Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Don't Want to Raise A Good Child

Ever have those days when you just feel COMPLETELY defeated? Yeah, me too.  And I've had plenty of them lately.  Days that have brought me to tears and to my knees crying out to my Lord.  Not any one big thing, just lots of little things.... just life.   Of course, lots of the little things have to do with my children.  Namely ONE of my children.   But she-who-must-not-be-named has quite a plan - I KNOW that God has a humongo-ginormous plan for her life, and I am confident she is listening to His voice.  I feel very honored that God chose little ol me to be her mother, and I also feel very inept at the job sometimes.   From the day she came into this world 16 years ago and was whisked away to the NICU because "I don't have to breathe if I don't want to - I will breathe when I'm good and ready - you can't make me breathe so JUST TRY AND MAKE ME!!!"  Yep - thats my girl.  She has kept me on my shaky little mothering toes from day one.  But I wouldn't trade one moment of it for all the world....

I came across this blog post this morning and it's like she took the words right out of my mouth - but I sure did need this reminder today...

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box. A lot out of the box actually.

She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really. Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.

But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.

2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.

3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”


Unknown said...

I really really needed to read this today. Thank you for posting it.