Thursday, February 28, 2008

It Would Be Easier if I Didn't Love Him

Matthew has played a central role in a few of my most recent posts and several of you have commented that he sounds like a sweet little guy.
He is.
Believe me - he is!
Matthew has a precious heart, and I truly believe God hugs me, kisses me, and tells me He loves me through the arms and mouth of that little boy. And in moments like this one - when the house is empty and quiet (except for the squeaking of the rats' wheel - note to self: oil that wheel!) and I have just enjoyed our morning pilgrimage - it is easy for me to love Matthew. I am peaceful, rested and filled with good feelings for him, and loving Matthew makes perfect sense to me.

Ahhh - this is good!

The problem, I have determined, is I still love Matthew when my surroundings are chaotic (often because of his behavior...), when my nerves are shot and I am weary (often as a result of his behavior...), and when my feelings about him are far from "good" (again, his behavior...).
At times like this, if I didn't love Matthew it would be OK with me to yell back at him. I wouldn't mind that we aren't dealing peacefully with each other. It wouldn't matter to me whether or not he learns how to respect authority and develop self-control. If I didn't love Matthew, I wouldn't be concerned about his feelings or the person he is growing up to be and this whole mothering thing would be a lot easier.

But I do love him, and I am concerned.

There are those who would suggest I "choose my battles" and avoid those situations which provoke the undesirable behaviors. Good advice, when it's possible to follow. Unfortunately, homework, showers, and waking in the morning to get ready for school are unavoidable events and I refuse to let him pass on chores. Since those are the events which typically bring on Matthew's undesirable behavior, I see no way to get around it.
I am suddenly thinking of the chant we used to do as kids...Goin' on a bear hunt, comin' to a field. Can't go under it. Can't jump over it. Can't get around it. Gotta go through it. Swish, swish, swish...Did you sit around campfires reciting this "song," too?

OK, back to 2008!

I see no way to get around Matthew's fits, so I guess I gotta go through it. And since I do love him and I am concerned about my son and who he is becoming, I am willing to walk this road - even though it won't be easy.
This morning I sat at the table eating my cereal while Matthew stormed to his room to get dressed, and I prayed. I asked God to calm my heart and Matthew's. I asked Him to show me how to deal peacefully with Matthew, and I asked Him to help me see the reason for his outbursts. If there is something I can do to help this child develop self-control I want to do it, and I need God to lead me.
My need for God is the major thing I have realized in mothering. On my own I will fail, and all the money in the world won't pay for the therapy my kids will need to "get fixed." But I know God is with me every moment of every day - as He is with you! He is loving me, shaping me, teaching and guiding me. He will give me the grace I need to make it through. God is the one Who has placed this love for my children in me, and I know He won't leave me alone to navigate through this life alone.

So, friend, how does this post intersect with your life today? Is there a particular situation or relationship which came to your mind when I started talking about can't get around it, gotta go through it? Is there something about which you could say, It would be easier if...?
My prayer today is you will be convinced God loves you and He knows what He is doing. I believe He will use your hard times to refine you and make you beautiful. May you find HOPE in this reality.
I pray you will also recognize His presence with you today. I am asking God to reaveal Himself to you - that you may know He is with you in every moment, loving and caring for you perfectly. And in this Truth, I pray you may experience JOY.

Call on Him, friend. He is faithful!

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Corrie said...

I'm so thankful that God will get us through a situation like that...sometimes I know that he is the ONLY reason that I have the peace and self-control not to shout back, etc.
Hope you have a great day, Karen. I always enjoy your blog.

luvmy4sons said...

Amen dear sister. I can SO relate. I home school four sons and two have moderate to severe learning disabilities. Keeping them on task and getting through our school day at times taxes me greatly. I love how you depend on the Lord and remember what is truly important. Be sure to check out my blog tomorrow as I am posting on a particularly difficult moment I had with my youngest. I wish I could say I faired as well as you...LOL! Hugs!

freetofly said...

Karen, I am remiss! I am going to look up the authors and books titles we spoke of! Not that they ultimately "fix" everything or anything...but, they DO help! :)

Your post today again reflects some thoughts i had today, most of them came out in a comment I made...but, anywho! I so appreciate your prayers for us all!

You know, I don't think I had any hope of coming to the Lord outside of motherhood! You are correct! It does cause us to depend and rely on Him!

Thank you!

realworldmartha said...

What a terrific post but encouraging one as well. It's so often that we get so much advise that really it may just be a valley that we have to go through to get to the other side not avoid it all together. I thought of our struggles with our adopted son who has so many emotional challenges. We must just simply go through it!

3 boys club said...

My three year old's favorite words of late are "you're not the BOSS of me". To me. He says it to me, his mother, the one that was sick the entire nine and a half months, the one who endured agonizing labor pains for hours and hours on end all to end up with a gaping wound and stainless steal staples. I love him and care for him and do my best to keep him safe. (I've started taking pictures of all the trouble I find him in just so I have proof for people who don't believe me that three is WAY worse than two.) I do all this to teach him respect, to love God and his family (especially his brothers), and grow up so he can be a productive member of society, and maybe once in a while tell me what a good mom I am.
I love my sons, and because I love them, "I teach them the ways of the Lord so that when they grow up, they will not depart from them."
So I am going through it, daily, and thank God I have you to share my thoughts with and to ground me and remind me why I want to keep going through it.

Coach J said...

Oh, yes!! It would be easier if we didn't love them. I'm going through something with my daughter on how to pick the best friends and how to be a good friend and how to let the "popular" girls go if they aren't good friends. Sigh. It's so hard. Because this is a battle that has serious repercussions (did I spell that right?) if it's not won. God will help us help them through it!

kreed said...

Gotta go through it, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about it! At least that is how I feel on my crazy days!

I actually got the bear hunt kids book from the library recently...totally relived my childhood camping trips as we read it!

Happyhome said...

Our oldest is roaring straight toward puberty and we're beginning to see changes in attitudes, etc. Not that I think these are inevitable, but I have come to realize something. How we make it through the teen years is going to be largely dependant on our reaction as parents. How will we respond when situations arise? If I respond out of the flesh, I will most certainly respond harshly and sarcastically...ouch! Instead, I pray I will respond according to the Holy Spirit working through me to love my kids. Sounds easy enough? If it weren't for my flesh rearing it's ugly head and wanting to snap back, it might just be easy!

Thanks for the encouragement from your own journey. Have a blessed day!

Mississippi Songbird said...

This post touched me. Thank you .I am dealing with similar behavior with my teen son and some from my pre-teen daughter. My husband and their father is an OTR trucker and gone most of the week. It is so hard. They used to be so sweet adn kind and then as they got to the tween years, all of the sudden, I don't know anything.. I pray that God give me the strength to get them raised as loving, kind adults. They hear unkindness at school( we cannot afford a private school and I have to work). I get off work when they are home from school.. Please pray for me too..
I enjoyed your blog.Thanks again for sharing.