Wednesday, February 17, 2016

To the Parent of "that kid"

I'm not going to lie, I have a heavy heart tonight. Yes I haven't blogged in forever, and we have had many family adventures since I last wrote, but I want this to be helpful... Not only for others who may be going through adoption or foster or infertility, but for the parent who just feels at their breaking point and just needs to hear it from someone else... And also for myself. God and I have had many conversations lately and in the last 2 years that has changed my view on certain issues and that has really humbled myself. If we are being honest, this parenting thing is super hard. No parent would disagree to that. As another you are so in love with this being and yet you still have your human emotions of anger and disappointment and all that jazz that comes at you from their actions yet you love them so much it just hurts. Yes, this is hard. Super hard.

I guess I writing this to get what has been in my head out bc if it stays it's sure to be a danger to my storage capacity and will leak out of me in uncontrollable tears or crazy outbursts... I know I'm not the only one, right? I definitely don't need sympathy from writing this. No, "I'm so sorry hun," or "what happened? Is everything ok?"  Yes everything is still great. Hard as parenting is, I'm writing this bc of how I acted at the end of today... Uncontrollable tears and a push from my Heavenly Father that I should write this down. Maybe, just maybe, whatever your circumstance may be, you need to hear this (read it or whatever). Or maybe you know someone who needs to hear it. This is just my heart and the words my graciously wonderful God has given to me to share.

To the parent of "that kid",

I know, bc I am one, that no one ever thinks to themselves that they will have "that kid". You know the one who can't seem to stay out of the principals office or cheat or lie or kick their classmate or whatever. The one who is known over their campus or neighborhood as "that kid". I'm not labeling my children that, but they may have  we talk a lot about choices and free will in our house. It's what makes us different from robots- that God loved us so much that He gave us free will and died that we might choose to live with Him forever in Heaven. Choices. Such a hard concept as a child. Every child makes good and bad choices. It just seems that my child makes more of the not so good ones. No that child is not "bad". I would not ever call them that. They simply seem to forget how to decipher the best choice from the wrong in certain stressful situations. Stress. Hmm I have never experienced that said no adult ever. We can't blame ourselves for having "that kid", and we can't blame them either. They are kids after all. But what do we do as the one who is looked to as the responsible party to "fix" "that kid"?

First, we must never take such a heavy burden on our shoulders as parents. Yes parenting is tough and we are responsible for our children- to raise them up knowing right from wrong, to protect and provide for them, and to give them love- but we can't think that is it our job to save or fix our child. God has given us all a choice remember? They must go through the products and consequences of their choices. To keep them from such (trying to save them) would be to teach them the opposite- that they could do it again. I can't change my child's future for them, their future is shaped by their actions and must be allowed as such. I CAN pray for them and encourage them through love to make the best choices. Prayer is a big factor here.

Second, how we react to our child reflects how we are spiritually. Remember God got angry with the Isrealites and the Pharisees. But this righteous anger was balanced by Gods message of love and grace. There is a time for grace. There is a time to allow your child the opportunity to see that they will be taken "off the hook", but this should be outlined as a moment of grace. There is a time for sticking up for your child, when justifiably so and when kept in keeping of not sinning against your neighbor. There is a time then for punishment and anger - just remember not to punish out of anger. It is good for kids to learn the consequence of their choices. The real world won't sugar coat them so why do we?

Lastly, your child does not always have to be "that kid". You can't predict their future. You can't set your eyes on reviving him or her to be what you think they should be. But, you can be the best example for them. Tell them when you mess up and ask for forgiveness. Be real, an imperfect person who needs Gods grace and mercy and forgiveness. Model what the right response is to stress so they can hesr that and put it into practice. Never give up on them.

I am absolutely an amateur in this parenting thing. I put my kid to bed early tonight and hugged the other one so tightly, just letting my emotions come (I held it together until they too were in bed). I wanted so bad to have gone through the pain of labor for these kids, to have held them since their first breath, to have not missed out on 6 and 8 years of their being. But in that moment I hurt for my child who has turned into "that kid". Not out of sympathy but out of a love that reaches deeper than I could ever explain. One that hits the ground in the morning pleading for their futures and their here and nows to align with Christ and His purpose for them. So I lingered outside their rooms a little longer tonight and just breathed in my thankfulness for their presence in my home and then prayed for their spiritual wellbeing as best I know how. I know my kid will not be "that" one forever bc I have faith in something bigger. Till then, I will do my best to show grace, to react without over reacting, to not connect their choices to myself, and to be the best example I can be for their betterment.

Psalm 23:4
When I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.

Exodus 14:14a
The Lord will fight for you, just stay calm.