I forget sometimes that I have been in the thick of parenting before. I'm in it now, just in a much different way. It's no secret that I have been struggling with this stage of parenthood. It has actually thrown my faith into a tizzy. And after all I've been through in my marriage and with my health, you would think that would be nearly impossible. Pride comes before a fall. Ouch.
As a Mom, I've been knee deep in infections, ear tube surgeries, broken bones, illnesses, tantrums, the lying phase, the boy phase, a deeply broken heart, friend drama, teasing, insecurities, frustrations, body changes, emotional changes, friend changes, sleepovers, acne, sex ed, science projects, plays, concerts, sporting events, award ceremonies, boundary teaching, defiance, brokenness, redemption, forgiveness, teaching, preaching, yelling, softness, goodness, poverty, wealth. Wins, loses, positivity, negativity. Clean room, messing room. I've taught things of the heart, and reality of disappointments. I encouraged art, self-care, and authenticity. We've eaten pizza rolls and buttered noodles and organic free-range chicken and eggs.
She experienced loss of life of friends, grieving, finding God, questioning God.
Parenting encompasses so much. There is no way my words could cover it all. But again, those days seem so distant. I seemed to have sailed through those days fairly well as a mother. I didn't stress often, I didn't worry too much, and I thoroughly enjoyed and was fulfilled. She was the light of my life. No doubt she still is.
It's seems like forever ago that my daughter was a toddler, a grade-schooler and even feels like a lifetime ago that she was a middle-schooler. I lived those years well as a Mother. Did you know my first blog was a parenting blog? I'm super passionate about parenting. Relationship and authenticity come easy for me, which is my main focus in parenting, mixed with being extremely intentional with my time. I believed in bringing my daughter up with impeccable manners, walking and working through her emotions with her, talking openly about the hard stuff, not giving her many material things, encouraging her to make her own choices and how to do that, making sure she knew she was loved by God and by me, and that she was worth more than Rubies. I made an effort to really listen to her, especially when the tween years came upon us and she really learned the "gift of gab"! I don't remember myself ever talking that fast, do you?!
I encouraged her to be-friend the outcast, and to share with those who had less, and to appreciate what she had. I told her a lot about forgiveness--saw a lot about forgiveness too in our home, and the way of the heart. God's heart mainly. She also knows a thing or two about grace, and she has a heart for the homeless. I was protective about music, movies, and the language she used. Gosh, I didn't even allow her to say "stupid", and didn't hesitate to share my beliefs about the bible with her. She attended christian camps every summer since she was 7. She asked many questions and was a leader at her church on Sunday evenings. I baptized her when she was 16! My parenting style is Authoritative. And I've always been positive and taught her to not complain about the weather or other silly things. Constantly praising her and encouraging her in a variety of ways throughout the week. I know she knows she's loved and heard. I know she knows she has worth and value. I know she knows God loves her. She would say she comes from a peaceful home, not without struggles, or problems, but loving, good and peaceful.
Last week I thought I was a complete failure though. I thought my last 18 years as a parent was wasted and down the drain. I felt so defeated as a Mother and it hurt so bad. But heart was broken. I saw the last 18 years as a complete failed attempt on my part and I was devastated.
There's a big argument in the parenting world about when our kids go out on their own. If a kid goes "astray" people like to blame it on the way they were raised. If a kid stays on the straight and narrow (which I understand everyone's straight and narrow is different), then it's due to the good home life the kid had. Seems there is no attention on the individuality of the kid itself. I think there should be.
Since my girl left the house, and went off to college, it's not like she's gone hog wild. Ok, maybe with Seth Rogen movies, but that's it.
But she's made some poor decisions that most every kid at that age, 19, does or has. I can relate, hello, I had her pretty much at the age she is now. I can relate.
I was not prepared for these years. No one talks of such things. Why? Seems everyone is always talking about other stages, but not this one. We need to start! I have had some support along the way, which has been helpful, but what this stage does to a Mother's heart is painful. And I don't think some of the decisions she's making are because of some of the brokenness in how she was raised. But maybe I'm wrong. It could be a mixture, either way, I know it's perfectly natural and perfectly normal, but that doesn't make the pain any better. I have been wiped on my butt by how difficult, painful and hard this stage is. I hate that I am not a fan. What's wrong with me?
'Come thou fount'
A fount is actually a source, and right now, I need this source to come with it's healing! Come with it's blessings! Which is God! I keep singing this over and over because I am unable to know how to support my daughter or love her without the love of God! I am unable to love who she is dating without seeing him through the eyes of God!
I am unable to judge my daughter with the love of God. I am unable to show mercy, and grace with my God! I am unable to the love her unconditionally with God! I am unable to be cruel with God guiding me and leading me!
With God's love I am able to cover it all with love!
And believe no matter what phase you are in with your children, this can be true for you too. They are all covered. No matter if it's a lippy attitude, a tantrum, a lie, or an embarrassing moment. Whatever the case is, as for the fount to come, and heal and bless!
Our children will all make their way, but it has to belong to them, not us. This journey is our own. And I have known that to be true in my own life and walk, but it's extremely difficult to apply that to your own kids. Again, this is why I need my source. Come thou fount, do not tarry.