The raising of our teenage sons is often very difficult for me. Call it whatever you like — the pressures of today’s society, immaturity or weakness — either way there have been moments of profound doubt.
There are times when I just want to bury my head in the sand and hope that it will be alright. But this is only denial. Then there are times when I am overbearing and controlling. Here immaturity rules. Sometimes, in my heart, I am a coward. The coward picks conflict only where there is an easy kill. He never faces down Goliath.
When I include God in the process it makes a huge difference. When he is present I know when to say I’m sorry, and I know when to say no.
One night my teenage son desperately wanted to go out with friends that were not good for him. During those dark days a cloud hung over our home. My son was at a very vulnerable time in his life, and was open to many negative influences. He raged all around the house. All my flesh urged me to let him go, because otherwise I had to fight a hard fight. I wanted to fall back on the hope that it would be alright.
Many times before I used excuses like: you have to let him grow, you can’t control him, he has to learn from experience… and so on. In many cases these are wise words, but my instinct that night told me to protect my son.
The kid has this uncanny ability to practically read my mind, or maybe it’s my heart. If I am feeling violent inside, he goes with this, and we end up like two monkeys screaming at each other. If he senses weakness, he ups the volume.
That night though, I began to pray intensely in my heart. I silently repeated over and over, “I love you son. I trust you Lord”. And when my son entered my heart, despite his intense rage, he found love and trust in God. It was a great victory because even in my weakness I held my ground. My weakness made me depend on the great strength of the Lord.
But not all is victory. There are moments of miserable failure. You feel like a worm and beat yourself silly thinking, “How can I be such a fool? What kind of example am I giving?” And you cling to the desire to save face but knowing deep down that you were wrong.
The enemy appears here on cue. He slides up next to you and feeds you all kinds of delicious poison. “Your kid is full of disrespect. He deserves to be punished.” Or “Look at you, what a sorry excuse for a father you are. You call yourself a Christian? How pathetic.”
The temptation is to fall into despair and let the devil win. But when I turn back to Christ, I immediately feel the light and the hope of his full goodness. He instructs me, and he heals me. It isn’t sugar coated. It is restoration.
In the end, this is an even bigger victory: In my failure, realizing that God’s grace acts in my life. Only he can deliver this crushing blow to the temptation to believe otherwise.
Indeed. All things will be well.
Image credits: chicken: http://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com.ar/2012/07/how-to-train-chickens.html#.USdtOKW6dZc