Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What I'm Still Learning

Oh, how the LORD brings these lessons home!

It was last Friday. I had just finished recording yesterday's devotion, talking about loving well. I was fully convinced that imperfections and unfulfilled plans could be overshadowed - even wiped out - when we love well. When we let the love of God flow through us onto the people we're serving. Though I was tired, I was still on a high from the great week I'd just had and I felt like all was right with the world.


Joshua and I had an unpleasant encounter.
He was angry with me for making him come home from his friend's house so I could take him to mow a lawn. Never mind that he knew ahead of time he needed to mow the lawn Friday afternoon. Never mind that he gets $20 every time he mows this lawn. He was having fun with his friends and he didn't want to come home.
But I insisted. He made a commitment and we were going to fulfill it. So in his eyes, I was responsible for - and I quote - "ruining his day."
At one point I asked Joshua why he seemed to prefer his friends so much over his family. (Yeah. That was a dumb question. An invitation for lots of words I didn't want to hear. *sigh*) I got an ear full with his response. And I began wondering if this is simply part of a phase he's going through.
Or if I am doing something terribly wrong as a mother.
I wanted to know what I need to do differently.
Wanted to understand my son and make this situation 'all better' so he would be happy and I would be peaceful.

Because the trend we were on was clearly not the course I had planned.

I thought about the lesson I learned in VBS, the words I'd just spoken in the video, and I asked, God, how am I supposed to love him well when he doesn't even want to be here? How can I possibly love him well when he's pushing me away so hard?
And the key Bible verse of the week rang through my mind:

If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask of God who gives to all generously and without criticizing and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Yes, LORD. I'm asking for wisdom - because I lack it. I do not know what to do. But I know YOU know this boy. You created him - You knit him together in my womb. You know everything about him. Please show me how to love him well. Even when things aren't going the way I planned.



luvmy4sons said...

Heavy sigh. Why? Because I know. Or at least reading your post it sounds all too familiar. You are more grace filled than I am though. I usually just quietly remind them that life is made of difficult choices and sometimes we have to do what me must not what we want.

I have one son in particular who seems to be more oriented to being with friends than his older two brothers were at his age. It can be quite hurtful. But having gone through transitions with his older brothers I am just remaining quiet, praying a lot, asking for wisdom-just like you. Once again wish we could sit down and talk over a cup of joe. *wink*

Great big hug to you sister. One day you just might get him to tell you how great you are. My eldest has done that a few times since he has left home. He will be 21 in September. So it takes a bit of time before they see it! LOL! Hug.

Patricia/NYC said...

Oh my, Karen, it seems that you & I are often at that very same place. Although my daughter is young yet for the "friends" thing, it has been such a rough go of it with her lately & just yesterday I felt so down about it all. I felt like the world's worst mom and last night, I opened my Bible, cried & asked for wisdom...not sure if I got any just yet, lol, but today is off to a better start at least.

Thanks for your honesty & for this safe forum to express our thoughts & feelings. This motherhood journey is chock full of bumpy roads, that's for sure!!

Hugs, my friend!!

Irritable Mother said...

Leslie - I was *this close* to hunting down your phone number last Friday so I could talk this through with you. I knew you would understand.
I waver between 'This is a phase. He'll grow out of it, and one day he'll thank me for everything I did.' and 'I can't let him grow up this way. I have to give him guidance now or he'll be ruined as an adult.'
Trusting in the Lord with all my heart. Not leaning on my own understanding. And thankful for friends like you who encourage me!

Patricia - "Opened my Bible, cried & asked for wisdom" Yes, indeed. We are often at the very same place - because I have been right there so many times! But I know that is the only place I can go in order for all of us (my kids AND me) to survive this thing we call motherhood.
I love that we can all share our thoughts and feelings here. It's good to be in this together.

gianna said...

I hate when people say, "you are such a great mom." They are trying to encourage you, but that means nothing when you are going through moments/extended periods of time of failure. When they are yelling at you for being the worst mom ever or when you realize you have just SQUASHED your oldest's creativity AGAIN because you were impatient with her (this never happens to me!), those words mean nothing. And you know what? They shouldn't have any meaning. I am NOT "a good mom." I am a forgiven mom who has the power of Jesus Christ living in me. It's not about what I do at all. It's about being chosen by God to parent this child and about being faithful to that calling. And ONLY by his grace, and not how good of a mom I am, will our children grow.
Joshua is trying to hurt you and hurt you badly! But it's not up to YOU to change him or convince him that his family is important. YOUR role is to be faithful to God's calling as his mom and run to God when he is being so hurtful (after you explain to him that his words are hurtful, of course).

I love you Karen, and I hope that didn't sound like I know everything because I totally don't. I just think that people should stop calling me a good mom. Because it's not about ME being a good mom. It's about God being a good God and not letting my failures ruin my kids.

And Joshua doesn't know what he's missing when he's trying to "destroy" his relationship with you. He could be enjoying time with someone who loves him so deeply. Oh, well. One day he will understand!

Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - I LOVE YOU!

Sara K. said...

Aw, Karen... I'm sorry to hear about your hard day on Friday with your son. It's not easy choosing to hold your son accountable to his commitment to mow, when you know he's going to balk and be angry at you for it. I do believe, though, that someday he'll be saying, "My mom always insisted we stay faithful to our commitments." And he'll be glad.

And even though he seems to think he prefers his friends over his family, I don't think we really know our own hearts very well at that age. Sure, friends are fun, but are they as loyal as the day is long, loving unconditionally, like his family does? Again, someday he'll get it. Maybe sooner rather than later! ;) wink

Love you, Karen!

Gianna -- that was really profound -- thank you for sharing that!

Irritable Mother said...

Sara - "I don't think we really know our own hearts very well at that age." I think you're right. And that gives me hope.
The kicker for me is that I want to and need to love Joshua in the moment. It is so tempting to hold out for 'some day' and hope I'll be peaceful with him then. But I don't want to miss out on the days between now and then - and risk losing the 'then' because I wasn't present and loving in the 'now'. Know what I mean?
Thanks for your encouraging words!