When Our Kids Hurt

“David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.” 2 Samuel 12:16

“It hurts when our kids hurt.” I heard a friend say on the phone. It does hurt. It’s a deep kind of “I want to fix this desperately” kind of hurt. The problem is we can’t always fix it. Learning to overcome pain is one of life’s lessons. It’s a lesson that teaches discernment, compassion, and often even wisdom. But there are a couple of things we can do.

  1. We can listen with our ears and open arms. Listening allows the hurt to be shared so it doesn’t stay trapped inside. Open arms allow tears a safe place to fall.
  2. We can pray and fast for our children. We can ask for God’s wisdom and guidance for our children. We can fast from food, entertainment, social media…. (The list goes on.) to help focus on the prayers over our children. We can also pray and fast over our role in the struggles our children go though.

A walk and/or a hot cup of tea (cocoa, insert beverage choice) might help the moment, as well. Along with the reminder, “This too shall pass.” Although, I’ll be the first to admit, that’s hard to swallow when the wound is deep.

It’s easy to want to lash out, unfortunately that can teach our children to handle hurt with anger. (That’s not real pretty. I’ve learned that one the hard way.) However, there are times we have to step in and stand up for our children. Each situation is different. That’s why listening and prayer are so important. When we listen we can discern better and gain a broader picture figuring out what questions to ask. Then when we pray we can surrender to God all the hurts and questions, waiting to listen again for His peace and/or His guidance in action.

One last thought. Praying with our children through their trials not only teaches them who to take their hurts to, but also that they are not alone through them; even when we are not there to embrace them.

We may not be able to fix each of our children’s hurts, but we can certainly teach them what to do when hurts come.

 

Life at Thorntonville School Year Review

“I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, ‘so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I the Lord, am the one who does these things.” Isaiah 45:5-7

What a school year! I’m taking a moment to just reflect on the time from August to September. To enjoy some of the most impacting moments from Thorntonville.

Back up. It really all started in June.

In June my husband began a new job. He had been on the same banking team for twenty years when he left for a new team and opportunity. Over this year I have been inspired by his ability to adapt to change. I have also witnessed him slowly win over a team, learning even more about leadership. He’s had some ideas shot down and had to recover with his team watching; he’s implemented concepts that were new, encouraged team mates and worked hard to facilitate a team working environment. He hasn’t done all this alone. Many prayers were answered when God blessed my husband with an incredible mentor who met with him challenging him to keep God first and helped strengthen his leadership skills.

In August we dropped our son off for his first year of college. Two sets of parents between him and his roommate (and a younger sister), we all worked to create a space for two boys in a small dorm room. It ended with the parents leaving and letting the boys arrange the room on their own. I left the college that evening filled with so many emotions. Excitement, fear, anticipation, sorrow in knowing I was going to miss him like crazy. And I did. Then over the year came the joys of victory as he met challenge after challenge. Two weeks ago I went to help him move home. Not the boy he was when he left, but a man. Still room for growth, but tremendous growth revealed. Amazing!

In August my baby started high school. She marched in on the first day confident, but  nervous.  She has had to fight for some of her dreams, learn to let go of some things that didn’t really matter, and discern the difference. She has had to choose between passions because there wasn’t enough time to do it all, find courage to talk to teachers about grades she didn’t care for, pick herself up when she stumbled and plant a smile on her face when she felt like crying. We’ve discovered high school prepares for life in ways that are unexpected. She was our princess. Now she is our warrior princess. In another week, she will have completed her sophomore year.  She’s a fighter- a compassionate one. We learned all that since August. Well… some of it we already knew.

In September, I started back teaching Bible studies.  Having been out of the saddle for a few years I was really nervous.  It took months for me to get my groove on.  It took even longer for the reality of how much I loved it to set in.  One of my classes was a group of women who were so patient with me.  We all grew in God’s word together.  The second class I co-taught with my daughter.  First graders.  We were all a mess.  But in the end we learned so much and loved each one of those kiddos.  God had to get me over myself in both classes.  I was constantly tripping on my own insecurity.  In the end, I walked away stronger, wiser, and ready to implement the things I had learned.

In October my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I wept. I was frightened for him. Afraid of loosing him. In January I went to visit him and went with him to one of his radiation treatments. My relationship with him will be forever changed. He was brave. He was strong in ways I had never imagined. He was kind to those he came into contact with despite the discomfort of the disease. He shared more information than I ever wanted to hear, but he shared more than information. He shared himself through his vulnerability. It was beautiful. He was beautiful. When he finished treatment and was declared in remission he rung the bell at the clinic. I cried tears of joy and celebrated  a fight well fought, a battle won.

In March our family went to hear my son’s band perform. It was so much fun to hear him. I was caught off guard by the response of the crowd though. I’m his mom, so of course I think he’s good, but when the crowd did too.  Wow! That was pretty cool! Although his major is music, his band is totally outside of campus studies so I had been apprehensive for the time he spent on it.  However, leaving the performance, I gave thanks. God helped me see a different side of my son.

In March (or maybe it was April – kind of blur) my daughter began dating. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of momma nerves that moved in. I was so excited for her because she was excited. We knew she had liked this guy for quite a while. I was fine during all the crush time, because I crushed big time on a guy from my high school. Crushes are from a distance. Nice and safe. Then they went from texting to talking on the phone and next thing we knew she was headed out the door with this really great guy to a movie (and then canoeing and then a walk in the park…) A few weeks later he asked my girl to his prom. They were precious. I didn’t have a date for prom, so… I was really (ok way over the top) excited for her. Even more excited when he had her home by 11:30 because he was leading the praise band the next morning at his dad’s church. Told you he was a great guy!

Thorntonville has been through quite a bit of transition this past school year. There have been definite changes in our lives. We are growing up! (sniffle, sniffle) We are learning from our trials and moving forward.

But now….

Bring on the summer vacation!!!

Friday Night

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.” Genesis 1:23

Friday night. The weekend. There is just something so refreshing about those words. The promise of schedules relaxing, the potential for rest and refreshment added with the excitement of weekend adventure.

My husband walked in the door from work with the smell of red beans and rice wafting through our house. The crock pot meal created the fast but hearty food option we needed for a small adventure out for the evening. Changing into weekend clothes, we ate our meal and climbed into the “Golden Chariot” – our gold colored 2005 Chevy Trailblazer to head over to our son’s college town. His band was playing in a local venue and we were so excited to hear and see him.

Pretty clouds of pink brushed across the setting sun as we drove westward. We were all tired from the busy week we had just wrapped up so the ride over was quiet, except for Drew Holcomb on the car stereo.

We arrived to a crowded parking lot, paid the cover charge and entered the crowded space. My son played in the opening band as back up and then a couple of bands later his band had a slot. It was loud and I showed my age by pulling out my earplugs to help soften the sound a bit. Guitars, drums and a bass created rhythms I felt, let alone heard.

We ran into other friends who had made the drive over and talked. We also visited with many of my son’s friends. Then it was his turn. Stepping up the mic, came a confident crowd pleasing sound. The audience took motion as the songs played out to them. I couldn’t see my son, so I moved places, then through the crowd there he was, guitar in hands, mouth to the mic. I’ve seen him perform most of his life, but this was different. He was in his element. It made my momma heart soar.

I’m not sure of all his lyrics, but I was completely sure of his sound because the crowd cheered and sang along. Friday nights never sounded so good.

An Evening with My Girl

“Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!”
Psalms 150:2

As we headed toward the Jennie Allen event at one of our local churches, my daughter and I were both worn down from the week we had just finished. Tired and a bit weary we parked and walked into the event I had been so eager to attend.

People were friendly. We found some seats, but missed the opportunity to sit with some of our good friends. The event was good, the music was fabulous and the gathering of 1200 women from our own community was incredible. We listened to the speakers, prayed for each other and those around us, plus, sang praise music.

When leaving we discussed the topics covered, how they related to us and how to implement them into our daily lives. Then came a moment of silence as we both reflected.

I asked my girl, what her favorite part of the evening was. Her answer surprised me. I had wanted to attend the event because the topic was so applicable to where I am at this point in my life. I also wanted to share a moment with my daughter. My girl had been a little unsure about what to expect, so when I asked her what her favorite part of the evening was I really expected her to say the speakers or how she loved listening to Ellie Holcomb (which she did!) However, her favorite part was when all 1200 women stood and sang, “How Great Thou Art.” She said, “Mom, I just thought about all the women in the room singing together and the words of the song. Then I thought about how happy that had to have made God.”

She teared up as she shared her thoughts with me. So did I. I knew in that moment she knew what true worship was. My momma heart swelled with thanksgiving to the God who created her. It was my biggest lesson of the evening and the most humbling. I attended the event focused on myself, while she went focused on God. I left still trying to figure things out. She left filled with the spirit.

“When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Dinner: A Family Fellowship

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,” – Acts 2:46

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Over Christmas break, while visiting family for a funeral, each night we ate together as one big family around a rustic large wooden dining table. It wasn’t the food that made this a warm memory (although the food was good); it was the conversation and limited distractions.  We were able to focus on each other. Meals were slow, stories were full, and laughter was abundant.

Traveling back home, my husband and I listened to Playing for Pizza by John Grisham on Audible. In the book a football player ends up playing for an Italian football league.  While in Italy he experienced the culture including the long meals filled with fellowship in the evenings. In learning to fellowship with others his character deepens.

Food. Fellowship. There is just something about them.

Last night as our family sat around our little kitchen table, I found myself wanting each conversation topic to linger. I forced a hold on the temptation to get up and start cleaning the dishes as soon as I stopped eating,  just so I could cherish the moment with my family. We shared about our day and then the guys started talking about music while the girls poked fun of the guy’s music selections. We laughed. We relaxed. We enjoyed each other’s company.

After dinner, we helped my son pack his car so he could head back to college. The meal time provided an amazing send off. Warm and filled with love.

Family dinners have always been important to us, but somewhere along the way we began to rush the process. Activities cut in, cell phones interfered, and adolescent years tested our emotions. Sitting at the table during Christmas break, though, my heart missed what we were capable of having. Togetherness. Fellowship provides togetherness. Thankfully, I realized we didn’t have to miss it.  We just needed to make it happen.

Tonight, even though my son was back at college, the three of us sat down to our table to eat unrushed. Cell phones put away, leisured conversation. We took our time, enjoyed the meal, and enjoyed each other. We talked about our day and then after cleaning up the dinner dishes sat down again to play a game. Each of us wanting to linger a little longer. It isn’t something we can do every evening, so it was special.  We are learning our time together is valuable.  We need each other.  Family fellowship is important.

That is Just Where I Am.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. The God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

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Today, like yesterday, I’m struggling with my attitude. Sometimes, I feel like Eeyore trying to help out, but slowly walking around dragging my grey cloud with me everywhere I go. It’s been a few weeks since I sat to tap the keys on my laptop. It isn’t that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s that I just didn’t want to say it. So here is where I am. There are blessings from each random paragraph written below. God is doing good things, so why so sad?  Sometimes, I guess even good things bring on unexpected emotion.

About a month ago we received news that my dad had cancer. The blessing is that it is a treatable form of cancer and we live in a country where healthcare is available. Although I immediately prayed for him, with him and family, I still worried. This past Monday the radiation treatment schedule was set and slowly my worry released. A plan of action was created, my need to do something subsided.

Today is my son’s birthday. That’s a celebration. He made it to nineteen. An amazing young man who stands up for what he believes in. However, this birthday is a first. The first one he hasn’t woken to my singing loudly the birthday song with my lovely morning voice. I woke up at three this morning instead to send him a text recounting the time he came into our lives. Then shed a tear despite the happy moment because I missed the tradition of waking him up with singing. New tradition formed. Not quite as thrilling as singing, but still an effective birthday greeting. I’m sure he will read it when he wakes in his dorm.

Two weeks ago my daughter passed her driver’s test. Milestone moment. Sixteen, excited and lovely as can be, she now drives herself to school in the mornings, home in the afternoons, as well as, carpools friends to coffee. I was so excited and caught up in the thrill for her new found freedom, until the first morning I didn’t get to drive her to school. I felt out of a job. (Yes, I’m being dramatic –I’m still her mom, but let me have my moment, please!) I missed our conversations. It is a joy to have her driving, but an unexpected loss, too. It is the first time in nineteen years I’m driving solo. I have cherished every moment with her and my son in the car. (Ok, maybe not the times they threw up.)

Advent. Yeah, yeah, it’s Christmas season. Bah humbug.

Truth is – I love Advent, but I despise the race of the holidays. I enjoy worship services, decorating, Christmas lights, and eating other people’s baked goods, but man, I am the most insecure gift giver on the planet. Shopping is what my version of hell looks like.  Easter far trumps Christmas in my eyes. There. I said it. Feeling better already. I’m attempting a Christmas prayer journal by Darlene Schacht (Time-Warp Wife Ministries) called Quieting Your Heart for the Holidays, along with Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift devotional to try to change my perspective. I’ll let you know how it goes.

That’s where I am at the moment. So… I was a bit surprised when I sat down to write this morning and prayed for a scripture that God answered me with, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. The God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

“Why 2 Corinthians 13:11-14?” I asked.

Honestly, I think I know the answer. God is saying yes there are lots of emotional, good and bad swings during this season, but stay the course.

The holidays are often a fight for me to expel and rebel against unrealistic expectations. I tend to get lost in the battle. This year life is exploding around me with new experiences like a kid in his first year of college and another learning to stretch her wings in a car, all while dealing with the difficulty of praying my dad through cancer. I don’t want to worry about shopping. It is the last thing I want to deal with.

God, however, isn’t asking me to take on shopping. He is asking me to do what he asks the rest of the year. Be joyful through the easy and the difficult. Keep walking with Him, so He can grow me into maturity. He’s giving me instructions to continue my work by blessing others, regardless of the hypothetical grey cloud dampening my attitude. He’s saying, “Persevere, Kysia. Celebrate the moments and submit the struggles. Allow My love to penetrate your spirit so peace can permeate your heart and mind.”

God is trying to get me to peace.  Peace.  The very spirit of Christmas.

Why 2 Corinthians 13:11-14?

Because that’s what I needed to hear. That is just where I am.

So She Did

“And kill the calf we have been fattening.  We must celebrate with a feast,” Luke 15:23 NLT

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This past Monday my daughter came home sharing how she and her friends didn’t have plans for their school’s Homecoming event.  They wanted to go to the dance, but weren’t sure about dinner or what to do afterwards. The last three years my girl has watched as her brother and his girlfriend attended dances with dinner parties and after dance bonfires.  She hungered for plans of her own, so I said, “Then plan some.”

So she did.

By Thursday she had invited a small group to dine in our backyard.  I was proud of her for being bold and initiating action.  Then she handed me the menu, telling me, “I took it easy on you, Mom.”  I smiled, looking at the menu, because she had.  The list included an Olive Garden mock salad, her Dad’s risotto, picking up a rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store and some crusty bread with iced tea and lemon water. A great entertaining meal for a short on time kind of day.

Then she then began to plan the decorations and table setting. Trying to keep things simple, she used linens and candles we already owned.  We worked together creating a Homecoming sign for the fence.

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Homecoming night came.  Her friends arrived thrilled by the extra touches and opportunity to be invited.  They enjoyed the meal sharing conversation amongst themselves.  My favorite part was listening to the laughter from the backyard.

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With smiles and full tummies we piled everyone into the car to head to the dance.  After dropping her and her friends off, I told her to have a good time.

…so she did.