Sunday, June 21, 2015

Parenting IS Hard

So, I skipped church today.  I sit here writing this, fully dressed for church.  Hair done, make-up(I don't really wear a lot but what little I do wear is there.), ready for a day with my peeps.  But, I couldn't do it.  I fought with my youngest on the way in. We had unkind words...mostly mine. I brought us home and I just.could.not.  I literally could. not. even.  My oldest took herself and her sisters.  Erik is at another church.  I feel overwhelmed.

My cup overfloweth with blessings. And stress.  My kids are growing up and I am no longer in control in any way. When your kids are young, there is this illusion that you are in control.  You determine leave times. destinations, wardrobes, bedtimes and a whole other host of things that make your existence one that is of your own creation and overall, very pleasant.  Kids mostly do what they are told and life is pretty sweet.

Fast forward to the present...I am not in control.  AND, it kind of feels like no one else is either.  I know that ultimately, God is in control.  BUT, the DEVIL is in the details.  I know he seeks to devour and destroy.  I know my family is not an exception.  I know he is happy I stayed home today.  There are just times when I can't do it.  When 'one more thing' is one thing too many.

So, I sit here this morning.  Putting it into words how this 'kids growing up' thing is hard.  I have loved being a mother.  I have poured my heart and soul into my kids.  I have tried to live like I know God wants me to.  I have been talking to them about the really important stuff: sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, spirituality, etc-all of their lives.  There wasn't THE TALK, there was always just open dialogue.  This is still true.  I've tried to be an example.  I've tried to break the chain of generational sins.  I've tried to do the very best that I know how.

As I write this, all I can think is: Was it enough?  Was I too busy? Was I so focused on giving my kids what I didn't get that I missed giving them what THEY really needed?  Have I damaged them? Am I a good mom?  Will my children rise up and call me blessed?  God gives me new mercies every morning...but do my children?  Do I give them new mercies?  Have I smothered them?  Have I given them room to move, grow and become who God needs them to be?

The ultimate question: Have I been a good mom to them?  I assume it haunts every mother, it haunts me.  I obsess on it daily.  It pummels me from too many directions.  I secretly need validation from everyone, anyone, Dr. Phil.  It is surely a tool of the devil.  He loves it when I question things.  He loves my fear and pounces on my weaknesses.  He loves pride almost as much as humiliation.  He firmly plants himself in both.

My conclusions?  I am not good enough.  I will never be enough.  I can't save my children.  That is what Jesus died to be. (Hat tip Sara Matheny...this TRUTH I cling to!) I am perfectly flawed.  The kind of flawed that, no doubt, has done some damage to my kids.  Hopefully, some counseling, growing up and introspection will get them over it.  However, I have done the very best I could.  Like my mother before me did the best she could.  One day, if they decide to, my kids will also do the best they can with their own kids.  We are not striving for perfection.  We are striving for loving, feeling, compassionate offspring that try to find their own way in their own way. Erik and I were the very best parents we knew how to be.  We took our personal examples, examples around us and we muddled through.  Muddled.  It's the best word.  We didn't know exactly what to do and we still don't.  BUT, we LOVE our kids.  We love them so much that it hurts to the bone.  We are brought to tears by their successes and failures, by our successes and failures.  We are brought to tears by their possible futures...the good and bad things we contrive in our heads.  We are brought to tears by the thought that they could move on and be okay without us.  We are brought to tears by the thought that they could rely on us too much and not be independent.  We are brought to tears by the fact that they...ARE GROWING UP.

It all seems a little too much.  Too fast, too soon, too emotional, too scary, too real, too happy, too exciting...really too much.

And so this Father's Day, I sit in my quiet house and TRUST.  I trust that God has a plan for each one of the people in my family. I TRUST that it might not always look like I want it to and that won't make it bad.  I TRUST that God will prepare me, has in fact, already prepared me for whatever our future holds.  I am blessed to be part of the journey of the four people I share space with in this home.  Please, God, help me to remember it is a blessing.  AND, I am not in control.  GOD IS IN CONTROL, not me.  My job is to LOVE MYSELF and LOVE OTHERS.

Having children has changed me so much for the better.  I can't even imagine life without them.  God gives such wonderful gifts that make us better people.  Thank you, God, for the blessing of being called Mom by Erika, Kayla and Lilly.  Thank you, God, for giving me Erik to share life and this wild roller coaster ride of parenting with.  Life is good, even when it is hard and I feel overwhelmed by everything.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.