This was suppose to be the first day of talking about books that have left an impression on me. My heart however is heavy for another topic about which no book(except maybe THE BOOK) can really teach, at least not one I know of . If you do know of one please share.
How do we carry the burdens of our children without being broken by them, how do we love them without enabling them? How do we support them even when they screw up? And how am I suppose to keep my cool when someone acts unjustly or unfairly towards them?
One day when my oldest was about 8 years old we were at the pool. I had his younger brother at the baby pool while I kept the older in sight. At one point he came over and said some kids were bothering him and I think I told him to just stay way from them. Somehow though he got tangled up with these older rougher kids and they were dunking him under the water. I jumped in the water grabbed a kid by the neck and said if you ever touch my kid again I’ll kill you. Yes, I said those exact words. Mama bear in full force teeth bared claws digging in. Thinking back I think my son was probably an instigator and he didn’t heed my advice to just stay away. But in the moment that didn’t matter, don’t mess with mama. I don’t think I ever reacted outwardly so strongly since. But I sure do feel it at the slightest infraction against my children.
When another kid came home from his first job and told me how the powers that be treated him and some of the other employees I wanted to give them a piece of mind. When my baby girl’s feelings were hurt cause a friend was bragging about her “best” friends and that she wasn’t one of them I wanted to knock the other kids block off. And when my dear special boy hurt someone accidentally but got yelled at for it and came home scared and crying I cried with him and just wanted to make it all better.
My sons don’t know the compassion I feel for their each and every struggle because I’ve told them to suck it up and not complain. My daughters don’t know how I ache for them to succeed in life and how I wish things could be easy for them but know that the most valuable lessons of life come through the hard stuff. Relationships are messy, jobs are demanding,and life ain’t easy.
When my kids are learning the hard lessons of life I want more than anything to make everything all right with a kiss and a hug and an uzi if necessary.
When they are little it is relatively easy. Oh sure it’s demanding when you’ve got a bunch all into everything and wanting food and drink and fun all day, and truly I wouldn’t really want to go back to those days, but believe me once they get out in the world and have to deal with the world on the world’s terms it’s a whole new ball game. I’ll never forget a mom of seven quipping” little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems” . My oldest was one at the time.
No one ever told me I would feel the weight of each child’s struggles like I were living it myself. No one told me I would feel so responsible for their successes and failures, mostly for their failures. Nothing prepared me for the angst I feel when I realize that their shortcomings may be a direct result of me not shaping them the way I could have. And don’t tell me it’s ok or that God is sovereign, or any of that… cause even though I know, really know it is ok, there are some things that really are a result of a failure on my part.
But that’s not what I cling to. I don’t cling to my fault or fixing it for them, or preparing them perfectly, or making it all better. The burden is heavy but I don’t let it break me. Because I have one who can carry the burden much better than I. Jesus said:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
We carry on and love and worry, are weary and burdened, and take up our children’s causes but in the end I give it all to Jesus. He is my rest. Jesus takes our burdens and our children’s burdens and though we may feel hard pressed we are not crushed, perplexed at times but not in despair. (2Corinthians 4:28 paraphrased)