A year ago my son Dylan moved out of the house and into a dorm. If you read my devotion last week, you’ll know I had a hard time with it …. hence this series. Although I shared how hard it was emotionally, I didn’t tell you whole story. Let’s just say I had some … uh, how do I put it? … moments. You know those kind you wish you could rewind and do again? Yes, I had a few of those.
It started with me wanting to talk to Dylan every day. So I’d call him just to see how he was. The first day he was happy to hear from me. The second day he was in a hurry so we cut it short. The third day he was slightly annoyed, and asked: “Are you going to call me every day?”
I instinctively knew the wrong answer was “yes.”
Since his university is only a 30-minute drive away, he came home for the weekend after the first two weeks. I expected him to spend hours chatting with me at the kitchen table, telling me about who he had met, all about his classes, what was he eating, what he did in his free time, details about his roommate and a thousand other questions I had. But apparently he came home to sleep on the couch during the day and play X-box with his brothers at night.
And then I was the one annoyed. And I expressed it. Then he was annoyed. And expressed it. And much annoyance ensued.
His second weekend home followed this same pattern. On top of my annoyance, I added a touch of martyrdom, and passive-aggressive guilt-throwing. Plus a few heavy sighs for good measure. On Sunday night he finally said: Mom, if you’re going to act like this, I don’t want to come home.
Now, I know half of you reading this are on my side, and are thinking, “Of course you were annoyed! Your son should have talked more to you.” And the other half of you are thinking, “Of course your son wouldn’t want to come home to that kind of treatment! Poor Dylan.”
But at that point, I was cut to the heart. Chasing my son away was the LAST thing I wanted to do. And although it hurt to hear the truth, I was so thankful he had told me how he felt. That week I spent a lot of time in prayer. My feelings were hurt, and I’d not dealt with them in a healthy way. I knew something had to change, and God showed me, in this instance, it needed to be me.
As I prayed that week, the word “grace” kept coming to mind. I needed to show my son grace. Even though in my opinion he was staying up too late, I needed to graciously get him a blanket when he fell asleep on the couch, kiss him on the forehead (because I could), and thank God my son is alive and in my home … rather than making a snide comment about needing to go to bed earlier. (ugh!)
The other idea that God put in my mind was to create a home my children want to come home to. And that does not include being a mom who tries to heap guilt on her children when they make bad choices. God doesn’t treat us like that. So why would I do that to my children? I knew I had to let go of my expectations and show unconditional love.
I fully believe I’m called to teach and train and model and guide my children in the ways of the Bible. But no where does the Bible advise using manipulation tactics.
Thank you Lord for a son who spoke hard truth to me. Thank you Lord for accepting me – bad choices and all. Thank you Lord for unconditional love, and for giving me another chance to get it right.
A home my children want to come home to. That’s my goal, and it starts with me.
Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of his great love for us,God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Titus 3:4-5, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.“
Romans 5:6-8, “You see, at just the right time,when we were still powerless,Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“
Since today my message has to do with creating a welcoming home with my attitude, my tip has to do with a practice that helps keep me patient and kind. It’s minor, but what a difference it makes! And that’s to keep a stock pile of supplies, including small bills.
It seems that being tucked into bed is often a prompt to remind someone they need poster board for the next day. And it’s frustrating to sit down to do a project only to discover dry glue sticks and missing markers. Plus, why is it when someone needs $3.00 for a field trip, I only have a $20?
That’s why I pick up extra school supplies when they are on sale. I keep them in my closet, otherwise they would get used. I also collect small bills and keep them in a safe place too.
Being prepared helps me stay calm and hopefully is teaching my children to be prepared as well.
What are your thoughts on today’s post? Have you ever blown it with a child and then made a change? I’d love to hear about it. Perhaps it will make me avoid another mistake.
In His love,