As an 8 year old life is simple and so complicated. Your brain is connecting the dots and is beginning to rationalize things. You are learning right and wrong. You are exploring the world, building up your list of hobbies, figuring out what music style is your favorite and beginning to hate school.
I had to have the drug talk before the sex talk with my 8 year old. Do I think that’s fair? No. Am I mad? Yes. Will it be ok? Yes. Do I feel like sometimes my child will grow up, hate me and become an addict? Every day I breath. So what do I do?
Last night Eli was asked to turn of his Christian Rock and to stop drumming on is tambourine and couch pillows. We had people over, it was loud and very distracting. He had a fit. He broke. This unfortunately has become the norm. Tears. Anger. Hate. Even more unfortunate is my reaction to it. I get angry. I don’t hit. But I get mean and I yell. I have come to terms with this. I have a short fuse. I am not proud. I haven’t always had it, but it is there now. Recently I have really REALLY been praying hard to stay calm, especially when it comes to Eli. It’s been working. But last night when I heard him asked to stop and he did not stop, I lost it. I yelled. He cried.
What would I do if my God yelled like that? I would hate. I would break. Our relationship with our children is intended to mirror our relationship with our creator. Our relationship with our spouse should be in reflection of that with our creator. Our relationship with our neighbor should mimic that with our God. The trinity=community. To help me remember this I have a sticky not posted on my desk with 2 questions; What am I doing to enhance my relationship with my kids? How am I advancing their relationship with God?
After we fought and cooled down he came to me and pulled me aside. We couldn’t go in my room because the baby was sleeping and we couldn’t go into his room because he doesn’t have a door. So we locked ourselves in the bathroom. I have more deep adult conversations with this boy than I do with my husband sometimes, he is so emotionally developed, but at the same time not. It is the weirdest and coolest thing. So anyways, he says “Mom I feel like since Max came that you hate me. You always yell at me and play with him. He is around 98% of the time. You never see me anymore.”
…..and I lost it. I couldn’t defend myself. I couldn’t find words. While dealing with the abandonment of his own father, this boy was whisked away from his family and thrown into another that is total opposite of the one we came from. Then who had to welcome a new brother and then to top of this year, losing the father that walked out on us years before. This boy feels like I hate him. This whole butterfly effect he has watched unfold, it’s tragic in his eyes. He sees his dad leave, he sees me pick up pieces. He sees a new guy and accepts him, even though he knows he is not his dad. He says bye to those who helped raise him to move to have a new rebuilt family to replace the one that broke. He never feels accepted here. He is always the odd ball. The boy from the other guy, the extra baggage. There is no connection. The food is different, the language is different. So he clings to me, to what he knows. He has a brother that gets showered in love and attention. He hears “Max is going to be Vietnamese, speak Vietnamese, eat Vietnamese.” To him, who is 8, he hears that he isn’t good enough. And as this boy tells me that he feels like I hate him and can trace these feelings back to when they began….I’m floored. I had no words. I have a rush of guilt weighing on my shoulders. Gosh it’s heavy.
Last night, it broke. Well actually this year it broke. No…wait….It broke 2 years ago. Ohhh nope, pause…..let me think…..it broke 4 years ago, or maybe 5? Maybe it broke back in 2005? Let’s be real, it breaks every day. Then with God’s grace and mercy, it mends. Jesus fixes it. He doesn’t have to. He can leave me, us broken on the bathroom floor, but instead He picks us up and leaves only 1 set of footprints in the sand while He carries us. I know this, but sometimes in the lenses of this world it is easily forgotten.
So this morning I was reading my time hop. I had all these beautiful posts on thankfulness, while feeling bitter. And it connected. I am most grateful for redemption. I am thankful that failure is an option, but it is NEVER final. I am thankful that in all of this mess I can look at Eli and say ” I am so sorry.” and together we can both look up to God and say “Please fix our mess and make it beautiful and for your glory.” I am thankful for our God that heals.
Life is messier than moon dough and it is full of layers and connections. Every action we take has an outcome. Every choice effects others. I am not at the center. I am thankful that all I do in my lower story will be a piece of His greater upper story, no matter how much I mess it up. No matter what actions we do He will use them and He will make them into something so much more beautiful. For this I am thankful. For this all I can do is fall at His feet and worship.
The ugly in my life is homemade with good intention, but not through prayer and not with God. The beauty in my life is God given. It my ugly re-sculpted with His hands. So to answer my own question on what do I do….I keep moving. Daily I need to pray, daily I need to give my will to God. And not only for me, but for others. I need to love and to share-to be naked and vulnerable, just as God intended me to be in the garden.