Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Hardest Job On The Planet

Over the last few weeks, I have had several moms ask me questions about parenting their children toward godliness. Questions like, "Will he ever GET it?" and "Why does she do the opposite of what we're training her to do?" or "Am I going to be repeating this stuff to them over and over for the next 20-something years?"  I've shared my heart about moms needing other moms before, here, and about the constant tweaking and adjusting that we do here The Gang's house, here and here and here and here.

But today, as further encouragement to keep seeking out some godly moms to join you in your journey, I want to share some excerpts of a note. It's a note I sent to a young mom who was despairing over her daughter's unwise choices. Choices that go against what Mom and Dad are teaching in the home. I share it not to say that my advice is "da bomb" or anything like that. I share it, because as I was writing it out to her, I realized that I needed to be reading it to myself. I needed the refresher and the "shot in the arm" to keep doing what I know is the right thing to do.  I hope it does the same for you!
The most important thing is to NOT GROW WEARY in doing well. Try to find a way (I'm sometimes still looking!) to be okay with the repetition and the consistency. Keep correcting her, reminding her of Jesus' way of living, speaking, relating. In these younger years, it is so important to keep on, keepin' on. To say it a million times a day if you have to. And believe me, sometimes you have to.
Another thing is to LOOK FOR the things that she is doing right, doing well. Applaud them, draw them out, seek them out. Make sure she knows that you value her wiring and her temperament - even if it's hard for you to naturally do so. If you go back to my blog and read the "Respect the Wiring" series I did about Dr. D, you'll see that I struggle sometimes to "get him." He's way different than me and I have a hard time letting him "be himself" sometimes. But it's how God made him and to try and change his foundational wiring would short-circuit our relationship AND his growth toward the Lord.
A third thing to consider is that this is a life-time process. You are in this for the long haul, adjusting and tweaking and weeding through character and spiritual growth with her for at least the next 12-14 years.... Be easy on yourself, and be easy on her with that view in mind. Don't be easy on the sin, but also don't expect that she will see it as sin, repent, put it to death forever and never struggle again. It's a process for her as much as it is for ANY BELIEVER. Help her understand that Jesus wants to rule her heart and mind but that she will sometimes throw Him off the throne JUST LIKE MOMMY DOES SOMETIMES. She needs to know that you are in process too.
Finally, hang in there. Get some support - your hubby, another Mom who is a little farther along in the mommy journey than you, your mom, whatever you can find. Someone that will pray for you, pray with you, and encourage you. ENCOURAGE YOU! Too often, we surround ourselves with folks who will pray for us, but then will also "hold us accountable" in a manner that is burdensome or condemning. Steer clear and find someone who will be your cheerleader. For example, I had "Momma T" - always telling me how great I was doing, that I was gonna make it, that I had great kids and a good foundation going. It charged me and fueled me and refreshed me. As opposed to some of my "peer mommy" friends who just joined in the despair and disappointment that I was expressing with their own tales of woe. Not that those friendships aren't important but I needed her as a counter-balance.
Hang in there. I suspect that you are doing a far better job of loving her and filling her with The Word and the Love of The Father than you think. You come from a great heritage, and so does she. It will play out and she will be a strong godly woman. The Word promises it.


Cindi Campbell said...

I am in the midst of this with a middle child and we are fresh out of ideas as how to move her out of these difficult days and nights. But I have to remember that His mercies are new every morning and so I get up and start again.....

Aus said...

Y'all are pretty smart!! I think that maybe the most important thing is for us (as parents - in particular of older kids and even adults) to remember that eventually the kids will be making the choices without further input and it will be up to us to accept and love as unconditionally as the Father loves us. That's a part of His lesson - when His Son was trashing the temple in a fit of rage He was loved by His Father. When His Son was begging in the garden to skip the next part (and showing us exactly what it means to be a weak human) He was being loved by His Father. When He was being a flippant teen to his human mother (wedding feast "woman it's not yet My time" wise crack) He was being loved by His Father...the list goes on....

But sometimes as that dad of the adult kids - it's oh so hard until they come back!

hugs - aus and co.