Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing Up...

My heart's a little heavy today. There's a lot going on inside of me right now that is kind of scaring me, stressing me out and all-around pressing down on my shoulders. If it weren't for the sustaining power of Jesus in my life, I'd probably run away from home or something crazier.

Please don't misunderstand me. I live a very blessed life. I'm head over heels in love with my husband and am so totally in love with my kids that sometimes I wish I could miniaturize them and carry them around in my bag so that I can take them out and kiss and squeeze them anytime I want. I don't need to wish that about my husband because we kiss and squeeze each other all day anywayz as he and I work in adjoining cubicles.

One of the major things tugging at me right now is the fact that my kids are getting older  - my oldest just turned 18 for goodness sake! My oldest has been for the most part my most well-behaved child since the very beginning. (I mean, seriously, he slept through the night, every night, from the very first day I brought him home.) I don't mean to compare him to my other two kids, really, but I don't remember being so afraid for him as I am for my other two kids at this point in time. The age difference between my oldest and my two younger children is only about five years, but it seems like the things they're exposed to these days weren't big issues for my Jaylen when he was about that age.

Jada...sigh. My 12-year-old Jada is, simply put, just too beautiful and "developed" for her age; to make things "worse," she has a very trusting and sweet personality. I am constantly afraid for her because I don't want her to be taken advantage of by boys - OR girls for that matter. I wish she wasn't as open and trusting as she is...yet the very things I want to protect her from are most likely the very things that will also "teach" her to be more guarded and careful when selecting who to trust. I am praying daily that if/when she learns the lessons that will mature and sharpen her discernment, it doesn't also harden her precious heart. Of my three children, I am MOST protective of her.

Noah...sigh again. My 13-year-old Noah has unfortunately been showing signs of a rebel personality. Of my three children, he is the one who struggles the most with following the rules. I swear, it's like he feels rules simply don't apply to him. I don't get it. His selection of friends and overall decision-making have been poor at best these last couple of years, and the consequences are more serious than I ever expected, rearing their ugly heads more frequently and pointedly these last few months.

Noah had always been my most challenging child, even from pregnancy. I was put on bed rest the last two months I carried him because my doctor was afraid he'd come out of me sooner than he was supposed to (I was two cm dilated at six mos.); he refused to breast feed; he didn't sleep through the night for nearly TWO YEARS after he was born; he was in and out of the emergency room the entire first year of his life with respiratory issues aggravated by my family's smoking, forcing me to move out of my mom's house with two kids at the very tender age of 22 for fear that staying there would kill my son; and he was kicked out of at least three different daycare facilities in two years due to wild behavior like stabbing holes in leather couches with pens and chopping another little girl's beautiful hair off with scissors.


All of this was on top of the fact that he threw extremely violent temper tantrums during which he would tell me he hated me and wished he had a different mother. For some reason my writing that just now made me tear up a bit. That last thing, where he would tell me he hated me, ended at about four years old, when I'd had enough of it, yanked him up by the front of his shirt, pressed him against a wall and let him know in no uncertain terms that I was NOT some random chick on the street, I was NOT his friend, that I didn't give a flying fig newton (ok, I might have said something else beginning with an 'f'; I wasn't saved then :/) whether or not he ever loved or liked me, but that he WOULD respect me, because I am the only mother he is ever going to have.

That encounter along with weekly beatings seemed to do the trick for a while. He never verbally lashed out at me again and he became more well-behaved. He seemed to start caring about whether or not he hurt or disappointed me with his actions, and did his best to make me proud. Even on his first day of kindergarten he assured me all would be well as I stood there wringing my fingers at the classroom door. He said to me, "Don't worry, mom. It will be okay. You'll see!" This commitment to being good lasted until about two years ago...

I find that when you have a relationship with someone in which there are a lot of challenges you face together, it sort of bonds you in a way that is unlike your easier, breezier relationships. This doesn't make one relationship any better or closer or favoriter (yes, I said "favoriter;" it's in my yet-to-be-published, New Jessika's Dictionary of Made-Up Words) than the others, just different. I have a connection with Noah...the way we communicate is very different from the way I communicate with my other two children...

It's quite possible that, if I allow myself to admit it, he and I are very much alike. He looks nothing like me, so much unlike me in fact that I've had people ask, "Oh, is he yours, too?"; but, there are a lot of things I've noticed about his personality that are very much like me, like it or not. These things make me want to choke him and love him more all at the same time. Anywayz, today, Noah has again become my big challenge, and I'm needing God now more than ever so that I don't screw it up.

For those of you who pray - in Jesus' name that is - please pray for us: for my daughter, that she would get closer to God and better discern and dare to be different from her friends; for my 18-year-old son, that he would get closer to God and find his way in this next stage of his life, and make decisions that will lead him to success; for Noah, that he will get closer to God and make smarter, more God-led decisions with regard to behavior and selecting his friends; and for my husband and me, that we will remember to always seek God's face first when it comes to caring for, disciplining and instructing our children so that our parenting may be positive and effective...

THANK YOU in advance...

Until next time,



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