Today’s MAFM is written by Laurel. She has two amazing kids (both grown and married) and two beautiful granddaughters. Please enjoy learning and growing from her as I have done!
Sitting in a booth of Outback Restaurant, celebrating my son Kenney’s 25th birthday, I found myself more than a little surprised at what my son recalled from his childhood. Our lovely daughter Andrea had launched us into the discussion by asking how we landed on Kenneth as his name. “Well, we actually didn’t agree on the boy- name I said. Your dad really wanted Kenneth after his dad. I wanted a more contemporary name…like “Cash”. Kenney about choked at this tid bit of history. I think he’s glad my husband held his ground. My husband did have a bit of a fight on his hands with me, until I saw him looking at Kenney in the delivery room. It melted my heart. But my husband’s mom, that was a different story. We thought maybe she would never forgive us for naming Kenney after her “ex” husband. It was years before she called my son anything other than “Little _ _ _ _” –even though she spoiled him rotten!
Andrea seemed captivated by all that she was learning about her husband. It was fun…until… one thing led to another, and suddenly I was listening to Kenney tell about numerous parenting decisions I had made. Parenting decisions that I have absolutely no recollection of!! Was it true that I broke a music CD in half because I disagreed with the lyrics? Did I really insist that my husband Mike put his bullet proof vest (he’s a detective) on Kenney the first day the two of them went hunting? Could it be that the first time he drove himself to church I cried? Did I really freak out when I found he listened to anything else but Christian Radio? It’s not that I can’t see myself doing these things. Actually, the bullet-proof vest idea is kinda brilliant I think! But, out of all the things I did as a mom for my son, this is what came to mind on his 25th birthday?
I’m getting ready to turn 52, and I know some of you reading this blog are much younger. And honestly, motherhood is the most rewarding and difficult job out there. I remember when the kids were little, calling my girlfriend, a fellow nurse, and lamenting how much we both wanted to….go to work!! Why? Because working with adults at a job you felt you were competent at was easier than staying home. Motherhood had no defined “protocols”, there were no families patting you on the back thanking you for saving a life. There are children, children who challenge you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As I reflect on Kenney’s birthday memories, I see a theme. Protection.
But, as many of you have discovered, protecting your children is a bigger job the older they get.
When safety moves beyond the realm of car seats, outlet covers, and helmets…our job as mom’s gets bigger and harder.
After all, how do you protect your children emotionally? When they come home from school and tell you stories that makes your blood boil do you run to the school, find the responsible party, and “take care of it”? How do you protect them physically when you aren’t with them 24/7 anymore? Do you say “no” to spending the night with a friend? Are they banned from dating and driving?
I wouldn’t recommend any of these things. What I would pass on to you, is this, right out of Ps 101. In my years as a mom raising kids this passage is one that God brought to my attention on a regular basis. And it basically said three things to me. First, my eyes and heart belong to God. He’s first.
I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
I will praise you with songs.
It’s strange, but sometimes as mom’s we can actually put our kids in front of everything and everyone else….even dare I say our husbands!! Some of the practical ways I did this was by spending time with God on a daily basis. My kids saw me reading the Bible, praying, and journaling. Often this was with the “Church Channel” playing in the background. Those times with God were precious to me. I prayed for my kids safety. I prayed for the right friends, and for the wrong ones to be “taken out” of the way. God was faithful.
Secondly, this passage reminds us moms that before we tell our kids what they should or shouldn’t be doing, we better look in the mirror, check the history bar on the computer, and so on.
2 I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
3 I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
4 I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.
Our kids are “reading” us all the time. What do the “words” of our life say? It’s scary. I remember the first time my daughter Kelsey, age 6 at the time, stomped her foot, put her hands on her hips, and said a cuss word! The very word I used to say when I was mad. Then foot and the hips..all me!!! As mom’s, there is nothing more motivating than realizing our kids are going to copy what we do more than listen to what we say.
Third, popular or not, I did “police” my home; especially as the kids got older.
5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.
6 I will search for faithful people
to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
will be allowed to serve me.
7 I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
and liars will not stay in my presence.
The Psalmist here describes how important it is to have boundaries and non-negotiable in your home. This isn’t easy-matter of fact it is down right tough to not give in. But protecting our kids means caring about things like their attitudes, honesty, and their choice of friends. If the kids only knew the lengths I went to……for example, don’t tell them, but I did go through their belongings from time to time. I read notes from friends, I looked at their itunes purchases, and yes I did destroy things I felt were harmful to them. Obviously, I wasn’t always popular, they didn’t always “like” me. But, I held onto a piece of advice from a fellow nurse throughout those years. It gave me hope. She said, “This is not the time to be their friend, that will come later. You need to be their mom.”
Those teen years in particular were hard. But guess what? My kids are now my friends. We hang out, we enjoy each other, and I confide in them.
Feel free to use this graphic as your computer background (it is the psalm Laurel wrote about). I am going to write this psalm down and put it on my fridge as a reminder.
candles picture from happybirthdaycake2015.com