Thursday, February 21, 2013
"overall, don't beat yourself up over their bad choices. They aren't your fault. Yes, equip them as best you can, but don't glean your identity from their decisions. It's God's job to be their God and your job to be their mom."
I needed this this week. It has been a very difficult week. I found out that my 17 year old (who was an honor roll student when she lived with my husband and I) currently has a 1.28 GPA and may not graduate high school. I have court on Friday with my son. He had seen what appeared to be an interior light on in a neighbor's car. Without thinking he opened the door and went to turn the light off for them rather than knocking on their door and telling them. Naturally the owner thought the worst, called the police and he has been charged with tampering. (Nothing was stolen or damaged obviously). My 13 year old has been making some poor choices at home. While shopping with my 4 year old last week she picked up a small toy and hid it in her pocket. The look the cashier gave me when I returned to the store and made my 4 year old tell her what she had done (through the tears), pay for the item with her own money and then throw away the item made me feel like the winner of the worst mom of the year award.
To read the above paragraph, maybe I should be giving my acceptance speech. But that paragraph doesn't really tell you about my kids.....or about me as a mom. My 17 year old is a sweet, smart girl in a situation where she has no boundaries and the expectations of those around her are significantly lower than those my husband and I had for her. As a result she has acted as most teens would. Now that it is coming down to the wire she is realizing that maybe we weren't as crazy as she thought and she is trying to repair the damage.
My 15 year old has a HUGE heart for people. He often tries to secretly make others feel special. He's a class clown/cut up and is very emotional. He doesn't always think before he acts, but his actions are never done with a malicious intention.
My 13 year old is the gal who cries with you, laughs with you, and wears her emotions on her sleeve. She is at that awkward age where she is trying to figure out who she is on her own. Peer pressure is getting to her, causing her to not always make the best of choices, but when she realizes it she is genuinely saddened. She is quick to try and encourage others and often gives of herself emotionally until she is drained.
And my 4 year old is a great kid too. She is always jumping in to help, always telling everyone in the family how much she loves them, a ray of sunshine and happiness.
I really have been blessed with some pretty awesome kids. And they all have an understanding of who God is, how much He loves them, and what He expects of them. Two of them have given their lives to Him.
Raising kids is like writing a novel. I have to remind myself that we aren't at the end of the book yet. The characters have to go through some difficulties early on to prepare them for the climax. I can give them the tools to navigate with. I can choose to write a story for them in which they never face hardship but when the climax comes they won't be able to overcome it. 1 Peter 1:7 reminds us that trials are a test of our faith. As a momma who wants to protect her kids from all things hard (even those things brought on as a result of their own choices and actions) I need to remind myself what Paul tells us in Romans 5. Suffering leads to perseverance (a trait I definitely want my kids to have). Perseverance leads to character (another quality I want my kids to have). Character leads to hope, which Strong's Concordance says is a "joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation". I totally want that for my kids!
By only looking at that single page in the novel in which the characters are being developed we don't see the big picture. As a parent, only focusing on the times our kids don't make the best choices doesn't allow us to see the big picture either. These times will help our kids become the men and women God wants them to be. We need to help them see the lessons in the process. We also need to help them to see it is a process. This moment doesn't define them any more than it defines us. My kids are good kids that have made a bad choice. I am not a bad mom because they made a bad choice. (If so then MY mom would be the one passing the bad mom of the year award down to me!)
So momma's, hang in there. Keep praying, keep loving, keep being there for your kids. Help them to see the lessons in the consequences, but don't take away the consequences. That robs them of the lessons. You're doing just fine!
Until next time,