I’ve found myself walking around in a daze all week–numb. My kid made a choice that has the potential for major consequences and my heart is broken. That simple act that lasted less than five minutes could possibly change the trajectory of his life. It has already impacted mine.
Even though my heart is broken, I’ve not allowed myself to cry. Oh, I’ve been on the verge of tears many times, but personally, when I get scared for one of my kids I typically go into mama bear mode attempting to console my teen as well as blame myself. I’m ready to do battle with whoever tries to judge my child for their actions.
My mind goes into a spiral.
Why didn’t I see this coming?
Where is the disconnect between who I thought my teen was and this new decision?
What did I do wrong in my parenting?
Could I have prevented this from happening?
I beat myself up for having somehow failed. And my heart is breaking for my teen. The hasty decision, the lack of thought to consequences, and now the heavy weight that our family must carry. In this particular situation there are serious financial implications for us.
Lord, how do we get through this in one piece?
I’ve been here before with my other kids. Discovering one kid was having sex sent my husband into an emotional spiral. As I talk with other parents dealing with shoplifting, lying, sneaking out, alcohol, cutting and a host of other things, they all ask the same question. Where did I fail? Why can’t I have good kids like the other parents I know? I’m scared.
What I’ve learned in my own parenting is that it is important to think about the situation differently than the downward spiral our brain wants to go.
- God is writing our child’s testimony. And sometimes testimonies are nothing like what we desire. However, it is through the wrong choices that God will use your child to touch someone else’s life in the future. He’s writing their story to bring Him glory. It is in these crucial moments that our kids wrestle with who they are. It is in these circumstances that we as parents get to pour our belief system into these precious children that God has given us. They may not accept our advice, but we know that we are doing something that God desires of us.
- God knows the circumstances and will walk through it with us and them. When the situation seems unfathomable, we know that God is in it. Who would have ever dreamed something like this would happen? Right? Yet, God is our refuge and strength. He will walk through what might seem like the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ to us. Cling to Him. Let Him know your thoughts and fears. And pray that He will walk before you paving the way for the future.
- Grieve. Whatever is different from what you imagined, take time to acknowledge the sorrow and pain of the situation. Be sure to ask God to use this circumstance in your child’s life as a step toward maturity and an avenue for future ministry.
- Pull the teen in closer. When we are hurting because our teen did something that hurt us deeply, the automatic reaction is to back away–especially for dads. It is a way to self-protect. However, what our teen really needs in these circumstances is our love and “we’re going to work through this together” attitude and support.
- Make sure to pour into the rest of the family. It’s easy to be so focused on “The Situation” that we forget that the circumstance is also affecting the teen’s siblings. Be sure to have conversations finding out how the other family members are being affected. How are they feeling? How is this impacting them at school or in their social situations? What do they need from you right now to get through this?
- Slow down and pray. Times like these are when I find myself on my knees even more. He is the only place I can find strength to do the next thing. Allow yourself time to slow down the typical pace of life and think through the steps rather than be in react mode. Allow God to lead where He desires and don’t be afraid to talk to “trusted friends” who’ve walked similar paths. If you don’t have people in your life who can pray with you, feel free to reach out to me. I know what it is like to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. I’m here to help lighten the load.
Getting through some of these life-defining moments can be tough. Knowing where to turn and the decisions you should make can seem overwhelming. Knowing that there is a God who sees where we are at in the moment and who loves us and won’t forsake us can give us the strength to do the next thing.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Writing to myself as well as all of you.
“Let go…and Let God”,