I have made a new friend. She is lovely and smart and truly a "kindred spirit". She thought she was looking for someone to encourage her, little did she know how much the Lord was going to use her to encourage me in my mommy-ing.
My new friend and I are both moms to first born daughters. We are also each mom to our own set of boys adopted from the foster care system. We both endeavor, often daily, to understand the unique needs of these boys and struggle to determine whether or not we have finally lost our minds or if it is just part of raising children with extra needs.
She asks, "Is it normal for boys to use their nightlights to make sparks and scorch their outlets? Is it normal for boys to lie constantly? Is it normal for boys to see how much they can get away with when their parent literally walks out of the room for 5 minutes? Is it normal for boys to sneak into food, hide the wrappers behind the washing machine, and do this every single morning before you wake up (and it’s still dark out) even when you’ve fed them man size, hearty portions all day long? Is it normal for boys to be unable to look you in the eyes even when they know they are not in trouble? Is it normal to go over something that is inappropriate or dangerous a dozen times or more and boys are just going to keep doing it regardless what you say or what consequence you give? Are these all seriously normal boy behaviors and I missed the memo somewhere?"
My response, "We are in the trenches in a battle for their souls as well as our own. This is what I was thinking about when I named my blog The Ascetic Lives of Mothers. We are constantly being forced to die to ourselves, battling against unseen forces (whether spiritual or physiological). There are the constant behavior grenades going off and attitude snipers that catch us unawares. We are blindsided by the attachment disorder tanks and surprised by the auditory/sensory processing special forces. And yet we stand. By the grace of God we stand. And though we might be dragging them through the mud and forcefully setting their feet upon the ground, they stand too."
Our boys are different, and they DO have issues some will never experience, but I think every mother struggles, at one time or another, to understand her children. I think we all struggle throughout our mothering journey to understand ourselves as mothers, working out our salvation, laboring for our children and with our children to help them to be able to stand firmly as they learn to walk in this world. I think most of us doubt ourselves and look back at our parenting journey with a list of what ifs. But,GLORY BE TO GOD, our Lord reminds us that all is not lost and our labor is not in vain.
2 Cor. 4:8-10 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Dearest Lord Jesus, show me how to be a loving mother to my children. You know the desire of my heart is to mother my children in a way that will draw them to You. Forgive my shortcomings and help me not to sink into despair, but to rise up in faith with the knowledge that Your holy power is strong enough to sustain me and guide me to be the mother my children need. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen and quick to forgive my children of their faults. Grant me Your vision for my children that I may know how to train, encourage and pray for them. For you are holy now and unto ages of ages. Amen.