I was gifted these flowers today by a child who was not happy about the consequences of the choices they made. I get my share of hate mail, but these are my first dead flowers.
This might have upset me or even caused tears to well up in my eyes a few years ago, but my skin has grown thicker and thicker the longer I have lived the parent life. It’s more typical for parents to encounter this behavior in the teen years, but we have a child who started much earlier. I never considered myself tough. Words of encouragement is my love language, and I’m an Enneagram 2, so words really impact me to my core. I still remember things that were said to me years and years ago. Once when I was in a had a falling out with friend in my 20s, I saw an email from her in my inbox at work. I grabbed a friend and asked her to delete it all the way so I was not tempted to read those words. I knew they would stick with me for a long time, so I chose not to read them.
In my earliest years of challenging parenting, I asked God why exactly He chose me for this job. It was exhausting me on a daily basis. I struggled to see the good in it. I felt defeated and discouraged all day long. Then one day as I folded laundry and prayed, God told me that He gave me this job because He knew I wouldn’t give up. He knew I would know where to turn when it became more than I could handle.
I didn’t always make the right choice. For a while, I sought things that satisfied me for a moment but never filled the void that was growing in me. I didn’t feel strong in any way. Post-partum depression combined with life circumstances tried to take me down, and I was tempted to let it. But I never got away from the fact that He is my only true hope.
There is no easy road in parenting. Or in life. We may take what seems like the easy way out early on, but we will pay for it later. If we choose the hard road now, we will reap the rewards of those choices in years to come. Sowing and reaping is a biblical principle that cannot be avoided.
I wanted to write this because I saw a glimmer of hope last night. This child experienced some unwanted consequences from me and from Dad, and usually this situation would result in at least a day or two of pouting before they could get over it. This time, within a couple of hours I received a sincere apology. I see that as a sign of growth, even if today still has its difficulties.
I challenge you to look for the glimmer of hope in your situation. If you struggle to find one, just remember that God loves you, and He is for you. And I’m always hear with a listening ear.
I have a hard time writing and not including a song that is filling me up right now. Today, it’s this one. I hope it encourages you, too.