I had an 'incident' this morning with one of my children. As they have almost all entered into the teen years, these seem to be coming at me more frequently. Parenting is difficult. We all laugh when they are born and ask, "why didn't they come with an instruction booklet". But there is instruction. This is the one most notably remembered: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Eph 6:4) This is how I hope that I have raised my children. Teaching the love of their Heavenly Father. Giving them strength and courage. Teaching them to be in the world, but not of the world. But I know that I fall short most days. Most days, the world gets the best of me. It is an exhausting time that we live in. I went on to read all of Ephesians 6 and these are the words that caught my heart: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes....18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. I think verse 18 is worth repeating, 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Prayer....something that I lean on every day. A day does not go by that I do not pray for my children. Everyday since I knew that God had placed them in my womb I have prayed for their protection. Most days my prayer goes something like this, "Father, God, I lift my children up to you. I ask that You hold them close. Give them strength and courage. Keep them healthy. Protect them...." On days like today, those words are often followed by the words, 'even from me'. Because I worry about the damage that I am doing to my children. The changes in their hearts and who they are that my words and actions are making in them. I know that I am imperfect and I am just doing the best I can and so I pray for wisdom.... and patience. Life is hard and I am grateful for a God who already knows that I am imperfect. And so on a day like today, my prayer goes up to The Most High and I ask for strength to stand strong in the things that I know to be right. To not become complacent. I ask for wisdom to know what is right and I ask for forgiveness when I fail and strength to carry on.
All that being said, I actually came here today to reflect on this blog. Mother's Day is right around the corner and it has been almost 5 years since I wrote those words. Little has changed for me. My mother's and my relationship still suffers. Her health has declined greatly over the years. I have done my part to care for her during this time, but as I type the words, I know that my care for her has only been for her 'physical' health. Our relationship is a very unhealthy one. Mother's mental health is unstable and most of the time I feel that am in a constant battle just trying to remain 'respectful'. The words "honor your father and mother" weigh heavy on my soul and forces me into self reflection. How does my relationship with my mother shape my relationship with my own children and when does the cycle end? Like my parents, I am not a mother full of hugs. I do not embrace my children. Sure, I did when they were little, but once they pulled away from me, I respected those boundaries. This choice comes with reasons that I hold deep in my heart and scars that run deeper, but it was never my intention for those scars to carry on as a reflection into my relationship with my children.
I guess in the end all we can do is pray for wisdom and guidance. Our children, like us, have free will. If we have lead them down the right path and they have gone astray, we can only pray that they will find the way back to that path.