Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Love Him

I've been struggling with one of my children lately.  The one I often struggle with.  The serious, intense one.  The strong willed, independent one.  The deep, wildly intelligent but often negative one.  He has always been this way.  From birth, he was high needs, unable to soothe himself, unable to settle down for naps.  I've been trying to train him, to mold and shape him, to successfully exert my authority over him since almost that time.  And it's still not working.

I've tried reasoning, schedules, positive reinforcement, rewards, consequences, punishments.  I pray with and for him.  My husband sees the issues and the need for some change and growth in our son.  But he has always also encouraged me to accept some of his idiosyncrasies.  "This is who he is- how he was made" he tells me time and again.

Lately, when I pray for him, I have been hearing the Lord whispering, "Love him.  Just love him."  I do love him, Lord.  Of course, I love him!  And He whispers it again, "Love him.  Just love him."  I know what He is calling me to do.  I am not sure how to do it, though.  To let go of my agenda and my goals and my control.  To overlook the little infractions and just show him mercy and compassion and grace.  To shower him with love and affection and encouragement whenever there is an opportunity.  To focus in on the few important things for discipline and let the rest go uncorrected for now.  To value relationship over rules, his heart over his behavior.    

Just as He does for me.  Daily.  Hourly.  Some days, moment by moment.  He laid down His life for me while I was yet a sinner!  It's His goodness that leads me to repentance.  Not His law.  His law makes me feel inadequate and unworthy.  His love, His goodness inspire me.  It's because of these that I follow Him and wait expectantly to be conformed to His image.  This is how He wants me to lead my boy.  This is how I must encourage righteousness in him.

This kind of love does not come naturally to me.  In my flesh.  Without His Spirit, I am impatient and unkind, envious, boastful and proud, rude, self seeking and easily angered.  I keep a record of wrongs and silence the truth.  I do not protect or trust or have hope or persevere.  But in Him, I am a new creation.  I have His nature and this love can flow out of me.

I need only to abide in Him.  Instead, I have been abiding in my plans to change my boy.  I have put my trust and confidence and hope in the charts and systems and consequences I dream up.  And I have come to the end of myself.  I am ready to "just love him."  I am trusting Him to strengthen my resolve in the moments when the "loving" feels counterintuitive to discipline.  When it's inconvenient or embarrassing to "love him," I am expecting He will give me the grace.  I am anticipating that He will show me how to "just love him."

And when I feel the anger rise within me, I will lay it at His feet.  When my pride is bruised because of an embarrassing moment, I will cry out to Him for reassurance.  When I am tired and anxious and confused, I will cast the burden on Him, the One who cares for me.

Will I get it right everytime?  No.  Will there be an overnight transformation in my boy?  Probably not.  Will I stumble and fall?  For sure.  But bringing my will into alignment with His in this matter is an act of obedience that is long overdue from me.  So, that's all I am requiring of myself at this point.

And I am leaving the results to Him.  My boy is really not mine at all anyway, but His.  


Layton Family Joy said...

oh sweet momma - I know this post all too well! It is my heart so often. And I constantly remind myself "this is the way the Lord made him just love him". And what peace to know that the Lord loves me like this - goofy, silly, intense, angry me - and kindly, lovingly steers me to His heart.

I'm praying with you - as we steer our children to His heart!


Kat @ Inspired To Action said...

Wow. That REALLY resonated with me. I am in a similar situation with one of my children and I appreciate these wonderful words of wisdom...

Craig and Bethany said...

Thank-you for sharing this. That steering and grasping for relationship, YES, you really capture it. Thanks.

Natalie said...

Wow, ladies, thank you for the encouragement! I was hesitant to post such a personal struggle but I hoped it would bless someone. I'm glad it touched you!

hill said...

i feel like this is exactly what is on my heart with my first born (but just said much more eloquently than i would have been able to). thank you for your honesty and your open heart. xoxo.


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