Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Unchanging. Backpacking Through Joshua Week 4

I've been arguing a lot with my son lately.

He's nearing 16 years old, and the other day I likened parenting him to taking my beagle on a walk. Sydney Bristow the Beagle is the WORST... she pulls and chokes herself and runs ahead of me. If she'd just relax and stop resisting the leash, we could go more places. But because she is so awful, we spend most of the time trying to establish who's the boss and then we return home, both exhausted and weary, and me just.plain.mad.

yeah, it's like that.

So, the other day was particularly rough. Finally, in sheer desperation, (not my finest moment)I approached him:

Me: Dude, it's been a long day. I need some nice words from you...
Him: what do you want me to say?
Me: Tell me you love me....
Him: I love you, Mom.
Me: Awesome. Tell me I am pretty...
Him: You are very pretty, Mom.
Me: Thank you. Tell me I am smart...
Him: ........
Me: Come on!
Him: Well, you're smart about SOME things.
Me: aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh.

Here's the sad reality. The kid genuinely believes that I am not smart. He is truly, honestly, completely convinced that I am so dumb that following my direction would lead to a life of pain, frustration, and oppression.

What kills me is that, though I have my ups and downs, our history proves that I have made wise decisions for my children. My son has benefited from my advice for his entire life- he's been kept alive, succeeded in school, and had his needs provided for. And not that I want to be all 'toot my own horn' girl, but my life story should speak to the fact that I'm not completely daft. I hold a job, have an education, maintain friendships... I can go on and on but the long and the short of it is this: I KNOW STUFF, YO.

(I feel so much like I'm setting myself up for a humbling, but stick with me, I'm going somewhere)

So, as I was venting about this to a friend yesterday, I saw a little lightbulb go off as I was talking-

I don't understand why the kid all of a sudden thinks I am dumb and want horrible things for him!
I'm the same mom who has only ever done things for him that will help him because I love him! What happened to the little boy who used to think I was the smartest person in the world? How has he forgotten?

Then, I realized... when I pull against the will of God, it's because either I really AM an idiot or because I have lost sight of something... the unchanging nature of God. The same God who got me through THAT will get me through THIS. The same God who provided for THAT need will provide for this need. The same God who turned THAT into good will turn THIS to good. When I am beginning to rebel or despair it's because I have developed spiritual amnesia. I need to turn and remember that even though my circumstances peak and valley, my God never ever changes. If I need help remembering, I can look in my prayer journals, the scriptures I've painted on my walls, photos of the amazing events in my life, I can even scroll back on my blog.

So, from this, I figured out the secret to my son's arguing. I applied it and he hasn't argued with me since. He remembers now that I am the Mom who loves him, and there is no more rebellion in my house....

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. oh, man. that's rich.

No, I haven't figured out the secret for that teen boy. I'm not sure it's something I'll ever really get.   I did figure out one thing, though. I need to stop worrying about who my son thinks I am and start making sure He knows Who his God is. I am intentionally becoming more purposeful about pointing out things God has done in my life, in the history of our family, and in even his life. I am taking the time, also, to remember that the truth is that my boy is actually a cool kid... he's really not always a toad. He's smart and funny and helpful and good to me most of the time. I am actually proud of him, and full of hope that he will eventually think I am ... well, at least a little less dumb.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
2 Timothy 1:5



Dana said...

GREAT thoughts--can I just use your post as mine???!!! Seriously, these are awesome thoughts and a great reminder of the gracious gift of God's unchanging nature.

Anonymous said...

Amber ... I remember the days ...

Mom of three sons here ... they were 19 months apart ... and 19 months again. Yes I was busy ... I was in charge ... until the teen rages began. That testosterone surge boys get that never ever turns off. I went from smart to dumb. In charge to enraged. The oldest never said I was dumb ... he just choose his own way. It was heartbreaking.

Now my boys are grown ... 29 ... 27 ... 25. I am smart again. I am in charge ... of my life ... not their's. And I know that there comes a time when you must sit on the side of the nest with your feet planted on their butts and push them out ... gently. Now I know that all that struggle was my sons just helping me make this transition. They have to grow, try their wings and push against the protective shell we surround them with if they are to truly make their way in the world.

You as a Mom are one of the single most important people in your child's life. But in those teen years ... we seem to disappear ... We don't. They are still watching ... They are still learning ... and they need us to be strong and unchanging. So you are right ... but they are going to push and make their own way ... just hold the line ... keep the love unchanging ... they will turn around and tell you how smart you are ... but not for a few years.

Becky said...

SO TRUE~ Wait...were YOU reading MY mail? ;)

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

True, true. Glad you were able to get that out in the open *wink*

And my word verification...sisact. How cool is that?!

Gretchen said...

Hello, my name is Gretchen, and I too am raising a

Love this post to pieces. Partly because you just put it out there so well, and partly because I'm so glad I'm not alone in the land of getting more embarrassing and more stupid each day.

I'm sure God has come home from a walk or two with me feeling exhausted and prolly even a little mad.

Ahem. And yet, His unchanging, perfect nature parents me back to the cross.

care-in said...

Oh how I needed that reminder today...

the unchanging nature of God. The same God who got me through THAT will get me through THIS. The same God who provided for THAT need will provide for this need. The same God who turned THAT into good will turn THIS to good.

Halfmoon Girl said...

They come around, I think. I know that somehow my parents got so much smarter once I hit my mid 20's- weird how that happens! I feel your pain. I LOVED this observation of yours- made me do a big loud mmmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhhu! of agreement: "I need to stop worrying about who my son thinks I am and start making sure He knows Who his God is."

Halfmoon Girl said...

oh, and I forgot to tell you that I got Guitar Girl's Back Packing through Joshua's post mixed up with yours in my Google Reader and thought it was YOU I was reading when she said she was pregnant. I choked on my tea. (not that there would be anything wrong with it, I was just very surprised!)

Michelle said...

As the mother of a teenage girl and one almost there, I am feeling your pain. I loved your point about making sure they know who their God is. I once heard that younger kids are like dogs; they like to be around you and think you are fabulous. However, teenagers are like cats; they feel superior and really just want you to feed them.

Jen said...

Yes. Yes to every.single.word of this! I have 2 toad-like boys coming up in my house, in addition to one diva-esque girl, and some days feel that they think I have the brain capacity of a cockroach.

And yet I find myself questioning God. "You want me to do WHAT?"

Well, you get the idea.

Thank you, Amber, for such an amazing reminder today.

Love you, girl!

God's Guitar Girl said...

You've summed up something for me in two words that I really need to pray over: "spiritual amnesia". And sometimes, I wonder what analogy God would make to represent what kind of child I am (a la Sidney Bristow). Just a reminder of my own ineptness and God's ability to smother that a heaping helping of grace and forgiveness. Loved this post!

lisasmith said...

You just moved me to tears. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. xoxo