Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gentle Words. Chapter 1 of Hope for the Weary Mom.

Last Winter, Big Mac told me that I am never encouraging to him when he shoots archery.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  When he shoots I always say, “Good job!”  Or “Well done!”  How could he say that I never encourage him?  But then I really thought about my words.  When he tells me about his scores I do say “Good job.”  But then I add, “But, I’d love to see you have more X’s.”  Or I say, “That’s great!  But you could be a solid 580 shooter.”  As I examined my responses to his shooting, I realized that he never heard the praise at the beginning because I always followed up with criticism.  He didn’t hear, “Good job.”  He heard, “You could do better.” 
And so, I’m singing a new tune.  What I realized was that Big Mac didn’t need my critiques.  He knows how to shoot.  He knows what a good score is.  He has goals for himself and he works hard at his archery.  He needs me to tell him he is doing well.  He doesn’t need me to tell him where he falls-short.  He knows where he falls short.
It is the same in life.  I do not need to be our boys’ Holy Spirit.  I want to be.  I want to remind them to make better choices and watch their words.  I want to point out their sin.  Maybe I don’t want to be their Holy Spirit, but I want to help the Holy Spirit do His job!  And yet, I am sure of the boys’ salvation.  So I know that Jesus is working in their lives.  I need to let Him do His job.  If I want the boys to hear God’s call in their lives, I need to stop talking so they can listen.  In my effort to be their spiritual guide, I may be preventing them from hearing the real Guide in their lives.
As our guys are barreling through their teen-years, I am convicted that my days of dictating their every move are over.  They are becoming young men.  I both love and hate this time in their lives because they are still at home with us, so I have some input, but they are testing the waters of adulthood in ways I can’t control.  And for that, they don’t need mommy telling them what to do.  It’s kind of a treacherous time, too.  While they are trying to figure out who they will be as adults, I am trying to figure out who I will be as the parent of young-adult men.  The teen years are tough.  I wouldn’t go back and do them for all the money in the world.  But, at the same time, it is difficult to figure out who to be as a parent of teen’s.  Our roles as parents change.
So maybe, my role is to return to my high school years and be their cheerleader.  Speaking encouragement works all over the place and not just on the archery range.  I am trying to take the “but” out of my sentences.  Instead of, “You are a fine young man, but your room is a mess.”  How about, “You are a fine young man!”  They know their room is a mess.  They live in it. 
In our chapter this morning from “Hope for the Weary Mom” the authors mention that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.  Romans 2:4 in the KJV says, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”  If that is a promise in God’s word, and it is, then we can believe it in our families.  We can speak kindness and encouragement and let God lead them to the repentance He wants.  I spent some time in Psalm 145 this morning.  Want to linger there with me?  All of the Psalm is excellent, but let’s close with verses 18-20a: 
 “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him:  He also will hear their cry, and will save them.  The Lord preserveth all them that love Him…”
If it is our cry to become encouragers and make our words gentle, then the Lord is near.  If we truthfully want to have relationships to our teens that will show them their path to Jesus, then the Lord will preserve that relationship.  Those are promises moms!  Promises for us!  Let’s believe that today. 
Let’s start the conversation this morning:  How do we focus on encouragement?  How do we turn our speech from correction-mode to one of encouragement?  How do we sit back and let Jesus direct their lives?  What has worked for you as you navigate those teen-years?  How have you changed your speech-patterns and your relationship to your teens to allow them to hear God more clearly and see you as a partner in faith?  And what do you do if you are not sure that your children are saved?  Do your words become different if you are not sure that they are hearing the conviction of the Holy Spirit?
I anxiously await your comments.  Let’s talk.


  1. I love your heart here friend! Especially the thought that if my heart is to encourage them, the Lord is near. He wants us to speak words of life!

    It is easy as they get bigger to want to be "harder" on them because they "should know better". But I am learning, too, that in these years words of hope and grace are even more vital!

    Love that you are hosting! Praying of you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Stacey! You know, the hardest part for me is trusting that my soft answer WILL turn away wrath. It can be difficult to trust God to bring the fruit when I think I should be the one pushing them toward fruitfulness. But, hey, He created the earth in six days, I'm thinking He can grow our teenage boys into the men He wants them to be. I'm just the vessel for all He wants to do, right?

    2. I plan on coming back later after I've ruminated a bit and such but I love what you just said - to let go and trust that He can turn my son into the man of God he was created to be ... my job is to pray at this point (he's 18) .... but even my 12 year old ... I am learning more and more that raising "good" kids has less to do with me and more to do with God and prayer!

    3. Yes, Holly! I totally agree with you. "raising 'good' kids has less to do with me and more to do with God and prayer." But that is so HARD isn't it? I have to constantly remind myself that He's God. He's the Lord of all. He knows what's best and right and I can't see the whole picture. But even so, in my humanness, it is hard to trust and not give my opinions and, yes, my criticism.

  2. Ugh! Lori Lynn! I hear you! My teen daughter has been a challenge. When I wrote about her from my homeschool lens a lot of heaviness came out in my writing. Bottom line was my daughter has not succeeded through her high school years. She is struggling terribly and I feel she can do better. What I say with the intentions of motivation is coming across as, "You are a failure and you can do better." Thank you for sharing this today. God has used you to encourage my heart.

    Sitting back and letting Jesus direct her life is going to be torture but I'm sure I will survive. ;) Before all the emotional stuff began she was rock solid in her faith. I am trusting that she will find her place again. So it looks like lots of prayer and lots of lists with words of affirmation. That is her love language and I think I have not given her enough of what she needs in that area.

    You gave me so much food for thought. Thank you! :)