Confession: I am not a normal mother. I work with middle schoolers and their parents, I get asked many times in a week “What do normal moms do?” I am the wrong person to ask, I am not a normal mother. I tell them what I would do, but I then remind them that I am NOT a normal mother.
I was asked this question recently, by a mother who was completely unsure of her next step. I felt such compassion for her. I knew her state of mind. I have been there many times. She was filled with confusion, frustration, panic, exasperation, and ultimately LOVE as a result of her child’s behavior. Many times, as parents, we are filled with such emotion as our children push us to limits we never knew possible. We watch in disbelief, some days, as they chart a course for themselves outside of what we desire for them and ultimately what we know God desires for them. I often fight the urge to push them into the direction I believe they should be pursuing. I fight the urge to threaten, bribe, manipulate, or shame them into a productive and hopefully successful direction.
I’m learning from my Heavenly Father, that often when I am in sin, I need to hear words of love and courage rather than words of shame and fear. I am already fearful that I am not good enough, strong enough, or just ENOUGH. That fear leads me to do some pretty stupid things. Romans 2:4 reminds me that HIS LOVE is meant to woo me to repentance. My heart is often hard and set on sin and God’s response is LOVE.
Too often, I forget that my children are no different. When they are in sin, they do not need yet another voice speaking words of guilt and shame. They do not need my voice creating fear in their hearts. It could possibly be that they are already fearful and that fear has created a perfect incubation room for sin. Should I not respond to them with love? If I am to reflect God’s love to them, should I not strive to respond as He does? These are the things I think about when I’m ready to throw in the towel and call it quits on the parenting gig. My goal response is prayer and love. I don’t always reach my goal, but it’s a goal I am learning to reach for more often.
I could go on and on about this topic, but I will spare you. If you have questions about how we deal with things, please ask us. We don’t have this parenting thing all sorted but we are finding some victories as a family and we would love to share our stories in the hopes that you gain some nuggets of usefulness from our lives.
Until the next confession…