Things have been challenging around here lately. My son is testing the limits…surpassing the limits…and looking back from the other side of the limits and sticking his tongue out at me. I love him so deeply. It hurts so much for him to blatantly defy and disrespect me. It robs me of the joy that I have tried so desperately to celebrate this season.
I’ve thought, ‘Maybe I need to do more…to get my mind off of the aggravating behaviors…’, but I’m already committed to Sunday School, mission projects, the school play, the little one’s birthday next week, children’s choir… so, another commitment would probably just add more aggravation. More stress.
Maybe I need to spend time alone with God. Yes, that helps. Soothes my soul. Reminds me of my purpose. And allows me to hear him speak.
Which he did. He said, ‘Pray for him.’
Well, duh. The little guy has been fighting a cold recently and hasn’t been sleeping well which doesn’t excuse his behavior, but explains his short fuse. He’s told me that there’s a kid on the playground who always stirs others up, so their kickball game is repeatedly ruined by conflict. That’s a big deal for a second grader. He’s told me that he’s nervous about his speaking part in the upcoming school play. He’s excited but nervous. Again, that’s a big deal for a young fella.
Hmmm…pray for him.
Maybe, before we start arguing, we should start talking. And praying. Praying for health. Praying for classmates. Praying for enthusiasm and confidence. Praying for peace in our relationship together.
I feel like such a child myself, most days, about this parenting thing. Yes, I’m the adult, but that doesn’t mean I know what to do. So frustrating sometimes.
But today, I feel like Samuel, a kid with a big job…helping care for the temple and the priest. He couldn’t sleep one night because he kept hearing someone call him. It wasn’t Eli, the priest. You know the story, it was God. Samuel simply said, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’ God had an even bigger job for Samuel to do…deliver some bad news. But God remained with Samuel, even through this tough task.
Quite often, parenting involves delivering bad news to the kids. No, you can’t do that. No, we’re not going there. Nope, you’re too young. Not now, we don’t have the money for that. No sir, you are NOT allowed to say that. But we know that it’s for a greater reason…a greater joy…greater discipline that we’re saying these things, though it’s so difficult at that moment.
Parenting, what a ride. Joys and pains, highs and lows, wins and losses. But God is always with us…and he wants our kids to know that. How will they know it, unless we tell them? How will they know that we depend on God, unless they see us struggle and turn to him? We need to pray for them and with them.
Thank you, God, for drawing me near and teaching me this today.
(Here’s the Samuel story, in case you need a refresher… 1 Samuel 3)