It has been so long since I last posted. While life has progressed, it seems much has digressed as well. Maybe it's the summer months...which, especially when you have kids, becomes less structured and thus can be more chaotic.
My heart couldn’t be any more full and overflowing, but yet broken, for my family. Before I had children I had no idea I had so much capacity to love…and hurt. And as I try to come to terms with the situations that cause the love to overflow, and those that cause my heart to break, I often allow those “feelings” to get in the way. I want more times of happiness and less times of grief. And so I try to force the happiness. I make decisions and concessions I wouldn’t otherwise make…which only prolong the hurt.
I recently watched the movie “Pride”. It’s about an inner city swim team, and a coach who helps the youth…and the community they live in…believe in themselves. He doesn’t do that by telling the kids what they want to hear. He doesn’t do it by becoming their friend. Instead, he speaks truth in their life. And, in the movie, they listen.
I know life doesn’t always happen that way. Some of you, and myself, have spoken the truth to our children only to see them turn away and continue to take the wrong path. It’s at those times I find myself most vulnerable…most likely to compromise and chase after them. I turn my head to what’s wrong in their life so I can continue to walk alongside them. But, then, you will find your kids are still on that wrong road. And, instead of being prompted to turn the other way, I am enabling them to continue walking on it.
In the middle of the movie, I got it. I paused the movie and wrote it down. “Speak Truth.” And then I wrote, “Earn the Respect.” Being my kids’ friend may give me moments of peace and even of happiness, but I believe if I focus on the friendship, rather than on the truth…which really is love…the end of that road will end in sorrow.
I often accuse my husband of being too hard on our oldest son. I feel he is driving him away. From my point of view, he appears harsh, unforgiving and angry about our son’s behavior and his mistakes. Honestly, he has a right to be angry. The trouble our son has found himself in is destructive, expensive, and has turned our life upside down. I know my husband loves our son…I just don’t think he knows how to show it without seemingly condoning the behavior he abhors. On the other hand, my husband accuses me of being too easy on our son. He feels I don’t hold him accountable and that my leniency gives him license to misbehave. In fact, he probably believes I love our son more than I love him, as I often take an opposing view and “stand up” for our son. I think we are both right. I think my husband drives him away, and then I widen the chasm by trying to be the peacemaker and not just forgiving but overlooking our son’s mistakes. At the same time, this creates a valley in our marriage relationship. Honestly, it’s not just our son that is creating strife in our household…it’s us…and it’s me.
As I traverse through life, and struggle to find my way on unmarked paths, I have made so many wrong turns. It is only when I look up, instead of on the path, that I find my way again. I get so wrapped up in the scenery alongside the road (beautiful and ugly) that I miss the Light above that is there to guide me. When I do that, I find myself in darkness…devoid of light not only around me, but in me. But there is always a way out…a path to the sunshine…a path to the Son.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.” – Psalm 139:1-12
Yes, such knowledge is too wonderful. And even in darkness there is Light. As I focus on that, may I speak in truth, knowing that the Lord is beside me…and understanding that the Lord is equally beside my son and my husband. It is up to me to be the peacemaker…but not in the way I have been up until now. I can bring peace and happiness to my soul in spite of all circumstances. And maybe as I speak the truth, others will listen. Or perhaps it will plant a seed. Even so, the truth might be for those who look in our lives from the outside. If nothing else, the truth shall set me free.
”Jesus, be my truth. May You give me the strength, courage, and wisdom to speak Your truth in love. Keep my eyes upon You, and my feet on Your path. Illuminate my way. And as I walk in that Light instead of chasing others or becoming distracted by what I see on the way, may those I love turn and join me. In Your name I pray. Amen.”