Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When your kids are hurting

It's hard.  To see them struggle.  Life is full of struggles, I know, and sometimes they are strung together one after another and one on top of the other even.  That's life...part of it anyway.  I know this, but it's so much easier to accept when it's my struggle...not theirs.  When it's theirs....hoooo, man that's hard.

My 47 year old mind has learned a thing or two.  Such as, don't look at your face in your car mirror on a sunny day.  No matter how tempting it is, don't do it.  All the facial hair and pores the size of craters...you won't be able to unsee that.  And also, I have learned that it is in life's struggles that we find growth.  We build strength and learn lessons and (hopefully) learn to turn to God when the things of this world fail us.  I know this, and I want my kids to know this too, but my mamma heart aches to see my babies hurting. Not just disappointed or sad or mad, but really, truly hurting.

That's hard.

I want to hold them and make it better.  Like I could when they were little.  I don't care how big they are, that is still what I want to do. My mamma heart wants so badly to help, to protect them...but not too much. They are teens and adults now and I know that they need to go through things, just as I have gone through things. I don't necessarily want to protect them from all their struggles, even if I could, because in doing so I would cheat them out of the opportunity to learn to fail and try again.  To face rejection and keep going. To be lost enough to look to our Savior to be led.

I've been in all of those places...I've failed, I've been rejected, I've been lost, I've looked in the mirror. Sometimes I handled it well and many times I didn't, but with each trip around those mountains I learned a little - even if what I learned was how NOT to handle things!  I know I can't protect my kids from struggles - I just want to protect them from the really bad ones. The ones that result in broken hearts, heavy burdens, and especially the ones that suck the hope out of them.  But even if I could protect them I don't think they would let me.  Sigh.  That's the thing.  All of my warning and (unsolicited) advice can't change a mind made up. It just ends up pushing away the very ones I am trying to hold close, and I really don't want to make that mistake.  You can only guide someone who is willing to be guided.

And so, it's hard. Parenting babies and toddlers and tweens was a breeze.  Seriously.  I didn't think so at the time, of course, but I see now that things were so much simpler.  I knew what to do (usually) and what I did helped (again, usually).  Now, I too often find myself feeling lost, feeling rejected, and feeling like a failure as a mom because, you know, if I had done things right they wouldn't be going down these paths and needing to learn these hard lessons.  Sigh.

Oh dear.  I thought I was writing about what my kids are going through and learning, but apparently I am writing about me. GAH!

Thunk (head hits table).

Ok fine.  I suppose I should figure out what it is I'm supposed to be learning here.  Maybe it's this...that it's time for me to stop holding on so tightly and let go just a little more. To trust God a lot more.  To stop feeling guilty that I have failed them somehow and that's why they are going through these hard things - and just be there. Even when they tell me to go away (ouch). To offer guidance and love and open arms.  To do what I can, what they will allow me to do, and what God leads me to do.

And wait.

And cover them in prayer.

And trust.

I guess this is another opportunity for me to fail, and try again. To face rejection, and keep going. To be lost enough in this whole "parenting kids who are going through hard things"  to look to my Savior...and let myself be led.

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