Over the years I have written many blogs about the joys and difficulties raising my son.
I tell you we just went through a really tough week in our household. It was one of the most painful things we have ever had to do. Necessary, but hard. I truly don't know what the future holds...but right now I am relieved and hopeful. As a woman you think through the 99 possible worst case scenarios. Happy to say, none of them came true (yet).
I want to write this because I am feeling strongly convicted to share my struggle. Mostly because I had bought a lie. I want to dispel the rumors and give hope.
See, I was not raised in a Christian home. I always felt I had a relationship with God, but as a teenager I accepted Him in a traditional churchy sense and walked an aisle and was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean. It was a church youth camp and when I went home from that camp literally nothing about my life changed. I went on the get pregnant as a teenager, enter bars with a fake ID and get pregnant out of wedlock again. I eventually married and our marriage was tumultuous at first. Now here's the thing: I still felt like I had a relationship with God through all those times. A literal, palpable relationship where I felt like He showed me things. Was I following His ways, no. Did I love God, yes. I wanted God, but didn't know how to be a follower.
Fast forward...God RADICALLY changed my marriage. He changed me. It was crazy I tell you.
So my son was very young when the change happened. He was too young to remember any of the bad; though he grew up hearing about it because we are very open with our kids about our life. Our son was in preschool sunday school, children's church, Kids ROCK, youth ministry, started his own ministry, and then was in the worship band. He is your basic church kid.
So why all the background? Well, to set the stage.
The lie I bought was believing that if you raised your kids in church they would grow up to be mature Christians.
Sometimes does that happen...yes. I read mothers share about their devoted children and I sigh and think... what if.
Will it happen with my son? I believe so...just not yet. Scripture promises Train them in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. I think I believed old, old like not a kid, I think it's OLD. lol Would I want my son to be a 100% devoted follower, of course, but THEN I would miss getting to walk out this true, authentic, beautiful, painful process with my son. It's as much a process for me as it is for him.
My son has basically bucked all the values we have raised him to have. I am shocked at how well I have taken it. I mean at first I thought I was going to die. Weeped and sobbed. Then I realized it was Godship for me to try and control my son. He was about 16 at the time. (side note-you can click the "Son" label on the side to see past posts)
He is now 19, soon-to-be 20...and he has done many things. He feels like he is the worst son, which breaks my heart. He says, I am not like your perfect daughter. (oh he doesn't know) What I do know, he will understand it more clearly when he's older. We do not see him the way he sees himself.
As I share, please know I am sharing to empower and give hope to other parents. I am NOT knocking what my son is going through. I absolutely believe it to be part of the process.
I haven't shared with many people what I have been going through because I believe they look at situations through the same distorted lenses I once viewed life through. I do not want people to judge him for what he's going through. I don't want the pity. Ridiculous.
See the more I think about it...the great men of God, David, Paul, Peter, to name a few...were not model citizens. lol
I mean really think about it.
My son has a calling on his life. We all do. Living the nice little Christian life we have lived has not driven my son to have a need for God. I believe that God has a plan.
As hard as it is to warn, teach, talk through, share experience and then watch you son do the VERY thing you told him not to do is...he will learn the lessons on his own. The hard way.
God needs all kinds of people for His kingdom. I am thankful for the hope that Christ has given me regarding my son.
I am thankful to have the past I have, it's easy to look where he is and understand.
We are trying to live grace for him. Show mercy. Be an example of patience and love. We are taking this opportunity to be the gospel to him.
I can't just say "he should know better" because I know better and still fail God on the regular.
This is SO much more about me, and my response to him...than about getting him to act in acceptable ways. I can't change him. Can NOT!
He has holes, hurts, and heartache. He doesn't know how to move forward and feel stuck. He feels rejected and abandoned. He has so much anger it is ridiculous.
I HIGHLY recommend reading the following article: 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child
5. Welcome them home.Because the deepest concern is not your child’s actions, but his heart, don’t create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums: “Don’t come to this house if you are...” But these will be rare. Don’t lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by too many rules.
If your daughter smells like weed or an ashtray, spray her jacket with Febreze and change the sheets when she leaves, but let her come home. If you find out she’s pregnant, then buy her folic acid, take her to her twenty-week ultrasound, protect her from Planned Parenthood, and by all means let her come home. If your son is broke because he spent all the money you lent him on loose women and ritzy liquor, then forgive his debt as you’ve been forgiven, don’t give him any more money, and let him come home. If he hasn’t been around for a week and a half because he’s been staying at his girlfriend’s—or boyfriend’s—apartment, plead with him not to go back, and let him come home.
This is in no way a deep theological blog. It's just thoughts (the ones I have time to write) from a struggling mom.
Mostly I want my son to be able to look back and know we loved him through his struggle with life. We trusted God more than ourselves. We love every thing about our son because it shows us how to love ourselves. We really do love him. Every thing we do, is for love.
Pray for us.