>When all else fails, try love

>

So lately I’ve been trying a new tactic in my relationship with my 17.75yo son. Love. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always loved him. From the moment I knew he was growing in me until my last dying breath I have and will always love my son. But our relationship has been quite strained of late. I’ve made it perfectly clear in many different ways how disappointed I am in him, how frustrated and frightened I feel for him, and how upset, angry and hurt I am with a variety of his choices.

No, he’s not doing heroin or selling his body on the street, or anything even remotely like that. But frankly, I have been operating under the assumption that if I did everything “right” then my kids would turn out a certain way. And this kid has let me down. He owed me perfection for all my time, effort and sacrifice, damn it, and now he thinks he gets to just go and live his life and make mistakes and not be a living monument to how great a mom I am?

My son is an artist and artists must suffer, doncha know? Unfortunately, it wasn’t in MY plan that either of my children ever suffer. I’ve done the suffering for them…if only they’d listen to me and follow my advice then they’d be exempt. But that’s a no go.

Anyway, back to love. When I was pulling out the art to stick up on the wall of my guestroom I found this:

I did this needlepoint while on bedrest when I was pregnant with my first child. As I was admiring this the Lord brought to my attention the saying, “Children need love when they least deserve it.”

Hmmmm. Didn’t the Lord love me when I least deserved it? He most certainly did. He took care of me and watched over me when I deserved most to be tossed out the window. Then I felt in my heart the Lord ask me, “How are you loving your son right now?” Suddenly, my eyes welled up with tears that began to run down my face.

I guess yelling at him and letting him know loud and clear on a nearly daily basis what a big, fat disappointment he is to me isn’t exactly like loving, is it?

The next morning I got up early and made his favorite muffins. And everyday since that day I’ve tried to find and do something loving for my son. I helped him with his laundry (I usually make him do his own). I bought him a favorite snack food. I say positive, affirming statements to him about the good things he is doing as soon as I notice them. I acknowledge the right things he’s doing and I thank him whenever he’s thoughtful, helpful and/or respectful. Etc, etc, etc. Everyday. Something loving.

And guess what? We’re getting along better and better. In fact, I see his heart softening towards me. He’s seeking me out. He’s asking me my opinion about things (miracle!). He’s very affectionate. He’s been calling right away when he’s going to be late and when I ask him to do something he’s been doing it right away without any negative attitude at all. It is actually becoming fun to have him around. And some other really good things are happening too.

The other day a wise lady I know brought this Scripture to my remembrance:

“….’If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him
something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:20-21)

Duh.

I’d been trying to win my son with my anger and unkind remarks and it wasn’t working. Duh.

So may I suggest that if you are having strife with someone you love consider doing something loving for them. At the very least, you’ll be heaping coals on their head and at the very most, you’ll be acting like Christ…loving them, like He does us, when they least deserve it.

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13 thoughts on “>When all else fails, try love

  1. >Good stuff.I had my own little epiphany with my ds, that he just wants to be respected. So I’ve been trying to show him respect as he spouts the types of ludicrous, ridiculous things that 14 year old boys spout. It had almost become a pattern riding in the car with him and his Dad for his Dad and me to chortle our way through whatever stupid story he was telling us had happened at youth group. But then, one day, while he was getting really angry and frustrated with us, I just mentally “stepped out of the car and the conversation” for a moment and thought, “Oh my gosh, if I were trying to tell someone a story, and they were treating me like I was a stupid idiot, I would be SO angry.” Sometines, though, when they really ARE talking like stupid idiots, it’s pretty tough to mask how you feel! But if I want to have any hope of him continuing to share his life with me, I had better shut down this lack of respect/superior rolling of the eyes pattern that his father and I have gotten into. So, we’re doing better about that, and my ds seems to feel better about talking to us about what’s going on in his life apart from us, too.Have I mentioned that I miss you?

  2. >Isn’t is sad how we treat our child in ways that we’d never treat anyone else in the world? They do want respect. They do want encouragement. Why is that so hard to give sometimes?My son took an Engligh placement exam for college required of all incoming students and scored 99%. (Thanks Sonlight!). One of the things he’s been doing for years now is acting out by doing poorly with his studies. It has been so frustrating because I KNOW how smart and gifted he is. Unfortunately, he’d started to believe his own lie–that he’s not good at school stuff. That exam was like his own epiphany. And I made sure to let him know how proud I was of him.Like I said, it is getting better and better.chloe

  3. >Chloe, It’s amazing how God sends us messages in more ways than one and from more sources than one. You know what I mean? How He BOMBARDS us the with the same message in countless ways until it becomes undeniable that He’s trying to tell us something. Well, that’s been me this week. And your blog post was one of His “ways” today. I’ve had one of the worst weeks ever. And when I’m stressed, I tend to take it out on my kids and it because a cycle of my stress causing them to misbehave causing me more stress and on and on. Today, I lost it. Totally blew up, shaking mad. I sad down and had a chat with my Father. I confessed my anger and my own childish behavior. And He gently instructed me to open my Bible to 1 Corinthians 13 and go through it with my children. After apologizing to them, we studies “the Love Chapter” together. We evaluated ourselves on each of the “love is” statements. That was such a healing time. It was 3 hours ago and the kids have been perfect since then. Your needlepoint really touched me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. >I *love* that Scripture. ;)I am SO ready to make a reservation to your guest room. DH is racking up the frequent flier miles, and will be ready to send me on a retreat when his work slows down.Although today he got calls from 6 clients for whom he is not currently working on projects, and they all want him to come to them. He has, right now, reservations for Wichita, and I have to book him a flight to Sacramento tomorrow. He’s going to Anapolis at the end of June, and Anchorage called today. It’s all in the Bonus miles, baby. LOL My wise man knows how to take a job that requires travel and make me his biggest cheerleader. I get all his reward miles.

  5. >Well, since you are the wise lady who gave me the Scripture you win a free retreat in my guest room, anytime. I slept in it last night and it was marvelous. I literally slept 10 hours straight through. It must be the featherbed. The walls look just like vanilla ice cream when the morning sun hits them.chloe

  6. >Thank you for this Chloe! How timely and wonderful! God is teaching me similar lessons w/ B… I have been working on chilling out and giving her grace when the human ‘Momster’ in me says … NO WAY CHICKIE! Praise God for that because what you said is right… they are drawn into us instead of away from us when we just love as Jesus does. These last couple weeks have been blessed around here. As I read your blog I was thinking… so different, but so similar. Thank you for sharing this! So… I am years behind you.. in the new armpit hair swarm of hormones with a daughter too much like me for either of our sakes. Thank you for reminding me that I will survive this… and look good doing it too! 😉

  7. I *love* that Scripture. ;)I am SO ready to make a reservation to your guest room. DH is racking up the frequent flier miles, and will be ready to send me on a retreat when his work slows down.Although today he got calls from 6 clients for whom he is not currently working on projects, and they all want him to come to them. He has, right now, reservations for Wichita, and I have to book him a flight to Sacramento tomorrow. He's going to Anapolis at the end of June, and Anchorage called today. It's all in the Bonus miles, baby. LOL My wise man knows how to take a job that requires travel and make me his biggest cheerleader. I get all his reward miles.

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