Monday, November 28, 2011

God, help me~


Elyse's perfect meal
As she was getting ready to prepare her first turkey, my daughter called and asked, “How do people learn this” and I answered, “they learn it from their mother, as I’m telling you now, how to do it.”
She cooked two beautiful meals that Thanksgiving, and ended up saying, “I can’t believe it was so easy.”
We all learn from our parents how to live the life God has given us, but we are not always open to hearing what they have to say because, as young people who have been taught how to be independent by our parents, either by the right way or the wrong way; we think we know everything. Then to our utter amazement, we find we are not prepared to live the life that has been given us, and must learn to live it on our own. We take the good things our parents gave us and build on them, and we take the bad things and change them. The teaching still came from our parents, but we learned to adapt it to our lives through the spirit within; our innate spirit, that which, when we are most needy; comes to us. If I were to say that to my daughter and one of my sons they would reject it all because she does not believe in God, and he does not believe in Jesus; so I must live everyday knowing that, and not wanting to alienate them, I enable their disbelief, and yet it was through my own failure that they got there.
What does a parent do when they are faced with their own mistakes? We must first take responsibility for our mistakes, realize we are human, and that God sent his only son to save us from our sin, and move on, showing our children, by example, how to live a Godly life. It’s a shame for those of us that failed to give that to our children growing up, but the only thing we can do, at this point, is to remember that there is still time. There won’t always be time “enough to teach them,” so every moment does become precious, and we must use every moment we can  to tell them that we failed, ask them to forgive us, and hope that they will listen to us now and allow their heart to change and listen to the spirit within.
I prided myself on raising independent, good-hearted children, and teaching things right the first time around so I didn’t have to re-teach them later, but I failed with the most important lessons. I worried that talking baby talk to them, would stifle their growth and I would just have to re-teach them, or teaching them right from wrong would be enough and yet here I am trying to think of a way to re-teach them to live good lives. My mistakes show, because they already believe they are living good lives, but how can I believe I succeeded when I do not see them being grateful for all that they have, being grateful for God creating everything that they have or will ever need?  I pray for God to change their hearts where I have failed, and then must live my life believing that they will find it on their own.
That is not right either, so somehow I must find the courage to share with them my deepest desire, and pray that they do not reject me as they do others that try to bring them to a changed heart. Sometimes sadness overwhelms me because of this failure, and I hear the people around me telling me that all I can do is show them by example and pray for them to come to God. That is what faith does for us, we are supposed to turn it over to God and pray that he will change their heart. I think that means that my faith is not strong enough because I cannot let it go at that, I still believe it is my responsibility to teach them. I think that God expects us to do our job and that is to raise God-like children. Yet I find it so hard for me to be so Godly, how can I expect my children who were never given the right tools; to find these answers on their own?
This is what brings me to wanting to run away. Wanting to let it go and let God, but then I see that it makes me appear unworthy, yet intellectually, I know that I am worthy. I try to think of ways to have what I want in my life, and let my children find theirs, but then I fall away from my responsibility to teach them. I am afraid of alienating them, of having them want to avoid me, as many do when they hear Christians talk about God and what he gives us. This is where the overwhelm sets in.  The woe is me….
My daughter, struggling to get what she wants in her own relationship, tells me she wishes I could be more supportive of her. It is my strongest desire to be just that, but how can you support something you know is wrong. Well, not wrong but ungrateful. Instead of being grateful that she has met, and fallen in love with a good man, she complains that she is not his first thought every day. That he should know, by some magical power, how to please her. Both of them come from dysfunctional families and have never learned how to communicate effectively what they really want, so it becomes nagging or self righteousness. Of course, pointing that out becomes criticism and lack of support. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive,” so instead of telling her what she can and cannot expect from this man, makes me appear unsupportive. Of course, what she wants to hear, is me telling her that she is right and he is being insensitive to her needs when she hasn’t even told him what they are. I fear that there is something greater hurting her that she does not recognize and I begin to feel the guilt of my failure as a parent. When I talk to my pastor about it he tells me that all I can do is pray and remember that God has already forgiven me and none of us really know who will be the elect when the world becomes new again. And the vicious cycle begins again, and my failure stands out even more.
I hear people telling me that I have been a good parent, and that I should just accept my children as they are, which I do, by loving them unconditionally; but I still don’t feel that it is enough. Yesterday I was subjected to hearing my future daughter-in-law prosthesis what she would do for my alcoholic son if she didn’t have a job. She said she would take him to her house and nurse him through his alcoholism. The only thing I could hear from that was that I had not done enough for my son, I had not intervened enough to help him to desire sobriety. What else could I have heard? She has a job; I don’t, so that makes it my responsibility to get him sober? It is not my responsibility and it never will be, it is his, but I will never shun or reject him, and will be extremely defensive of those that do because I love him unconditionally, as I should, and as I do with all of my children. Yet, I had to hear my oldest son, an alcoholic himself, tell me that I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at her parent’s home, but he didn’t feel he could trust Chris (my youngest) to go there. Why, because it would embarrass him, or bring his own addiction to light? My own son, rejecting one of his own siblings broke my heart. Any hope of ever being accepted into this girl’s family was lost to me at that moment. Yet, what do I do? Alienate this son by telling him how I feel about these things?
Every day we have challenges to face in life. God doesn’t make them but loves to watch us overcome them. When our children do not recognize or believe this, it becomes almost impossible to communicate with them without alienation or confrontation; neither of which I wish to engage. So what do I do? I sit here typing this out in the hope that by seeing it at whatever point in their life, they will begin to understand that things are not always as they see them. That yes, I may have made mistakes, but they will also when they raise their own children. No parent can give their children everything they need to get through life successfully because for one thing, success is a thought, and we don’t all share the same definition of that thought or any other thought; so judgment of a thought of another, is not right or real. Success is a thought that is formed in the mind of each of us, based on our perceived definition, and we cannot perceive of it through the mind of another; because we do not come to it from their experiences, we come to it through our own, and anything said about the perception of another, is judgment and judgment does not belong in a Christian mind. Only God judges, we do not.
So instead of looking forward to the joy of a beautiful Christmas it becomes a dreaded thought for me today, because I am expecting things to go awry before it even gets here; based on these few examples. The question now is, how do I change my thoughts about this to bring about the Christmas I want to experience with my children? I think only God knows and maybe somehow he’ll send me a sign or point me in the right direction. So that is my prayer today, “Please precious God; bring me to a right mind about these things, so I may expect a joyous experience with my children on Christmas, the birth of Jesus.”

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