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Monday, September 7, 2009

I Am a Mother

The concept of “maternal instincts” has long been written about, debated and, at least from a mother’s point of view, naturally understood. Whether human or animal, almost every mother instinctively loves and protects her child. Starting at birth, a mother cat will not only nurture her kittens, but she will protect and literally draw them, with her paws, into her chest when she’s unsure of a situation or person. If a mother cat senses a threat, she will move her kittens to another location and sometimes even hide them in blankets, closets, or try to hide them outside.

I feel much like that mother cat. I want to wrap my 17-year-old in my arms, hold him close, and protect him from the world – even from himself. I am fighting the urge to whisk him away to a “safe place”, wherever that might be. He is an unhappy young man, angry at life (and thus often at his family as well), and seems to be intent on self destruction. His choices are steering him toward danger, loneliness, and potentially a devastating future. But, while maternal instincts can teach us how to love, how to be responsive and protective, it doesn't provide a blueprint for how to handle the challenges that come when raising a child…particularly a wayward one.

My beautiful boy is sleeping in his room right now, having been out all night and not answering me about where he was. In the middle of the night, I drove to find him but didn’t know where to look. I came home and listened for the door throughout the night and checked my phone about every half hour, waiting to hear from him. I felt all the rational and irrational fears one feels when someone they love is “missing”. I see my son slipping away, and I feel powerless.

I feel like the woman in front of the wise king in 1st Kings 3, fighting against another for the life of my child. What or whom I’m fighting against I don’t know, but I wish the king would give me my whole baby back.

I pray for my son from Proverbs 23…”Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! My son, give Me your heart and let your eyes keep to My ways…”

I want to rejoice in my son; I want my husband to delight in him. But I can’t make that happen. My motherly heart grieves for this child. I ache all over…inside and out. I go from anger, to fear, to hopelessness, to pain. I do not understand what my son is going through. I do not understand my husband’s reaction to him. Sometimes I don’t understand my own responses. All I know is that right now I want to protect him. I want my whole baby back. My little blond-haired, green-eyed, full of life and energy boy. Oh, he’s not so little any more. He towers over me now. But he is still my Cody. He is still my son.

I know that when I can’t, God has this child in his arms. He will not forget him. "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” says the Lord. (Isaiah 49:15)

Oh my son, I will not forget you, but I place you in the arms of Jesus…He is the blanket, the closet, and the loving arms that will keep you close.


Susan said...

Michelle, Thank you for leaving me a comment so I'd know you were back. Thank you for your kind, loving, encouraging words in your comment.

My heart breaks for you as I read this post because I've walked in your shoes and I know that pain. I may have already shared this verse with you but it is one the Lord gave me way back in 1987 and I stand, and have stood, on it.

Jeremiah 31:16-17 “Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thine children shall come again to their own border. "

I stand with you upon this precious WORD of our Lord. HIS WORD will not return void.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your timing could not have been better to leave me a comment. My heart breaks along with yours as I watch my 20 year old stepping out to make her own life apart from our blessing. It hurts! This past week has been so difficult. She is talking marriage and that makes it even more scary. We continue to work to keep lines of communication open with her even though we are 1200 miles apart. We pray, pray, pray.
Please stay in touch!
Amen and amen to Susan's comment and scripture reminder!

Julie said...

Wow - I just wanted to thank you for "stopping by" and was very moved by your post. I am far (well, not really!) from these years, as my son is 6 and my daughter in not quite 2, but I know those trying teen years will be here in the blink of an eye! I've often worried about the time you speak of, not knowing how I will protect them from making the same mistakes I've made. All I know, is I somehow turned out okay and you definitely have the right plan by trusting in God to watch over your sweet "baby" boy when you can not. Blessings to you!