Thursday, April 21, 2011

When We're The Problem, Not Our Child

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." ... Jeremiah 1:5

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" ... Prov. 20:24


Something sad happened when Naomi was born. Well, three days later, anyway.

My mom had come to help with the new baby and while she, an old friend of the family and I stood around Naomi's crib the conversation turned to how babies are sweet, but when children grow up, well! They're anything but. My mom, in fact, turned to our old friend and said, "Frank and I have even, at times, wondered if it was worth having children, what with the pain they can bring to us."

Wow. Even though my mother didn't say that right to me, you know how I, at 20-years-old interpreted it, don't you? I heard it as, "Your dad and I sometimes wish you had never been born."

Oh dear. What a burning arrow that was, especially in my weakened, emotional state, having just given birth days before. And in that moment, along with all sorts of other flailing thoughts, I thought this one, "I will never say anything like that to my own daughter! I will never even allow myself to feel that way."

And 31 years later, I haven't. All along this road of motherhood, in fact, both Tom and I have told Naomi that we're so grateful God sent her to us (as opposed to someone else), that our lives would be poorer without her, that she was the answer to our prayers.

But yes, of course! Some rough, painful times have dotted this long road. But what I've found the hardest thing, more difficult than anything Naomi has done or said, is the letting go. It's the loss of my control over her decisions. It's the watching her make her own mistakes, the allowing her to follow paths I'd never take.

Yet God gives adults those freedoms and woe unto me if I don't give those same freedoms to the daughter He gave me.

Way back when Naomi was 19, God began majorly working to take me to all those mom-of-an-adult places. He lectured me. Told me I wasn't to wait up for Naomi when she'd come home so late from night-shift waitressing or band gigs. Told me again (and again) to trust Him with the daughter I loved so well. To pray for her, yes, of course! But to not pray that she would become what I wanted, but rather, what God wanted.

And oh, therein lies a huge difference! God designed Naomi before she was even born and that designing was--is--so out of my hands. And because it's not of my brain, then I don't always understand it, especially when that design appears extremely different than the plans and visions I had for her as a child... especially at the times that design doesn't appear exactly biblical in my limited-vision eyes.

But after all God's lecturing I knew, if a mistake was going to be made--most likely--I would be the one making it with my unresolved control issues. In God's eyes, mine was the greater responsibility to behave His way.

It's in acceptance of my loss of control where I find a happy freedom and a great joy in my daughter all-grown-up. As God taught me to accept Naomi right where she is, just as she is, I've been able to enjoy her. To watch her up-close and from a distance with assurance that all will be well. That God is still God and His purposes for Naomi are still in play to this very day.

And during this unique time in our lives, these few months where she's back at home, it's this acceptance of Naomi (and her acceptance of her dear old aging folks) that brings such incredible peace to these old farmhouse rooms, to our three hearts, as well.


One of the best music videos of motherhood, ever, is here.

And here's a post by Mrs. White whose joy at having her adult children home for a visit blessed me.


We need to view our adult child as God does--not as a pain-in-the-neck--but rather, as a treasure for which Jesus died.


Jeremiah 10:23 (As tweaked by me)... "I know, oh Lord, that a man's (adult) life is not his own; it is not for man (nor his parents) to direct his steps."


Mrs. White said...

This is excellent. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is comforting and reassuring. And thank you for linking to my post as well.

Mrs. White
The Legacy of Home

Odie Langley said...

Yes Debra this is one of the best posts I've seen from you. Keep em coming. Thanks.

Lori Alexander said...

I agree with you! Children are a blessing from the Lord. I just wrote about that on my blog yesterday. I love my blessings from God!

Echoes From the Hill said...

Great post.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Very happy for your acceptance. 'Tis not an easy task... To let children live their own lives.

Especially when they are back under our roof, for a time.

Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. Plus lots of bumps. ,-)

Gentle hugs...

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Debra - What a great post! And thanks again for sharing the link yesterday, I have really been enjoying them!! They are a blessing from God!
Lisa :o)

Dolores said...

Great post, Debra. It really hit home.

Anonymous said...

Well written post Debra. I was thinking in reponse that some "letting go" actually begins at birth. It is good to remember that our Creator loves them more than we can too.

I am sure that remark from your mom was painful (and ill timed, knowing how many hormonal changes we go through at birth and afterwards!!), but it sounds so full of pain. And disappointment, somewhere...and likely, if she said it in your hearing, I would think it referred to a different child. Well, it is hard isn't it, to realize that our parents are flawed too? I came to that realization one day about my own beloved mother, who was as perfect as a human could be.

Blessings, Elizabeh in NC

Julie in Texas said...

Excellent post! To let someone be free to be themselves, is the greatest gift of true love. That is what God shows us. I have had to follow this as well, as my own daughter has grown up. Teach them well, and let them go, with the learning they have absorbed and tested.

Storybook Woods said...

Wonderful post, I know for me, I needed my babies more than they needed me. They saved me from myself xoox Clarice