we’re all wrestling…

February 12, 2014

Leloir_-_Jacob_Wrestling_with_the_Angel[1]

I am always there. I’m a little more than halfway up the bleachers, on the edge of my seat, watching him jump rope and jog back and forth, warming up those ever growing, young man muscles… taking deep breaths, stretching his arms, glancing anxiously at his mama every now and then. he’s trying to sike himself up to confront his enemy.

I know this. I am trying to remember to breath myself and prepare to watch someone grapple, in the most physical way, with my babe.

the blood bucket is alongside the mat, and it has all ready been used a couple times tonight. they keep a bucket for blood… they know that someone will be bleeding, someone will be hurt.

the shrill buzzer sounds, a hand is raised victorious, and as one fighter leaves, flesh of my flesh comes to the middle of the mat and shakes hands and enters battle.  2 minutes has hardly ever lasted so long. and now another 2 minutes… my heart pounds, I am so anxious for him. it is much harder than I had expected to sit idlely by, and just watch, as my boy wrestles and is wrestled.

the final round and I see pain streak across his face. the mat is slapped. and this time, the other man-child’s hand is raised, while mine limps out of the ring… thru his supportive teammates… and slumps against the wall… beaten. … … … and my mama’s heart falls.

…. .. …. . . ….. .. …

even though I know, and can see, that this season of wrestling has made him stronger, refined his skill, increased his character … I want to run down to him and tell him he did his best and ask what hurts and take him home and help get his sweatshirt back on and get him something to eat, something to drink and how can I take the ache away?!?!?  but I sit.  and wait.  giving him time to catch his breath and perspective.

as I sit … … the thought comes to me… how much more? how much more does God, our Father in Heaven!, hurt for me, hurt for us? how much more does He watch us train and warm up and prepare for the battles ahead and feel proud? how much more does His heart stir as we step out on to the mat, facing all kinds of foes … depression, fear, parenting, marriage, finances, health ? how much more does He hurt when we limp away from our battles, to go quietly lick our wounds and prepare for the next round? and just how much more, even though He can see that we have become, and are becoming, stronger, more refined, increased in character, does He long to gather us up and bring us home, where there is no more hurt or anguish or sorrow?

…. .. . .. … .. ….. .. .. . . ….. …

we’re all wrestling. wrestling big things. sometimes we win the battle and sometimes we don’t. we need to remember though, that through the process, we are becoming stronger. we are building character and most importantly, our Father God is always there for us. always watching, always cheering, always aware of our struggles and hurts, aware of our tears.  He knows we’re all wrestling something and He is always for us.

~If God is for us, who can be against us?~

Romans 8:31

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when did this happen…

February 8, 2011

after a long and challenging day of home school, I made a rather frantic call to brian, expressing that it would probably be in the best interest of all involved if he could get home quickly after work.  (just the kind of call I’m sure he loves to get)  of course he asked and answered all of the obligatory questions and then he decided it would better for him to stay home for the night rather than go to bsf…  he had some ‘principal’ work to attend to.

as the afternoon was wearing on, I started to think that I acted in haste and a certain young man would be paying for that when his dad got home.  I also knew that brian can be very loud and definitely intimidating when he wants to be… especially if you are half his size.  I started to feel bad.  what could I do about it at that point?  brian does not like it when someone is giving me grief, even if that someone is another member of the family… he wasn’t going to just forget about it and move on with his day.  he’s going to want to fix the situation. 

so then, as I stood in the kitchen, watching the silver pony (that’s what we call the truck) back into its parking place, I got a little nervous about what was about to go down.  needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised when my sweet lover and protector calmly walked in the door and exchanged all the usual niceties with everyone.  then I began to wonder if there would be any punishment… I mean, I expected something… I didn’t want dawson to get away with the behavior that had been incessant all day.  I didn’t want him to be hollered at necessarily, but I did want him to be accountable.

no sooner had I thought that, then I heard brian call from his desk, “dawson.  come over here and bring your bible.” in a very stern, you-better-be-paying-attention kind of voice.

I stood there by the sink, thinking to myself, ‘hhhhmmm.. this is could be interesting…’

anyway, long story short, brian had dawson write out about 6 different verses from his bible dealing with wisdom, obedience, love and respect.  I was SO impressed and all most moved to tears that this was the consequence that brian had come up with.  he never raised his voice in the slightest and obviously had put some thought into what would happen when he got home.  I got all warm and tingly and started falling in love with this man all over again… one more reason to love him(or maybe four or five reasons)… he wants to raise these children in a godly manner… he’s doing his best… he’s always on my side… he loves them… he loves me…

all that back story just to say:

then my thoughts went to, ‘when did this happen?!’  I mean, at what point in my life did a man with some kind of moral convictions become charming to me?  I don’t remember ever  thinking that I would want to be married to a man who reads his bible or a man who would have a conversation with his children about why it is so important that they love, honor and respect their parents… not that I didn’t want that, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.  and yet, that’s exactly where I am now.  I wouldn’t want anything less.  I know it has happened in the last few years, because I can remember the first time I became aware of this ‘draw’ towards a man just because of his faith.  we were sitting in church and when the pastor asked if there was anyone who would like to stand and say the verse for the week, a young man proudly stood and recited the whole thing ( and it was long ).  I was greatly impressed and thought to myself that someday that fine young man would make someone a great husband.  he became more attractive of a man, just because of his love for Christ.  that had never been a feature that I had been attracted to before in my life.  now it is.  which leads me to conclude, that brian and I are living proof that God is amazing in His ability to change lives, hearts and minds, for His pleasure and for His glory, through putting a desire for a godly man in my heart and softening brian’s would be anger to a gentle answer … and that was just today!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

~2 Corinthians 5:17~

(sigh)

so, I didn’t actually say it, but I was thinking it.  we’re having to do some disciplining that I’d rather not do.  without disclosing too much information, let ‘s just say that my fine young man has some struggles like every other fine young man out there.  it’s so hard …   I just want to ignore it.  or even throw a fit about it and then just move on. … … … BUT… … … it’s time to let him know we are serious.  the issue is serious.  we aren’t messing around.  he’ll be sitting out of the highschool football game where the younger players all make the tunnel for the big guys to run through.  he cried when we told him.

and now…

I feel bad.  I want to cry.  I don’t want to make him sit out.  I don’t want to hold him accountable.  I don’t want to be the parents, the tough parents.  this is actually hurting me!  I want to take him to the game, give him $20 bucks and say go have some fun.  I want to just dismiss his behavior as childish, immature.  I don’t want to ‘expect more’ from him.   (sigh… sigh… sigh)  this is so hard.

and yet… I know… I have been given charge over this boy.  I am the one that must steer him in such way that when he is grown he will be a blessing and not a burden. …  dear Lord… help me.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

now that we are more aware of how much of an impact the everyday little things are on the forming of a boy into a man, we are trying to give dawson as many opportunities as we can. he has taken his new job of locking the door at night very seriously and hasn’t missed a night.  he doesn’t even need reminded.  in fact, he has been doing his little nighttime walk through right after supper some nights.

last night, brian was putting new brake pads on the van.  usually this is something that he would just go do on his own, but last night dawson john was out on the garage floor with his dad.  he learned about brake pads and routers.  he pulled the tire off himself and helped to fasten the nuts back on.  and when they came in, brian was very excited in telling me just how strong dawson is… which brought a delightful smile, with a hint of pride to dawson’s young face, as they stood side by side at the sink washing their hands with GOOP. …  my little tender heart… who now looks me in the eye, has broken into the 100+ pound range, grows an average of 1/4-1/2  inch a month and wears his cap backwards just like his daddy.  I can practically see him growing right in front of me!

we’re gonna make a man out of him.  not a guy. (as we heard at the parenting seminar over the weekend)  not that locking doors or changing brake pads make anyone a ‘man’, but the principles behind them do.  we want him to know how to protect and provide for his family someday… Lord willing. 

even though it is exciting to see him grow and change and become a fine young man, somehow it also makes my mama’s heart a little sad…  it is hard to see them grow.  and it happens so fast.  it really does seem like he was about knee-high, calling himself “see-son” not that long ago.   God give me the strength and the courage to keep training this boy in the way he should go.  help us to make him into a man.  I love him so…

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.  In everything set them a good example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned… Titus 2:6-8

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

little big man…

February 22, 2010

tonight I had a little talk with dawson about some of the bigger responsibilities that brian and I are thinking he can take on now.  I told him that we wanted him to start developing a habit and awareness of how to keep a future wife and children safe.  one simple thing we want him to do is to make sure the front door is locked before he goes to bed.  this is something he will do every night, but especially on nights when daddy is working late or not at home… like tonight.  he will have to be the man, a young man, but the man of the house none the less.  he listened very intently, which was nice to see, and I could see a mix of emotions stirring behind those big baby blues.  all of a sudden he sat a little taller, held his chest out a bit and was proud to be given such a huge responsibility… but there was also a genuine concern lurking too.  I could tell he was abit nervous and he said a little hesitantly, ‘mom… I’m afraid I will forget.’.  this was real concern.  he was really worried about the safety of his family if he should forget to lock the door. (bless his big tender heart)  I reassured him that daddy or I would walk through it with him every night until it got to be more of a habit.  with that being said, we headed for the front door for our first trial run.  we opened the door to check for any packages or deliveries, shut the door, locked it and turned off the light.  he looked at me, all most at eye level, with a great amount of pride.  such a small thing for us to hand over to him and yet it sent him sky-high with the joy of being a young man with serious responsibilities.

I can’t take full credit for this.  I heard something along these lines at a recent parenting conference at our church.  it was all about the shifting from childhood to young adulthood and how this not so pleasant age of adolescence keeps getting longer and longer in our society.  so much so that we have plenty of adults in their 20s and even 30s who are still acting like children instead of responsible adults.  I want to do better.  and it looks like having dawson lock the front door at night might be a step in the right direction.

on a side note… after we went through this process, which involved a couple other things, I layed down by cole to read him a story.  dawson in his new found pride went and got the nail clippers and pulled up a chair beside cole’s bed and clipped his nails.  a chore that I am always after him to do, a chore that I don’t think he has ever  done free will.  I guess it was the next most responsible thing he could think of to do.  I just grinned to myself all the while as I kept reading to cole.  … my little big man… ready to keep his family safe and have good hygiene while doing it!