“My kids are doing a really good job of raising themselves.”

Yes.  You read that correctly and yes, those words did actually come out of my mouth.  The scary thing is that I really meant them.  I said this after our son decided (all on his own) in 8th grade that he wasn’t dating anyone until Sophomore year. A self-imposed dating ban that I have grabbed a hold of and remind him of from time to time.  But he had decided that he didn’t want the pressures of dating and that there was plenty of time for that down the road. Huh?!  Now you are beginning to have an understanding of why I said what I said.

Never, have I ever felt so wholly unequipped to do a job.  My husband and I have had this conversation many times.  I look at these two growing, maturing people that God has blessed me with and I am in awe and totally in over my head. I believe that this is part of God’s plan. We need God’s help and guidance in this if we are going to get it right.  And we don’t always get it right but we have learned to own up to our mistakes, apologize and ask forgiveness, especially as parents.  Humbling ourselves before God and our kids.  You don’t have to be perfect in our house, just forgiving.

I have learned (and re-learned in some cases) so much for and from my kids. Algebra, sentence diagramming, and then there is this…”Hey mom, what do a deaf person’s thoughts sound like?  Our thoughts are framed in our minds as spoken words but if you have never heard words how could you form a thought?” Wait, what? You cannot ask me this question at 9:30 at night when my brain is mush and expect me to wrap my mind around it let alone have an answer.  And then, “Well, what about colors?  I see the trees in what I call green, but what if my green looks like your purple?  We would never know because it’s what I have always called green and you have always called purple.”  Heaven help me…I’ve got nothing.  We’re just going to have to Google it.  When I do this…when I listen, look up, teach, I am giving them my time, my attention.  Even if I don’t have the answers I am giving them something of me

kidsHere is where this gets bigger, they don’t realize this but they are constantly pushing me to be a better version of myself. I think of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” They are causing me to dig deeper, to be on my face in front of God begging Him to make me the mother they need and constantly laying them down before Him.  Let me tell you, as a parent, for me, this is where it begins and ends, at the foot of the throne.  Without God, all of my talking, preaching, begging, and cajoling will amount to nothing.

…we need to intercede for our children.  Pray that they will make the right friends and the right choices.  Pray that their conscience will keep them on the straight and narrow.  Pray that they won’t just survive; pray that they will thrive.  If your kids have a difficult time discerning or doing the will of God, you may even have to agonize in prayer for them like Jesus did in Gethsemane.  This kind of prayer is part of parenting.  You’ve got to pay the price – and the price is blood, sweat, and tears. (Praying Circles around Your Children, Mark Batterson, emphasis mine)(This, by the way, is a great short read)

I admit that I don’t feel like I know what I am doing.  I feel like I am making this up as I am going so please don’t mistake this for an attempt at parenting advice.  I have always, always sworn that is one topic I would avoid other than to say, get on your knees.  That’s all I’ve got.  With God as our guide I can assure you we will stumble and bumble our way to adulthood.  I don’t know what struggles or obstacles lie ahead of us only that they do.  Those uncertain, scary days may be where you find yourself on this journey, and I again go to the words of Mark Batterson for a reminder of encouragement.

Even when things look hopeless and you feel helpless, you need to keep circling the promises of God.  I’m not saying that God will override the free will of our children, but He can do a miracle in their hearts…Is there a lot of healing that must still take place?  Absolutely.  You don’t solve ten years of problems in ten minutes or ten days.  I’m not saying that God cannot bring immediate healing or instantaneous deliverance, but we often have to get out of problems the way we got into them – one step at a time.  Prayer is the first step.  And that one small step can turn into a giant leap.

A child should never be tormented by things as nebulous as their own thoughts.  That is where our daughter found herself this past summer and her torment absolutely shredded my heart.  She faced down her own personal demons through massive amounts of prayer and support and hand-holding (both hers and ours.)  She wrote these words to me which are an encouragement that it’s the little things that are making a difference.  We don’t have to be superhero parents…offer an ear, a hug, let them know they are loved and that they are being prayed for.  My kids are they way they are by the grace of God, despite my inadequacies.

Mom, you have all the qualities that make a great mother and your hard works makes you an even greater mom.  You have the warmest hug ever.  I will always need you and you will always be there for me.  You pray for me to live a good Christian life and you show me how to live a good Christian life.  When I see you smile, I always feel better.  You have loved me, and will continue to love me for years to come.  You have always given me kisses no matter what.  You are such a beautiful woman and I want to grow up to be just like you…

Blood, sweat, and many, many tears.  God is doing an amazing work. My kids are doing a really good job of raising themselves.  And, me? Well, I am just thankful to have a front row seat in all of it. (My husband says he is thankful to have not been thrown out of the theater for throwing popcorn at the screen.)

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