Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Give It To The Lord

I just have to start by saying this parenting gig is hard.  Lately, I have felt like it is kicking my butt.

Last year, I had the opportunity to be a part of a panel speaking and answering questions at a MOPs meeting.  I had a particularly hard morning leading up to that time and we feeling pretty fed up with my older kids.  I was talking to Rick on the phone right before the meeting when he asked me what I was going to share with these moms of preschoolers.  My answer, "Suck it up ladies, it only gets harder!"

Now, I know that would not have been the most encouraging message, but I have had many days where I have felt that way.  Don't get wrong, I KNOW that dealing with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers is HARD WORK!  I have done it 6 times over.  The problem is that I was comfortable in that stage.  I love babies, I think toddlers and preschoolers are adorable, and I feel like I am good mom to them.  I know how to potty train, deal with temper tantrums, make baby food, and love and nurture little ones.

The stakes feel like they are so much higher with my bigger kids.  We are only a few years into this tween/teenager thing, but I already feel like I have messed it up in so many ways.  I am a pretty black and white, justice-oriented kind of person.  That works really well with little kids.  I can say, "I'm the boss" and hold them to that.  I can demand respect and discipline for those times that they rebel.  Heck, I can put them down for a nap when all else fails.  Those methods don't quite work with bigger kids.

There is this ongoing struggle in my head and my heart to know when to lay down the law and when to  show grace for the sake of the relationship.  Grace is not something I am able to give very freely.  I either feel like I am being taken advantage of, giving in, or not teaching my kids "how the real world works."  Rick on the other had is a grace philanthropist.  He just gives it out so freely, without hesitation or concern that it will be unappreciated.  It sickens me actually, both because it is so easy for him and because I just can't figure out how to develop that aspect of my life.

You see, I see older teens and adults all around me that just don't get it.  They think life is all about them, and they will do whatever they have to in order to get what they want.  I shudder to think that my kids could turn out that way.  There is this drive in me to create exemplary citizens and people who contribute positively to society.

I have been having these battles with my kids over the way they treat each other, the words that come out of their mouths, and the way they interact with me.  Some days, I am really scared about how they will "turn out."

Then, I realized today that I have this whole thing wrong.  They have choices to make.  I can guide them and teach them.  I have spent the last 14 years doing that.  At some point, I have to give it to the Lord.  I have continue to fulfill my responsibility, but I do not have control.  They have to choose.

So, where does that leave me?  ON. MY. KNEES.  before God begging Him to intervene in their lives, trusting Him to teach them in ways that I can't, and praying daily that He will give me the wisdom to know when and how to give grace and when to draw the line.

Oh, I am going to have 17 years of parenting teenagers so I should be an expert by the time this is over, a really exhausted expert.  I wouldn't trade this calling for anything.  I am grateful to be a mom and blessed to have these 6 kids.  Today, I am feeling the weight of all that it means.  I want to do it well.  I want to be in my kids' lives and give them the space they need to grow and choose on their own.

Today, I must give it to the Lord, AGAIN!!


  1. Girl!!!! I echo so many of your thoughts here. We must plan a coffee date and strategize. Smile. Better yet, pray. Are you on?

  2. Laura, as mine get older, I can't help but thinking the same thing. My oldest is only 7, but I have told friends with very young ones that that the difference is that the stress of the overwhelming work that comes along with babies gets replaced by this new stress. The physical work is lessened, but the mental work increases. Suddenly you have to help them become good people and you have no actual control over the choices that they make. You have no tangible measure of how good of a job you are doing. When they are little, there are all of these developmental and behavioral milestones. Then it all becomes nebulous and you think and pray "They may not be a better person today than they were yesterday... but I am pretty sure that it isn't my fault. Lord, help them. and me."

  3. As the parent of 4 teens (well,one is ALMOST) and 2 more about to arrive, all I can say is that on your knees is the best place to be. He is the only one that can change their hearts and attitudes, and He DOES! We need to continue to train and teach, but the hard part is taking the emotion out of it. God has been showing me that the older my kids get, the more I unintentionally default to using my emotions to manipulate their behavior. Ugly. But God's grace is abundant, and He's using my kids to refine me way more than He is using me to teach them. Ah, the process of sanctification. Wish is could be easier. But so thankful He loves me enough to change me.

  4. i shouldn't be amazed, but i AM! i was JUST saying this to my mom! that i like LITTLE kids better, things are black and white, parenting older kids is SO SO much more exhausting to me. i thought the little ones were supposed to be harder?!? ahh!!! feeling in WAY over my head and we are only beginning! so funny that you posted this. how i wish (again and again!) that we lived closer!!