I remember when my children were little and we would be at the playground. The children would be running around, jumping, shrieking with delight, skipping and climbing the playground equipment. On more than one occasion would one of them fall and scrape their knee, which would result in a mass of tears. As a parent I would watch the children carefully, almost anticpating a fall. And then splat!… it would happen! I’d see it happen, as if it were in slow motion. I knew it was happening yet was not able to prevent the fall and subsequent wound. As the fall or tumble was occurring I would hurt. I felt pain.
It was as if I could feel it in my own body. My knees would jar sharply or my ankle felt twisted, depending upon what type of tumble or scrape the child incurred. Within seconds the tears, screams or sobs (depending upon the child) would ensue. I would take the child into my arms and whisper very quietly. The whisper was usually one of a prayer- asking God to take away the pain and replace it with His peace and joy or some such similar request. I loved that moment… where they loved being in my arms and comforted by me. Where my words were helpful and comforting and offered assurance. Where we were connected as mother and child. For some parents, this heart connectedness stays this way all the way through until adulthood and even beyond, which can be healthy. For some others, this doesn’t happen at all and children become disconnected. Some children disconnect well before they reach adulthood. Just as parents of toddlers experience pain when their child is bruised or scraped so do some parents expereince pain when a child disconnects.
I know because that parent is me.
I feel intense pain in this step of my parenting journey… for one of my children has disconnected well before they are ready. The child is bruised and hurting, therefore I am too.
I hurt in many ways… I grieve for the loss and pain that I see my child in and for the possible pain I see that they are headed for. But I also hurt in other ways.
I feel alone. I’m going through all this with my husband (Thank you Lord!) but I mean, in a sense, that ‘we’ feel alone. I’ve tried to reach out to others. I’ve tried to find parents in similar situations but it seems that there aren’t any others. At times I feel like we are the only Christian, homeschooling parents to go through this. I know for a fact that this is not true… but it feels like it. Maybe others are too busy, maybe they don’t know what to say within a situation that doesn’t seem to change with every passing week. And then, there is the occasional parent that looks at me with a shocked expression and starts asking a few questions… but they’re asking the wrong questions! The questions they ask aren’t necessarily for my benefit or my child’s… rather for themselves. I can sense when someone wants to know details only for their own benefit… so that they would not make the same mistakes that we did. If it were all so cut ‘n’ dried then I would be marketing the formula instead of writing a blog post!
I don’t ask God, “why?“. Well, in all honesty I have done so in the past but I don’t anymore . Oh,I have screamed at God at times; cries wanting to know why, what I had done (as though it were all about me- how ego-centric), etc? But praise Him, He is so much bigger than my ego for He didn’t shoot me down with a bolt of lightning or anything like that. But no, He didn’t answer me either. He has never condemned me for asking a heart question… He just may not answer. And, He is, after all… God. He can do that!
However, I digress… back to the point. Better questions that I do believe God answers are ones such as,
“Where do I go from here?”
“What can I do now to redeem the situation?”
“How can I serve the needs of my child in this situation?”
“How do I show love without condoning their behaviour?”
This stage of the journey, for me, is a difficult and tiring one. I don’t want simplistic formulas which don’t hold up… neither do I need a theology of clichés. Therefore I cannot write about formulas or clichés. But I can write about the things that I do know. They may not always sound theologically correct to others and for that, I apologise in advance. I wish to lead no one astray yet I desire to share what I am learning, not just in my bookish learning of the Bible but in my relationship with the Lord God. Sometimes I write before I have completely processed my thoughts. Sometimes my posts will sound all garbled. Despite my best efforts, I will get it wrong. [Apology over] So keep reading at your own discernment.
I do know that God indeed has a plan!
A plan and purpose for mankind, for me and for my child! He has promised to finish what He started in me… and He uses painful experiences to grow me in endurance and patience. He also uses these trying times to reveal my flesh, the flesh nature which may have been slightly buried in my clean-living and cosy life.
And I know that I am never alone.
This journey is plunging me into a relationship with the Lord God that I have not known previously. I can say that I’d rather live a life of hard times with the Lord God, my Father, than a life of ease and comfort without Him.
Jesus said that He will never leave or forsake me. And I know it. I don’t just believe it. I know it.