Have you ever celebrated a victory too soon, sure that you’d passed a test, only to find that you did not fare so well? Or thought you had extra money in the bank, until you discovered you forgot to pay the mortgage (or rent)?
I hope someone can relate to the feeling, because that’s where I’m at right now.
I rejoiced in my older son’s transition from a rotten stage a bit too soon. Just days after that post in mid-November, the old attitude returned. I stayed in denial for a couple weeks, praying that the hateful, smart-aleck attitude was just passing through, but I’m afraid it has set up long-term residence with my sulky/angry nine-year-old son.
I guess God decided my break was long enough. Just like nighttime gives a brief respite from the searing summer sun here in the desert, the couple of weeks of sweetness quenched the frustration that had been building inside me. Each day, I felt stronger and more prepared to continue on this parenting journey (even without a map or directions.)
Now, after nearly 3 weeks of non-stop attitude, my mule has collapsed. (Oh, I didn’t mention the mule? Yeah, she’s as stubborn as my son.) I’ve tried begging, yelling, cajoling, nudging, and even the silent treatment, but the mule won’t budge…much like my son.
I’m stuck on a trail somewhere between civilization and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I have no idea if I’ve got enough patience provisions. If I sit down to have a good cry, I will get rest, but my skin will blister in the sun. If I kick the mule into motion, I’ll continue on the journey, albeit slowly, as mules aren’t the fastest animals in the world.
Okay, I’m not actually in the Grand Canyon, but I might as well be. I don’t have a mule, either…I am the mule. Even though there are times I want to give up, I can’t, because as determined as my son is to be rude and disrespectful, I am just as motivated to make him not be that way.
Although he may be younger and more nimble in the short run, this old mule has stamina. I’m gonna need it, because I figure this push and pull will last at least nine more years. But, I’m not kidding myself; I know my job isn’t over until I take my last breath.
If I find a spot of shade, I think I’ll stop for that cry.
This week, I’ve been weary and ready to give up. I’ve felt alone, without answers. Then, I realized, I never asked God any questions. I need His strength and wisdom to guide me. My prayers this week will include asking for insight about how to communicate with my son differently.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”