He thought his text message to me was funny, I didn't see the humor in it.
"Did Dad tell you he caught me drinking last night? LOL"
My heart sunk & the tears welled up in my eyes. Yet again, my son was making choices that he didn't realize the dangerous nature of.
When my kids were young, I had (what I thought) an excellent plan to make sure we didn't go through what other parents went through when their kids became teenagers. It was all in the raising. It was all about what we allowed into our home and what we didn't. It was all about just how great of a mom I would be to my children.
Then my kids started growing up. It didn't take me long to realize that it wasn't all about me.
I didn't count on having a child whose desire for adventure would keep him in constant trouble.
I didn't know a child could break your heart so deeply.
My prayer life definitely took on a whole new life with this child.
It is this child that God has used to show me that I have no idea what I am doing! I have to ask for wisdom in how to raise this son of mine.
So, what is a mother to do when she has a child like this? I've learned a few things over the years.
Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains quiet. Proverbs 11:12
Be Quiet. Don't react to everything he does. It is really important for me to let natural consequences happen. When appropriate, consequences were given by us. But there were many times that if we just sit back & watch the natural consequences of his actions were a lot worse than anything we could have done.
For instance, when we lived in town our house was at the back of the subdivision. There was a field and a lot of trees back there. We told our boys over & over to not go back there. they were too young & we didn't know what all was back there. But our son never listened to it. Quickly we realized there was poison ivy back there. The first time he got poison ivy it wasn't too bad. The 5th time he got it was really serious. He didn't go back there for a really long time. Yes, he went back, but was much older & went back there with our neighbor.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
Listen. It is hard for me to listen, I want to fix. I always think there is something I will say that will magically change their behavior. My son doesn't come to me very often to talk, but when he does I have to work really hard to keep my mouth shut & ears wide open. We have had some of our best moments when I kept quiet and he talked. By me being quiet & listening, I am validating his feelings. I am telling him he is important to me even though he is driving me crazy! Sometimes I offer advice, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I ask him questions about what he has done, sometimes I don't need to because he has already figured out what he did wrong and how to make it right. What I do tell him is how much I love him. Our kids need to know that there is nothing they can do that make us stop loving them.
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.Lamentations 2:19
Pray. This is the most important of all. This is the thing you will do for your child that they may never understand or see you do. Sometimes this is all I can do because if I try to talk to my son I will react in a way that will do no good at all and will make him mad. There are several things I pray. I pray he will get caught in his sin. I pray he will be miserable in his sin. I pray that he will become desperate for God. I also pray for protection. When I pray for him, the Lord always softens my heart towards him. I'm not mad anymore and my love for my son only deepens.
"I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives he is lent to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:28
Give them to God...daily Moments after each of our children were born, my husband and I would pray together over our babies thanking God for them and dedicating them to God. No big public display is needed; just us, our baby and the Lord. But there are times when I forget this child actually belongs to the Lord. I begin to think that his future is in my hands and it is totally up to me how he turns out. It is during moments like this the Lord reminds me that this child is only a loan out. He belongs to the Lord and it is the Lord that has his future, not me. My son is considered an adult by society at this point of his life. His father and I have taught him all we knew to teach him. He is responsible for his choices.
I never realized how hard it would be to watch your child make bad choices over and over and to watch them learn things the hard way, but it is the right way. It is never easy to see your child in pain.
I have peace in my heart because it is the Providence of God playing out. If I can trust my God with my eternity, I can also trust him with my children. Though my son is walking a dangerous path now, I trust that the Lord has better days for him. I have to trust the Lord with my son. I know I can't do any better. I could never love my children more than the Lord loves them.
I try not to let my son's behavior embarrass me. I take it very personal when he acts the way he does. I know others look at me and think, "Maybe if she did_______ he wouldn't behave like that." His decisions are his own. We taught him right from wrong. We taught his what Scripture says about what God expects of us. He knows all of that. Once again, he belongs to the Lord.
So, I watch and pray and ask the Lord to use me in the lives of my children, knowing he may let them walk a path I would not have chosen but is necessary for them so they can fulfill his will for their lives.
All Scripture verses are from the ESV translation