Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14
Parenting is hard. Before I became a mom, I remember seeing other women with their babies, each time a-wishing- and -a- wanting I had one of my very own. My married girlfriends voiced my same desire, “Awwwww, I want a baby!” they chimed in unison. Never once do I recall any of us saying, “Awwwww, I want a teenager!”
That should have been my first clue.
Do you have teenagers? If you do, it's doubly hard. Are you tired? If you're doing it right you should be. Our son David is fifteen. We have already gone through the teen years with our oldest daughter Meghan -so begins Round Two.
David's grades aren't where they should be, or could be. He would much rather be socializing with friends, than working on his schoolwork. This child who grew up dazzling me with his impish grin and constant comic relief, is trying to win his teachers over with the same performance. Clearly, love makes a difference.
This Christmas his one and only gift request is for an Ipod Touch. He doesn't have a cellphone and craves the ability to text his friends like everyone else. This type of Ipod would give him that ability he says. And apparently, he is the only teenager in the western hemisphere who doesn't have one. We have never been parents who have been persuaded with the “Everyone has one.” argument. Though, he has given this line his best shot.
Because I'm a mom, I want to bless my son. I want to give him everything he desires. I want his Christmas morning to be magical and his joy to be off the charts. I want to give him an Ipod Touch. But, I just can't. If my son cannot take the time to study for a geometry test, why would I give him something that will distract him even more?
It reminds me of how the Lord often times says “No.” to me. If I was given everything I desired, what would my life look like? If the Lord granted all of my prayer requests at fifteen, I would be married to Shawn Cassidy, driving a red Pinto, and living in Disneyland.
Because the Lord loves us, there is no request granted or declined that hasn't first been sifted through His hands of love. Quite often, what we ask for we aren't ready for. And sometimes, just like our children, there is some work that needs to be done in us before we can handle the very thing we are praying for.
This Christmas, because I love my son, he won't be getting an Ipod Touch. This Christmas, I won't be saying YES. And, to be completely honest with you, on the morning of December 25th, I think I may be more disappointed than him.
Parenting is hard.
Lord, help me to remember that my child's wants and his needs are two very different things. Please give me the strength to make the tough decisions, the heart to love with each tough decision made, and the endurance to do it all over again tomorrow.