke the camels back, I suppose you could say. I didn't change immediately, but I started trying to change and the sin that I saw in my life started to frustrate me. And as much as my mom did (which was a lot), it was a significant mixture of God working in my heart and Him using her that brought me to where I needed to be.
    Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I want to encourage you, Stephanie. First, you're not alone and I'm sure my mother will certainly attest to that. Second, although I'm not a mother, I've seen the grief that I've put my own through and I'm sorry to see your heart holding that same grief, but I know that God is good and that He has a purpose in this pain. I'm praying hard for you, Stephanie. For wisdom, love, patience, and a strong trust in God. Like you said, you cannot change his heart, but God can. He is faithful. And even in the chaos He makes beauty for those who trust Him.
    Congratulations on your 50th post. I wish you could celebrate it more fully, but I appreciate your transparency in sharing this struggle. You are in my prayers, dear friend. <3

  6. RachelAllison! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have no idea how encouraging that is! To read your blog and see how strongly God works in you at only the age of 16, and then hear where you have come from.... what hope there is! Haha! This is why we share our testimony with others- because we all struggle and we all sin, and God works in us that we might glorify and encourage others. Thanks for sharing!

    Does your mom happen to have a blog? I can only imagine the wisdom I could gain from her!

    Good to see you on here!

  7. I'm so glad to know I was able to encourage you! Really, that just makes my day. :)
    My mom doesn't have a blog. She's kind of the quiet type and writing isn't her favorite, but I'll let her know about this post and I may just get her to hop on here and give you a few tips herself. ;)

    1. Yes! That would be wonderful! (No pressure) :)

  8. Hey Stephanie, this is Rachie's mom. When I read your post, I laughed and I almost cried because it reminded me so much of my Rachel. It brought back all of those feelings of the struggles that we went through when she was probably about eight years old.
    So, the three things that come to mind (besides praying A LOT!) are:
    1). Don't react. Remember that you are the grown up and you need to act like one.
    2). I think it's very important to go back and apologize to your child when you find that you've spoken harshly or critically, even if you were right in what you said. In times when Rachel had me at the end of my rope I would say things that would hurt her and even though what I said needed to be said, the way that I said it was wrong and it was just as important for me to apologize to her as it would have been for her to apologize to me (probably even more so, because I'm the mom and I'm supposed to be her example).
    3). Be sure that you're husband is on the same page and knows what is going on. It is important that your husband backs you up and makes it clear to your son that he needs to respect his mom for who she is. There were many times where Kevin (my husband) had to come into the picture and lay down the law, so to speak. We still made it clear that we love them, but we made it clear that this kind of disrespect would not be tolerated.
    If you're interested, there's a book called Shepherding A Child's Heart that I read a long while back. It has stuck with me throughout the years and I would definitely recommend that you read it.
    I wouldn't expect quick results. Things of this sort take a lot of love, patience, and God's grace to resolve.
    Praying for you!

    1. Thank you so much, Rhonda! I am honored you took the time to offer wisdom to a complete stranger :)
      My husband and I have gone through the Shepherding A Child's Heart series a few times. I don't think we could have made it this far otherwise. Thank you for the reminder to apologize to my son. This is something I know I need to do, but do not always walk in obedience there. I have quite a measure of pride, which my son seems to have inherited.
      And I am incredibly thankful that my husband's got my back in this, and sadly does have to lay down the law. He's just so much better at it than I.
      Thank you so much, Rhonda. It's so encouraging to see/hear from others that have persevered through! And I must tell you good job! You have a wonderful daughter! Keep it up! :)
      May God bless you!


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