Birthing an adult

I had the privilege to speak with a mom who had a teenager. The teenager is having to deal with a lot of issues. I kept hearing from the mom about what the teenager was doing to her, her husband (the dad) and the rest of the family. It seemed that it was the same thing each day. To say that she was frustrated, didn’t even come close. She was looking for a place to put this child to get help. As much as I could sympathize with her about her daughter’s issues, I felt the greater need to hear her as a mom. A dear friend of mine once said that birthing babies was easy, it is the birthing of adults that is difficult.

I have four children. I remember how different and at the time difficult it was helping them to become adults. I must confess, I am not sure I did it all correctly. In fact, I think that as a parent at that time, I stunk! (This does not define who I am, I just had some learning to do!) They are each unique. They each have their own personalities, ideas and gifts. Trying to place a “cookie cutter” formula just didn’t work. I read books,  studied other great examples, prayed, bound and loosed everything! I was given some great advice: don’t make mountains out of mole hills, let them individuate, and don’t treat them like you used to. What worked for them as children is NOT going to work as a teenager!

Here are a couple of tips that may help you with your soon-to-be adult:

1: Don’t make mountains out of mole hills. In other words, there are some things that you can allow to go by the way side. Focus on the things that are important for them to keep as they move forward. Respect, understanding, love, honor and value to start. You can help build these values.

2. Keep communication open. No matter what I was doing, there was nothing more important then allowing them to come talk to me. I tried not to give my opinion or try to fix the problem for them. (Didn’t always do that, but tried.) They need to know that they are being heard.

3. Take them on dates. Yes, I said dates. Fathers take your daughters. Mothers, let your sons take you. This is a great way to have a one-on-one with them. It will also help instill respect for the opposite sex. It can teach them to honor others.

4. Learn not to judge them. Their opinions are just as important as yours. We don’t want to dictate to them how to think, we want them to think on their own.

5. Being an adult means facing the consequences of your decision. Face it, we all mess up. As adults, we don’t have someone come to our rescue. Let them face the consequences of their decisions. Don’t jump in to fix “it” or “them”. Character is built by facing life’s experiences. Don’t circumvent that opportunity for them. If they come to you, help them with good choices, but don’t enforce your opinion or what you would do on them. Let them make that decision.

By the end of our conversation, this mom was doing so much better. Not sure how she will incorporate my suggestions, but she knows there is someone who is available with a listening ear.

The Choice

As I have been trying to keep up with many things…writing being one of them…I enlisted the help of my Facebook friends and gleaned some great topics. Here is what I came up with. It is unfinished. The reason is because I want to see what type of endings YOU would write. That’s right, I am asking for you to give me your ending to this story. I do have an ending though not written down yet, but I thought it would be great fun to see how creative YOU can be…..So here is the beginning:

 

The wind blew outside. The storm was just beginning. The whistling sound swept across the door. The branches bent under the weight of the unseen wind. Leaves relented their hold on the stems and branches.

This was nothing compared to the storm that raged within Tara’s bosom. Thoughts of the past continued to haunt her. Was there no relief? How had she gotten here? How did everything get so out of control? Her thoughts drifted back to that time….

What was she thinking? If her parents found out, her boyfriend, neighbors, co-workers, grandparents, on and on it went, the list was endless of who would be hurt, devastated with what had happened. “Where was God in all of this?” Where had that thought come in. She hadn’t thought of God. Didn’t even believe He existed. As she sat huddled in the corner with her arms wrapped around her legs, she rocked. Tears streamed down her face. Stupid! That’s what she was! How could she have been so stupid! Her hand shook as she tried to wipe the tears. “What will I do now?” she thought. “I can’t disgrace my family. I can’t tell anyone. Who would believe me?” As the turmoil continued, a slow hatred began to snake its way into her heart. “Where was her father? Wasn’t he supposed to protect her? How could he, he didn’t even know where I was?” A shame and guilt mingled with a resolve to hide this away. Tara knew she would have to act as though nothing happened. She couldn’t let anyone in. Everything was gone. Innocence would no longer have a part of her. 

Now here she was living her life. Then Peter came into her life. He was different. He wasn’t like the others. His parents were a bit weird. They were “Jesus” people. Only they didn’t say the name like it was a cuss word. It was like they were best friends with him, but that wasn’t possible, was it? 

“Tara?” Peter whispered. Tara looked up. Peter knelt in front of her ready to gather her to him. “Sweet heart, will you tell me what has gotten you so upset?” Tara was tired. Tired of trying to control everything, tired of holding every dark hound at bay. He deserved her heart. But what would he think? She looked up into his handsome face. His eyes always held something she couldn’t quite put her finger on but it was comforting. He searched her eyes with his. How could she not tell her secret?
She was so tired of being the only one held captive. With a deep sigh, she looked at him and began to tell her story. When she was done she held her breath, she dared not breath because she was afraid he would walk away. He said nothing for what seemed an eternity. Did she dare speak his name? Would he… “I’m sorry” Peter whispered. Was that tears in his eyes? Had he felt her pain? “Tara? Would you mind if I pray for you, for us?” Tara looked at him. She didn’t know what to say. Was this a lifeline he was throwing to her? He saw the slightest nod of her head. Not knowing really how to begin Peter prayed, “Father, help Tara and I to forgive this man. Forgive us for not trusting you. Jesus, Tara needs to know of your love. I ask you to comfort her heart. Restore what’s been lost. Be her comfort, Holy Spirit and help me love her. Thank you for hearing and answering, in Jesus’ name. Amen.” 

For the first time, Tara felt light. As she looked at Peter, a dawning was forming in her heart. Love was replacing the bitterness that had taken residence there. Was it possible that God’s love was real for someone to take?

 

 

All will be well, Love Dove

Della sat by her husband’s bed side as he slept peacefully for the first time in days. As she looked at him, she seemed to notice the up and down rising of his chest. The medicine had taken hold of him and now he seemed so peaceful. The doctor hadn’t given him much longer, but now she wondered, hoped he was wrong. In her heart, she knew it would not be long. As she looked at his face, her memory seemed to be playing tricks on her. She remembered the first time she saw him. She was 20 years old and he, a youthful 28. He came in to the diner where she worked. It seemed she had worked there seemed forever, but in reality was only several months. It was the first job she was able to secure after the burial of her parents. When he walked in, Sandy sat him at her table.  She walked up as he was studying the menu. As she pulled her pencil from her ponytail, she asked what he wanted. He looked surprised as though he was in deep thought when he looked her in the eye and said “Tea, please”.

“Anything to go with that tea?” she asked.

“A date, perhaps?”

“We don’t serve dates here.”

“Could you make an exception?” he asked. Turning pink, Della tried not to smile. It played at her lips.

“I will have to check with the cook.” Moving to go put in the order, Della was trying to figure out if she knew him from somewhere, after all she had lived in town all her life. Sandy seemed amused at his forwardness.

“Who is he?” asked Della, “I don’t seem to remember seeing him around before.”  Sandy seemed to be reaching into her memory. “Did you ask him his name?” Who could? Staring into the bluest eyes she had ever seen? “No.”

“Why don’t you when you take his tea over?”. Della chuckled at the simplicity of Sandy’s thinking. 

Phil stirred under the covers. Della came back to the present. She placed her hand on his arm to let him know she was there. He looked in the direction of the touch. His heavy eyes opened only a slit, but he knew she was there. He smiled weakly. Della smiled back trying not to let the tears that had formed fall. His mouth moved ever so slightly, had she not leaned in, she would have missed his words. Love Dove. That was her pet name. Phil’s face filled with pain and she smoothed his graying hair. Making soothing sounds, she continued her vigil. Looking at him now, she remembered the first time he had called her that. It was their wedding day.  He had found a place in her heart. As soon as the vows were said and as he brought his face close to hers, he whispered Love Dove and kissed her. Over the years, that remained his pet name for her. Phil was not the romantic type, but she never doubted his love. When life seemed to want to swallow them up, he would look at her, say “All will be well, Love Dove” and she knew as long as they had each other, it would be. Children were born, a son lost at birth, job changes, but still he stayed true to her and their family. Then one Saturday after having lunch with Joe, Phil came home changed. She wasn’t sure what had changed but she knew something had happened. There was a quietness and peace about him. A confidence she hadn’t known before. They usually talked about everything. There was nothing secret between them. She knew him well enough that this would be a time when she would wait for him to tell her what had happened. 

Phil stirred again as though trying to get up. She laid her hand on his shoulder once again.

“It’s ok, dear.” she whispered.

“He’s here to take me home”, Phil whispered, “May I go, Love Dove?” Della knew she would have to let him go. He had served his Lord well since the time of coming into relationship with Christ. How could she let him go? Peace seeped into her heart, her soul, her mind. “Let me get the children, they are just outside the door.” Della wasn’t sure she could move. She wasn’t sure she was ready to loose the love of her life. Opening the door, Della simply said, “It’s time.” As she watched each of her three grown children come into the room, she knew she would cherish the memories that seemed to flood her. As she sat next to Phil, with the children around, she whispered, “Everyone is here.” Phil tried to open his eyes, but had difficulty. Della started to sing silently and reverently as each of the children joined in. Though silent tears fell as she sang, she watched her husband slip from this world to the one awaiting him as the last note was sung. A peace filled the room. Phil’s struggle was done. 

The choice of another

It’s been a while since I have had an opportunity to lay out some thoughts. I am truly taking a day to rest. Not too much housework to do and getting laundry done early. We were on vacation this past week and spent some times with friends. Had a wonderful time with them. However, an incident happened which I didn’t know about until late in the week. Early on, some choices were made that didn’t register to me. Later in the week, however, things seemed to have changed. When I was informed, I had this sinking feeling that our friendship had changed. I am not sure of the long term outcome, but short term things were strained. Sometimes it is difficult to know the results of our choices or the choices of others when you are involved. I am still processing my feelings. I am even evaluating the strength of the friendship. Forgiveness is easy to give, not so easy to walk out. Especially if you are on the receiving end. The questions could go on and on and on…….but in the end only time will tell.