Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mom, Mama, Ma, Mommy

“Mom,” “ Mama,” “ Ma,” “ Mommy” or whatever your parental name may be (sometimes in desperation your child will scream out your given name), God bless you! I am convinced that being a mom is the hardest and, at the same time, the most wonderful work there is.  I am now on the other side of parenting -- grand parenting.  Oh, how I have laughed and prayed for my children as they parent their children when they ask such questions as “Did I do that?”  “Did I have a temper?” “How do I handle…..?”
 My husband and I prayed over and for our children constantly. Every morning before school, we would plead the blood of Jesus over them and pray for a hedge of protection around them.  We prayed early on for their spouses and, of course, for their salvation. You can never begin too early – even in the womb.  We have two beautiful daughters; everything about them is different--their personalities, height, hair, career choices and on I could go—so we had to learn two sets of parenting skills.  Only once did we have to explain to them the difference in their disciplines.  We told them that we had to figure out what worked best for both of them; that was the end of that discussion.
Our first daughter was determined, loved to please, obedient, very analytical, petite and beautiful. Discipline for her meant spankings when she was small, and from the pre-teen years forward, we would take away privileges. The joke at our house was always, “What are you going to ground us from?  We can’t do anything anyway.” We had to be very deliberate and consistent.  In one instance, she said, “You just want to control my life,” to which I replied, “That’s my job and will be until your last name changes.”  I had to put my hands deep into my pockets to keep from doing something I would later regret.  Measure your actions; it could be a defining moment in your relationships with your children.
Our second daughter was shy, tenderhearted, easily embarrassed and didn’t like getting attention. That posed a real problem because she is very tall and beautiful.  She was also spanked, but most of the time, a very firm talking would do the trick. She would just break down and sob. Once, she went to the lake with another family and didn’t return in time for church. That wasn’t the issue itself:  she knew we expected her to be back in time. She cried most of the way back, so no serious discipline was necessary; however, there were no more trips to the lake.
We were always honest with our children:  when my husband and I made mistakes, we asked for forgiveness and moved on. We would quote Numbers 32:23:  “Be sure that your sin will find you out.” On separate occasions, they each learned the truth of this scripture.  They did things that they knew they weren’t supposed to and were “caught.” Even though Mom and Dad don’t see everything, God still does. We had given them over to the Lord early in their lives and asked Him to protect them and at the same time uncover things in their lives that we needed to know. This was not so they would be embarrassed but so that they would be protected from the things of this world.
Middle school age is tough, and I am convinced that some of those kids don’t know if they’re coming, going or have already been. This is a time when you have to stay consistent in discipline and choose your battles wisely. There is so much confusion in their bodies and minds that you just have to try to understand them. Ask questions, get details about trips with others. Don’t be afraid to be the “mean parent” and just say, “No.”
High school is difficult, and we found the senior year to be extremely so. They think they are all grown up because for the first time they are making big life decisions, such as college, career choices, etc. Everyone else has your child’s attention, and you are just the “dumb parent.”  Don’t compromise; stay consistent!
Discernment is critical during those years; trust the Lord with what He has shown you.  One morning we were getting ready for school, and I asked our daughter a question on a spiritual matter. She answered me, and I explained  that the Lord would not let me alone about it, so I had to ask. I said, “What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t ask?”  She said, “Just like the other moms.” Wow, such wisdom and blessing in a sentence! So go ahead and embarrass yourself from time to time; it will pay off.
Today, we have a different kind of relationship:  we can have coffee, lunch, just go places and be friends. I am still the mom, but we can enjoy life together. We were in a store recently with just one grandchild, and the clerk struck up a conversation about the Lord.  She made the comment that we must be a family of believers!  I said, “Yes, Ma’am--three generations taught of the Lord.” At that moment, I could not have been more blessed, not by my parenting skills but of the faithfulness of the Lord.

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