Monday, June 30, 2008
WHAT DOES A MOTHER SAY WHEN...?
Yesterday, we took our annual pilgrimage to a local fireworks warehouse so that our two boys could "rack up" on fireworks or explosives as they prefer to call them (I guess it sounds more manly and intense and dare devilish or something). One of our boys bought over 2000 bottle rockets (one of the cheapest things to buy and simple, but the boy, even as a teen, prefers nothing else.) and then smaller, colorful things for one of our girls (the youngest) so that she could participate and see "pretty fireworks." On the way to the warehouse, the boys and I talked, laughed, debated, but mostly, I felt like I was choking and was going to die. Why? Read on.
What does a mother say when her 18 year old says he's changed his wicked ways because of a girl? They've only known each other less than a month, they've dated less than that, and now, my son is pledging his undying faithfulness to her. He's even talked to the father properly and the parents asked to meet us. We met them yesterday, before the drive to the "explosives" warehouse and the heat was on after that! How did the meeting between the parents go? Very well, but that's not the point.
We talked to both boys, AGAIN, about dating, what God says Biblically about keeping yourself and the girl pure, and being the leader in the courting and marriage relationship. We talked about dating with only the intention of getting married. We talked about other things too, but I really wanted them to hear these parts. What almost made me ask my husband to put the brakes on in the middle of the highway was that the parents of this girl, who were very concerned about what kind of person our son is, what his intentions were for their daughter, who we were as parents, etc., allowed our son to spend the night at their house (remember, my son barely knows this girl as a girlfriend, and have just known she exists on this earth less than a month) to get to meet the rest of their family and to get to talk to him more. I told him how this could have been done properly without him spending the night (of course since he's 18, he knew he didn't have to tell me, ask me, or have my opinion about this spending the night thing.). He could have made arrangements to go over, have us over together as parents, etc. We would have been happy to make a formal visit with him once or however many times they felt like they wanted to talk. He could have made arrangements to speak with them privately any time. I asked him, "Why would you put yourself in that position? How things look because of the testimony you're SUPPOSED to have...matters. Also, knowing that we wouldn't allow any girl to spend the night here, why would you go against that at someone else's house? Plus, you never put yourself in a position to have the smallest potential to make this girl impure." Now I know that seems like a stretch because he was only spending the night at the parent's request right? He had no intentions of sleeping with the girl, etc. He slept in a different room, yada, yada, yada. It's still a setup that the enemy could use to ruin all kinds of things, especially since there were better alternatives.
What do you tell the 15 year old, whom you just talked to about not dating (and he thinks that he is), whom just heard all of what his brother is doing and going through? They both think that my husband and I are stuffy and old-fashioned (of course they do!!), but they do know that we're telling them the whole truth. They don't argue with that, and they do agree...mostly. It's the things they don't want to accept though, that seem to be the most important things. They also think that they can push as far as they can with freedom, dating, and all that goes with that, as long as they don't "cross the line." That way, they can feel like they're dating, but try and appease us at the same time (and not violate the girl and make the parents mad too, of course). We told them that though we would love to be appeased with obedience, it's not about us, it's about their relationship with Christ. It's about Him and whether He is satisfied with what they're doing and saying, is He being glorified in all that they do, are they doing ALL that God would have them do because they are conscious of being surrendered to Him, are they being the leader in their friend groups by knowing when to say "yes" and when to say "no" and not being pressured by society to "just do it?"
Well, one of our boys is under age and has to either choose on his own to obey Christ and us or choose to suffer the consequences. The other one can freely make his own decisions without being forced by us, but we still talk to him and admonish him to righteousness. We've got two different age groups and we're having to parent in two different ways, but one thing remains the same: JESUS!! He's the same He was yesterday and will be tomorrow, therefore, what we tell our children will remain the same. We have decided to keep admonishing and teaching the 15 year and expecting him to obey and see the benefits of that (he knows the alternative!) and we've decided that all we can do is pray for the 18 year old. We figured out a long time ago that God can parent our children better than we can, so we turn them over to the God that created them and knows them better than we ever could. He's got insight on them and their behavior, their thoughts, and their next moves way in advance. Since He's got all that, we want Him to be in control of our parenting and we want to present our children to Him when things are going right, and when they're not.
We pray for all of them constantly. I would say nightly, but the truth is, we pray for our children for one reason or another, all throughout the day. They just go through so much, the world presents them with so much, the enemy wants to take them out, or they just need covering and lifting. Sometimes you talk to God about just how grateful you are to have such gifts from Him. There are all kinds of reasons to pray for God's babies that He loaned you for a while. So, what does a mother say when...(the various things come out of their mouths or pop up in their lives)? After you check your heart to make sure you're not having a heart attack (like I thought I was yesterday--I asked my husband to make sure the insurance policy was current so that he and the kids would be okay without me), you say, "God help me! God help them!" Sometimes, it's that simple.