I'd like to meet the modern day mom whose teenagers "arise and call her blessed." (Proverbs 31:28 NIV) I would have many questions, and I'd like to shadow her for a week or so to learn from this blessed woman. Better yet, I would love to meet the actual Proverbs 31 woman this side of heaven, so I could further learn from her and grow as a wife and mother while my family still has time to benefit from that! In addition to being a blessed mom, what wife does not yearn for her husband to praise her with the words, "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" (Proverbs 31:29 NLT)
Honestly, though, I'd be happy to just be called (anything nice) by my teenager. My beloved 15-year-old started slipping away as he entered his teenage years. The times of mother and son enjoying hanging out together are a distant (but lovely) memory, and even the calls for "Mom...do you know where my jacket is?" or "Mom, will you help me with my homework?" have all but vanished. Though not quite independent (as much as he wants to be), this son of mine is walking his own path, primarily in the opposite direction of mine and my husband's.
On the other hand, my 12-year-old still enjoys spending time with Mom and Dad...almost to the opposite extreme, where he'd rather be home with us than out with his friends. I worry for his emotional health for very different reasons: Will he learn to live joyfully in the world outside our home? Will he allow his heart to love (and be broken by) others outside our family? Will he develop, nurture and maintain healthy life-long friendships? Will he ever move out, and will he give us grandchildren, or will he be the 40-year bachelor still living at home?!?
So, I have two boys, with very distinctive personalities, and very diverse challenges. I am in prayer daily, if not minute-by-minute, for each of them in completely different ways. It's interesting, my search on biblegateway.com for derivatives of the word "pray" brought back 365 verses...one for each day of the year. One of those I actually have marked in my Bible, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV) I put a box around these verses years ago because they really challenged me. I find them incredibly difficult to follow. It's effortless in the "good times", and it's even pretty easy in specific settings during the "bad times". For example, even in the midst of struggles, when I lose myself in praise and worship at church or listening to a CD in my car, or in the middle of the pastor's lesson or a pointent audio book by a Christian author, I can find joy, and I can even give thanks to God for all He's done for me...on the cross, in my past, and in the moment. But what about when I'm in the moment experiencing pain? Feeling doubt? Grieving over lost dreams and hopes? Having my heart broken by one I love? I can certainly "pray continually", but am I joyful always? Do I give thanks in all circumstances? I find I am probably more like David...crying out to God, "Why have you forsaken me?" in one breath, and then hours or even days later (for David, 22 verses later) I come to end of my rope and lay my troubles at the feet of the cross, and I say, "I will praise you." It has to be a choice, rather than a feeling. A decision, rather than an emotion. As with Paul, it comes from a confidence in the nature of God, who will complete what He has begun: "May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He'll do it!" (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 MSG)
My story goes much deeper than this...there is so much more to tell. I hope to share it with you not so much as an outlet for me, but as a means of providing both you and I with hope. I pray this blog will become a place where we share our struggles, claim our triumphs, support each other, and even grieve together. My story is one of family struggles, grief over devastating and life-changing choices my oldest son has made, concern for my youngest son's emotional health, and a longing for a marriage and home life like the one described in Proverbs 31. I praise God that no matter what I walk through, I am not alone. He is with me. And, He has given me others to join me for the journey. I hope that will include you.
Blessings to you, my new and old friends, family, and fellow bloggers. Until next time...when I reveal "more of the story"...