“All discipline for the moment, seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, but afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews12:11
Finally, I was alone in my bedroom, door closed, sipping a cup of hot tea and desperately hoping for a few minutes alone. The week had been especially busy. I had spent myself on my family and was feeling the emptiness of pouring out.
Cooking meals, washing dishes, driving the kids to activities, encouraging in late night bed-time meetings with struggling teens, daytime confronting attitudes that needed correction, intentionally investing life-giving words to one who was down, organizing and following up on school work that needed to be completed, friends spending the night–pouring out my heart and life had left me weary, and did I mention, cooking one more time…
There was a quiet knock at my door. “Mom, can I come in for just a few minutes and talk?”
“Sure, honey, ” was my outward reply as my inward heart fought away a slight feeling of dread.
“It feels like you are against me lately. Sometimes I think you are just waiting for me to do something else so you can confront me with my “responsibility” or “choices” and I just don’t feel like you understand how I feel. I feel like you are critical of my friends. I feel alone. I, I, I …………”
My sweet, struggling teen poured out complaints against me–I, the one who was already weary from my giving one more time. In her eyes, I seemed to be the one who was enthusiastically hurling out rules and chastisements, gaining pleasure from the power I wielded over her, so content to make her life miserable and challenging.
Entering into high school years with her had brought new challenges. The friends who had been close and beloved companions for years, were making choices that would lead her into temptation. Her closest friend was practicing unacceptable behavior and choices that were unallowable for her.
Conversations had been intense during the week. I could see the need and longing in my daughter’s heart for friends, acceptance, and wanting to belong and hating to always be the one who “took a stand.” I understood the loneliness of holding fast to ideals when it felt that everyone around you was throwing them away.
Yet, having journeyed through teenage years before with my other children, I knew that choices had consequences, and I had to be the “bad guy” and hold fast to our family ideals. These were the years to be steadfast, patient, loving, in order to lead her to a place of blessing in the long run.
I longed to take this child into my arms and give comfort. But, my struggling child sat rigid, aloof, battling feelings of resentment, not understanding my necessity to hold fast to our decisions.
My willingness to comfort her was rejected.
As I sat quietly listening to her, choosing not to be offended or angry, and seeking how I could make a choice to understand and give my sympathy, God invaded my thoughts.
“This is how I often feel as your parent, Sally. So many times, when I want to be close to you, you stand afar. As my little girl, you question my ways. You accuse me of not listening to your heart, your prayers. You wonder where I have gone.”
“But in my love, I must sometimes say “no.” I know what is best for you. I know the ways you need to grow and the training your soul requires so that you will become stronger. Today, know that I am here, I understand and I love both you and your sweet little girl.”
And so, the couch in my bedroom, with my teary eyed daughter unaware, became a place of worship and understanding. I felt His arms around my shoulders, saying, “I understand. I have had to play the role of the bad guy, too.”
By Sally Clarkson, who blogs at I Take Joy and loves helping women embrace the great call of motherhood and building a godly generation right in their home. Celebrating each moment of life by living with joy and grace.Leave a Comment