He’s into WHAT??

Walking into the kitchen to fix dinner, Cindy noticed her new high school student quickly close the lid on his laptop. “Finished with homework?” she asked.

“Ugh…almost,” Aaron responded frustrated. “Something’s wrong with this computer though. I’m not able to access some of the stuff I need for my history class.” With that, he grabbed his computer and went to his bedroom, books left behind.

“Hmm,” she wondered. “Not again! That wasn’t exactly the response she was hoping for, but with her husband’s expertise, she knew he could probably solve the computer problem when he got home.”

Cindy was pretty happy with the small Christian school Aaron began attending a few years ago. The teachers seemed genuine and most of the kids she had met came from good homes. She had been a little hesitant about the new program they had begun where they issued all the high school kids a laptop for their school work, but for the most part, Aaron did seem to get his homework done quicker. It was a little frustrating some days, though, especially when he couldn’t access the files he needed. Most of the teachers loved the new program and the faculty had been insistent that they were working out the bugs in the system, watching the computer usage, and had even blocked inappropriate website access. She just didn’t understand why Aaron kept having problems with his computer.

100912_1904_HesintoWHAT1.jpgWhile chopping the vegetables for a dinner casserole, Cindy kept thinking about Aaron’s computer issues. Other parents she had talked to didn’t seem to have nearly the number of issues with their kids’ computers as Aaron. “I just don’t understand why it always seems to be his computer.”

That night at dinner, Cindy’s husband offered to take a look at the computer. “No, Dad,” Aaron responded. “I think I’ve got it fixed. I’ll let you know if I need help.”

“Son, that’s fine, but I’m happy to take a look at it.”

“No, dad,” he insisted. “I’ll just have them swap it out at school if it continues to be a problem.”

“You’ve done that three or four times in the last couple of months. Are all the kids having these kinds of problems with the computers?”

“Yeah, some of them,” he responded. “They’re looking into it.”

The next evening as Cindy and Tom had settled down to relax in the family room, Aaron came in carrying the computer looking distraught. “Dad, I think I need you to look at it. It won’t do anything. Mr. Hammar, the tech support guy at school, said I may have to pay to replace it if I can’t get it fixed. He wouldn’t swap it out.”

“Aaron, you haven’t tried to download anything that would impact the restrictions placed on the system by the school, have you?”

“Several of the kids have passed me a few sites they have running on their systems, but I don’t think it should be a problem,” he hesitated.

“Tell me more…” responded Tom.

“Uh…Dad, they’re sites that you’re not going to be real happy about.”

“And why is that?”

“I just need them off my system, Dad.” Aaron flung the words as he left the room.

Tom worked several hours before he was finally able to access the history files. “Oh, Cindy,” he gasped. “I think we have a problem. There’s PORN on this computer. I can’t believe he is doing this! He knows how we feel about this kind of stuff. How dare he embarrass us like this in front of the school! They might even expel him! WHERE IS HE??”

100912_1904_HesintoWHAT2.jpgAs Tom started to escalate, Cindy took a deep breath attempting to remember what she had learned in the parenting class. Then the scripture came to mind…

I Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation (or trial) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not all you to be tempted (or tried) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (or trial) will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

“Tom, let’s think through this before we react,” she cautioned. “We may not have encountered this with our other kids, but let’s try to walk through the situation with grace and humility. Let’s tell Aaron he won’t be able to take his laptop to school tomorrow because you want to work on it some more. That will give us time to pray and talk before we react.”

Aaron seemed quiet the next morning and when he returned home from school the next afternoon. Cindy responded to him as if nothing was wrong. It was hard…really hard. She wanted to shake him and ask him what he thought he was doing, but she held her tongue. Instead, she had fixed his favorite snack and asked him about his day at school. Rather than sitting down as they normally did to talk while he ate, Aaron mumbled something about not being hungry as he went up to his room.

That night, the story came tumbling out as Aaron told about how the junior on the basketball team had borrowed his computer one day. The older student had figured out a way to get around the blocks on the systems and had downloaded stuff on several of the guys’ computers after practice. As Aaron continued his story, tears started tumbling down Cindy’s face. Aaron had been accessing porn. It was true, but she sensed his acceptance of his wrongdoing. God seemed to be telling her this would be one of many of Aaron’s quests toward manhood. “Thank you, Lord, for this trial,” she sang within her heart. “Thank you that Aaron got caught…by us…and not the school. Thank you that Tom and I were able to pause for a day to search for your wisdom rather than push the issue last night. Thank you that Aaron is accepting ownership for what he has done. Now help us to find grace as we take this to the school. Help us to think through a plan, with Aaron’s buy-in on what needs to be done to address the issue.”

BOTTOM LINE: If we do not allow our children time to escape our wrath when they make poor choices, then we may not be allowing the Holy Spirit time to do His work in bringing them to a place of repentance.

Dare you to allow time to lapse before responding to your next trial with your tween, teen, or twenty-something.

Double dare you to spend the time in prayer and talking through alternative solutions with your spouse before engaging with your child.

Choosing to remember He will have my escape plan!

“Let go and let God…”



Plastering a fake smile on my face, I joined my Thursday morning small group. I had been in this Bible study of over 50 women for a couple of years, but the leader had decided to change things up two weeks before, placing us in random small groups. Of course, I ended up in a group with mostly people I didn’t know. Ugh! I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be here. I enjoyed the comfort of the way things were.

“With the way I am feeling today, maybe this is a good thing,” I thought to myself. “No one in this group would need to know my true story. Maybe it would be easier to put on a persona with these women rather than share the raw feelings of being an inept mother. Today I could pretend…”

“Isn’t that what you always do?” I heard the small voice from somewhere in my brain. “No one knows who you really are anyway.”

I sighed as my thoughts continued. “Guess I’m getting pretty good at playing the imposter. No one in this church would want to have anything to do with me, especially if they knew what was going on in our home.”

As the morning progressed, we started sharing in our small groups. I was amazed at the depth of pain Carrie shared as she told how her husband had left her and their three sons. I found it unbelievable that she was not crying, not angry, not bitter…she seemed at peace. “Wow, the strength of this woman.”

Laura was the next to speak. “Pray for my 22 year old daughter. The guy she is living with has recently been diagnosed with…”

“Oh, my, I can’t believe she said that out loud,” rattled through my head. A guy her daughter is living with…whoa! Carrie quickly comforted Laura with her words as I sat wondering how much Laura and I might be able to relate to each other. We both had daughters who seemed to be struggling.

092812_2055_Pretender1.jpgAs my turn came around, just as I had started to share a little about my wonderful family, my cell phone started to vibrate. I ignored it.
I continued my story…the cell phone continued to vibrate. I attempted to ignore it again.

By the third time, I mumbled, “I better take this. One of my teens is home sick today.”

I didn’t recognize the number, but as I heard the other voice on the phone, I began to shake uncontrollably. All my fears came rushing to the forefront of my mind. Quickly, I left the room so I could talk in private.

“I just wanted to call to make sure you are home,” the voice echoed from the other end. I was shocked! It was her voice…the voice of my daughter’s latest boyfriend’s mother. “How did she get my number?” I wondered. I wasn’t exactly thrilled that my daughter was dating her son. I had lots of concerns…no, major concerns!

“Well, uh, no, I’m not. Tamara, is there a problem?”

“I just think you should be home if you can. I’m at work already. I understand that both of our kids are home sick today. I just thought they might be up to something…”

“Thanks for letting me know. I’ll head home now.” I muttered as tears started falling uncontrollably. Quickly, I headed back to my group to get my purse and keys. The ladies were praying…praying for me!

As I quietly sat down to reach my purse, tears still streaming down my face, they all looked up with expectancy. I didn’t have a chance to hide. I was too emotional to even think about putting my mask back on. It was the moment of truth when I shared…really shared…my thoughts…my pain…my ineptness as a mother…and now my most recent concerns…

With tears streaming down my face, tissues were being placed into my shaking hands. Several women had tears in their eyes…especially Laura. I realized that she could relate to my pain the most. She put her arms around me and began praying as the others joined in. Calm began to replace my churning stomach. Peace began to fill my mind.

“You need to go now, sweetie,” they chorused. “We’ll be praying. See you next week.”

I prayed all the way home bracing myself for what I might find and rehearsing how I’d react if I found them together.

 As I entered the house, all was quiet. I tiptoed upstairs as my daughter walked out of her room. “Oh, did you go somewhere?” she mumbled wiping sleep from her eyes.

“I went to Bible study.”

“Oh, I just woke up. I really feel awful,” she sniffled.

“Did you know that Brad was home sick today?” I asked.

“No,” she replied. “How do you know?”

As I later replayed the events of the day on my knees, it occurred to me that I was living my life in fear. Fear of what my kids were doing, fear of their choices, fear of what people might think…of them…of me. Honestly, I was afraid of being judged as a parent…therefore, the mask.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13.

BOTTOM LINE: If we continue to wear the mask, living in fear, we lose the opportunity of being strengthened by others that God has already refined who have walked before us in the parenting process.

Dare you to ask God for a friend with whom you can share your parenting woes.

Double dare you to schedule a time to meet with the friend.

Bravely walking the journey with you…without the mask…

“Let go and let God…”