Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
It was his senior year, and as his mom watched him grow more and more distant, more and more angry, each day, all she could do was hang her head and cry. She felt so defeated. So guilty. If only she’d been more adamant about maintaining family dinners. If only she’d worked less evenings. If only she’d avoided their constant arguments more often and had spent her time connecting.
I met Debbie* at a Wednesday night prayer meeting a few years back. Hearing sniffling behind me, I turned to see her crying. When the service ended, I asked her why. She then told me of all the ways she felt she’d failed as a mom.
“I want a do-over,” she said.
We prayed, and hugged, and cried together, then she left, determined to do whatever it took to win her son’s heart back.
About six months later, I saw her again and I asked how were things with her son. She beamed and launched into a story of sit-down dinners, one-on-one time with her son, and clearly defined boundaries. She’d received her do-over.
She couldn’t undo the previous seventeen years, but by determining to start fresh at that moment, she salvaged what was left of her son’s last year at home and paved the way for years to come.
Parenting is hard and confusing, but if we belong to Christ, we never have to parent alone. When we face difficult times, parenting or otherwise, Scripture promises that God will give us the wisdom we need to navigate through them. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (NLT).
So, the next time you feel like a failure or fear your child is slipping further from your grasp, turn to God in prayer, seek His wisdom and will, then follow His guidance.
This journey of following God’s will won’t be a perfect one. We’ll likely fall enough times to become permanently bruised, but we and our children will never fall further than His hand. And each time He catches us, we’ll learn something new about His love and grace. And each time we persevere, we’ll learn something new about ourselves.
What were your thoughts as you read this woman’s story? Can you relate? What do you do when you notice life becoming more hectic and emotionally detached than you’d like? What are some things you do to connect regularly with your child’s heart? Share your thoughts here in the comments below, because we can all learn from each other.
About Jennifer’s book, Breaking Free:
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.
Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?
Read a free, 33-page excerpt here: http://newhopepublishers.com/2016/02/free-sample-of-breaking-free/
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Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. This is a good word for many people, and a God-send for me.
Some things I do to maintain a connection with my kids:
- family dinners–if they’re in the house, they eat with us
- I take one child with me shopping when I go to Sam’s. It’s a time for us to connect, one-on-one.
- No matter what I’m doing, if a child comes to talk about something important to him or her, I try to listen. I have moments of impatience, so it’s still a work in progress for me, but I’m trying.
What other things can you think of to connect with your children?