"It’s important to let our kids know we are aware of our inadequacies. Tell them. You have nothing to lose in honestly admitting to them that you didn’t do everything correctly as a parent. The admission may be the key to opening communication and beginning the process of healing your relationships with your kids."
Stephen Arterburn and Jim Burns, When Love is Not Enough
"Train up a child in the way he should go. And, when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Last week, I received a phone call from a woman struggling with her teenager. She was calling to ask for prayer support. Of course I would pray! The conversation then turned to her affirming how wonderful my children are. She has been watching them.... Of course, I love hearing that! Any parent does. But, my kids are not always wonderful. Seriously. Ha! I am laughing as I type! Last night, I had our kids heavy on my mind. Nothing bad had happened. In fact, Lexi had asked to campout on our floor. She and I had said our prayers. The lights were out and it was quiet. All of the sudden, something started singing from the bathroom. It was startling! Lexi's old Zac Effron "High School Musical" Barbie Doll was singing from the tub! In Lexi's words, "Boy, that was creepy"! Yes it was. We laughed for quite a while. She fell asleep. But, in true form, my thinker started thinking....
Yes! My kids are amazing! Who doesn't think that about their children? But, they still have their own struggles. They need lots of prayers and attention. All kids do! As I have shared, they witnessed a lot of bad stuff. Embarrassing and hurtful things. However, what I continue to see every day, are deeper, more compassionate people being born out of those experiences. I am pretty sure that they would not have turned out to be hellions. After all, Mark and I are good people! Ha, again! Even though, I fell off of the grid for a bit, I have always been a great communicator with my kids. We talk about everything. Sometimes they offer it, while other times I pry it out. I am a self-confessed stalker/creeper. (Mostly, out of what I see other kids doing.) And, I am proud of it! I will not apologize for being too aware. While they are under my roof', they are all mine!
I joke that my kids have the best and worst in a mom. The best, in that they know that they can come to me with anything. I am not afraid of their sins. Their stuff. I will never shame them. I will have always out-sinned them anyway!...Sadly true. A small, somewhat ashamed, "ha", here! The worst, in that I have done it all. Having been the master manipulator and devilishly deceitful, I have a general lack of trust in people. Now, don't start worrying over this statement. I'm working on this. And, don't get me wrong. I trust my kids. (Until, they give me a reason not too!) But, they are still children. And, children can be foolish. And, they can certainly be fooled... I want to stop here and interject one thing. Before you read any further! Know this! We are not perfect! (I will say this A LOT!) I am not implying that we have it all together. We do not. But, what I need you to hear. What I want you to see, especially those of you that are parents, is that there is a war waging against our young people. What we ARE doing right, in this home, is praying. Over, under, and around. Singing and shouting. Talking and listening. We no longer just talk about living this way. We no longer show up for church, once in awhile, to learn how to live that way. We are living it out now! Finally! And, one day at a time......
I mentioned in the post, "New Beginnings", about the bullet hole that I see every day. It is my reminder. A supernatural reminder that I should never, ever forget what I have been delivered from. It beckons me to keep my mind fixated on Kingdom things. Never allowing myself to get poofed up or phony. Because of that visual, I do not glide through my life as if everything is perfect. It is not. I do not not want to give anyone the impression that you can be a lover of Jesus Christ, God-fearing, and an evangelizing soul without stuff. I know that we are doing what we were made to do. Being who we were created to be. No more facades. I will no longer present ourselves as something that we are not. No more beautifully wrapped, EMPTY packages for me... For us. Thank goodness! It was exhausting! Now, I pray. I lay my hands on my children and pray. Not crazy-like. But, crazy for... Because I have that "crazy love" for my own children, just as my Heavenly Father does for me. I will always do this. It has become our way. I really do "laugh out loud" at myself when I "talk" like this! I sound like my mom! And, I used to hate it! But, boy howdy! Thank you, Momma Sue!
In April of this year I was awakened, in a panic, at two in the morning. It was like nothing that I had experienced. I will not go into the details, but I know now, that the Holy Spirit was directing me to get one of my children out of harm's way. The child involved, was angry with me for weeks. I was separating him from the peer group that he was in. Every time that I would pray over him he would all but seethe and squirm. But, in the long and short of it....he has thanked me many times over for loving him that much. This is just one of many. And, many more to come. I am certain of this.
What I had on my mind last night was this...I am so proud of my kids. Jake and Zach have all A's and a couple of B's. They are in AP classes at Jenks High School. Luke had one of his best years, too. Lexi is flourishing in herself and learning so much with me at "Romoser Academy". They have a godly set of friends. I was feeling so grateful for who they are this very minute. Overwhelmed by it. But, not carelessly moved into believing that they could and will never fail. They could. And, will. I can tell you each of their strengths and their weaknesses. But! May I never be deceived into not watching every single thing that they do, say, write, read, watch...May I never be fooled to allow friendships that are not edifying and healthy. I do not wallow in the worry of this. I immediately stopped and just prayed out loud. In that moment, I knew what God was showing me. Pray, Kari, Pray!
I have read a few things that I would like to share with you:
Discipline doesn't break a child's spirit half as often as the lack of it breaks a parent's heart. Anonymous
"How can a mother be frustrated her child is not as she longs him to be, when she herself is not as she longs to be?" Ann Voskamp
"There is nothing you can do about the strength of peer influence. It's part of life. But, what you can do is to be aware of your child's activities and who her friends are".
Dr. Kevin Leman, "Have a New Kid By Friday"
Also, in Jeff VanVonderen' book, "Families Where Grace is in Place", he writes about being worried about his daughter's actions in public. And, how he treated her. He tells how he apologized to her for his reaction. You see, he came to realize that he was more afraid of what people would say about him as a dad, rather than her own character. I humble myself constantly with my kids. Really, with anyone. I am not afraid to apologize. And, I absolutely want to always be learning, growing and moving forward in all that I do. As a parent, daughter, wife, friend, Believer...
I do know, that in the beginning, I was always a good mother. I also know that in my time "off the grid", I was pretty awful. We have been watching some videos of the past. I have also been perusing through old photos... I see the "Good Kari" and the "Bad Kari". Some of the pictures of me made me weep. As I prepare, for our Christmas day, I am remembering the many years that Mark had to hold the kids at bay to wait for their Santa presents. Stop and think about this. Children are waiting for Santa with baited breath. But, for five Chistmas', my kids had to wait until I would awaken. (Which depending on how much I had drank or how many pills that I took...it might not be until noon...) Mark would cover the french doors with blankets and duct tape. He tied the doors together. He did not want me to miss it. But, they had to wait until I would get up. Obviously, I am not proud of these memories. But, I am very proud to share with you that my children have the best of me now. They know my stuff. I know theirs. We are living a good life. No longer a great lie.
Please click to "Follow". It is in the upper right hand corner. And, please let me know if any of what I am sharing has helped you. It helps me. I am going to tell you something that might shock you. You might not even believe it. I am sickeningly insecure. Ask, Mark. Ask, Carol. Putting yourself "out on the limb" is frightening. It is hard to be this exposed. But, I know that I am doing what God wants. Who knows? If Blogger sees that I have a "following", I might have some monetary gain. And, that would be delightful!
My deepest desire from this post is to implore your hearts with honesty and integrity with your kiddos. Let them know you. But, never be disillusioned that things are as they seem. Pray, people, pray! And, I pray that you will taste His grace like never before. Merry CHRISTmas to my precious friends and family. Even as I dance into this beautiful season, I still experience the pangs of defeat. Desires for "relief"...Pray for me. I will always pray for you. There really is no better way to say it, but "Jesus IS the reason for the season". No matter where you find yourself. Know this! He is all over you! Let Him in! Also, there's a new tradition in our home. We have always read the story of Christ's birth with our kids. (Just watched Jake (8) and Zach (6) reading it the other day! Presh!) But, we are now watching, "The Nativity Story", too. Always mindful to see Him in all that we do....