Saturday, August 29, 2015

Regaining Your Joy in the Dailiness of Raising Teens

(I posted this picture, because I wish that my children would always stay this size and look adoringly at me! )

I've not posted for awhile because my emotions have been too raw and I know when they are raw I am vulnerable. A lot has happened in the past two months. Things too private to post on here. But we are getting through it. Parenting teenagers is the hardest job ever. I used to think marriage was the hardest thing on the planet. Parenting wins, HANDS DOWN.

I pray constantly for wisdom. I am on my knees like never before. It has been a grueling battle. My heart aches as they get older and they make choices that are not what we have taught them. Because I have made bad choices, I want to spare my children the pain and consequences that I had to suffer. But alas, I will not be able to protect them anymore. But fight for them I will!

To be honest, in the midst of the battle I lost my joy. I lost the purpose of serving my family. Not a good place. That translates into a sad, bitter, lost, surviving-each-day-mama. I became cranky and irritable. I was in this bad place for probably five weeks and it scared me. What was weird to me is I was in the Word and prayer and I still somehow lost my joy.

When God revealed to me what the problem was, I was deeply disturbed. I am the woman who wrote devotions on this subject. My whole heart and soul was devoted to being a terrific, godly, purposeful mother. How did I get this far down the wrong path? I had let the trials of life and of this MARATHON race pull me down. I lost my focus on Jesus. The only One who can save my children from themselves. I CANNOT do it! I focused on the bad and not the good. I "grew weary in doing good" because I didn't see any fruit in it at the moment. I grew resentful instead. I felt like I had to push and prod my children to help me around the house and by golly they didn't have servants' hearts! Come to find out, neither did I.

I also learned that in my attempt to transfer the disciplining to my husband, I had unknowingly made him the bad guy. I stopped saying "I have decided this" and started saying "your father decided this" and "your father decided that". NOT good. What I needed to say was "WE decided this". Things are going much better since I made this change. Steve and I are both feeling more supported and are working as a team instead of unknowingly against one another. It is hard when you are a firefighter's wife, because you do have to make decisions when they are at work. But many decisions CAN wait till Dad gets home. That means I need to teach my children to wait. I am getting myself in a lot less trouble now. Tee hee!

This is my prayer to the Lord:

God, you can be trusted. Please speak to me. Show me you are real and that you love me. I want to know peace while living in JOYFUL expectation of what you are going to do in this flawed, imperfect family. Give me peace so that I can do this thing well. Renew my hope. Take away this weariness that threatens to keep me in a fog of discontentment. Help me to lift my eyes UP to you and see the blessings that are all around me:

-My children's love.

-The funny things they say.

-Their sweet hugs and kisses.

-The gifts they give me (lots of chocolate lately).

-A husband that loves and takes care of me and  has been faithful to me for over 20 years.

-A wonderful, stable job that he loves working as an Engineer/Paramedic and Captain over his shift. He was born to be a captain. His job fulfills him and doesn't drain him.

-God's Word and access to all kinds of in-depth Bible studies.

-Wonderful older women who have been through the teen years and have lived to tell about it!

-My beautiful home and a flower garden that is starting to grow that gives me so much pleasure to cultivate.

-Many projects to look forward to completing.

-Family and friends that support us through thick and thin.

Indeed, I am blessed! Thank you, Lord that You are good, compassionate and You see our struggles. You care about them even as You let us work through them. You are never far and You will not forsake us. I pray that as my children grow they would have hearts for You. Even if they stray, they will always be drawn back. Remind them of Yourself and what You have done for this family. I can lay the foundation, but You, Lord,  ARE the foundation. Stir the hearts of my children and let them seek Your face-always.

May You fill me up with Yourself so that I can experience the joy of serving this family once again. Give me a fresh start. Thank You for Your redeeming love that turns even our mistakes into something that can bring glory to You! In Jesus's Name, Amen.

Raising a large family is not easy. We chose a different path-a riskier path, when we decided to have six children. It upped the odds of "struggle" tremendously. I need to cease being surprised by things and try to roll with them more. Keep loving and moving towards my children even when my heart is breaking. Every day I am taken for granted, questioned, and I have to deal with disrespect. Everyday I discipline and am trying to think of the most effective method that would speak to that particular child. Some days I am their enemy. The peace-loving side of me longs to be their friend, but we aren't there yet. I remind myself that being friends is the end goal.  I am constantly saying, "I am your parent, not your friend."  I am not fighting against them as much as I am fighting against the world.

If you are struggling as I am, I pray that somehow spilling my guts on here will make a difference. I want you to know that you are NOT alone. Nor am I! Please feel free to email me at sbfirefighter@ortelco.net if you would like to share your struggle privately. If you would like to take a risk and share it for the rest of us to hear, please leave a comment. God can use our struggles and turn them into victories with a little vulnerability and a lot of love and compassion. God bless you, dear mothers!
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