Y’all. It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride in our family for the past few months. I have alluded to all the growth (and growing pains) God has been doing in our hearts individually and as a family unit. It looks like battles and soul skirmishes scattered throughout the week against lies and insecurities and performance anxiety. But it also looks bedtime breakthroughs.
It looks like a little boy who bravely tells me, “Momma, I am feeling anxious. But it’s not school or safety or baseball.”
It looks like me laying next to him and asking questions until he realizes the source of his stress: another brother heading to high school.
It looks like tears pooling in my eyes as I sit with him in his sadness that I cannot and should not fix. His brothers should and will grow and move on to other things. He will have to be in his school all alone without his brothers who are his heroes and best friends.
It looks like me scratching his back while he cries about change and processes all his fears.
It looks like me praying for him to trust that God will be constant companion and One who never changes.
Then it looks like me going to lay down in my own bed to do the same with my heavenly Father. It looks like me processing my worries and concerns and fears for these boys with my Father. It looks like him asking me searching questions to help assess my own confused heart. It looks like him sitting with me in the in-between, even though he knows exactly how this will all pan out. It looks my own bedtime breakthroughs after long day-time battles.
Parents Who Try to See
Being attuned to our boys and their emotional needs as they navigate all kinds of new challenges and opportunities feels like it has been my full-time job of late: noticing their body cues, asking them questions, providing a nurturing place to process and a net upon which to fall. These are the privileges of being a parent. I feel wildly unqualified for this job.
According to Peter Fongay, as quoted by Curt Thompson in his book The Anatomy of the Soul, even the most observant parents will only track with their children 45 to 50 percent of the time. So, batting 400 is winning, even if it feels like you are losing.
We try to see. We do our best as broken vessels with limited access to the secret places of the heart. As Curt Thompson says, “God does not expect parents to be perfect. He does, however, long for us to be perceptive.”
The God Who Sees
As parents, we get to point to the perfect parent in both our failures and our successes. If and when we get it wrong or miss the moment, we have the chance to point to the One who sees all and never fails. If and when we get it right, we image the Perfect Parent to them.
In the words of Curt Thompson, “God hits the mark every time. In the language of attachment, our heavenly father mentalizes at peak capacity – he lovingly senses and interprets feelings, desires, and intentions at all times.”
In Psalm 18, David expresses his experience of God’s being attuned to him.
“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears…He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters” (Psalm 18:3 & 16).
The same David expects the same God to attune to him throughout his life. He writes, “Hear my cry, O God, listen my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:1-2).
As we seek to see them, He sees both us and them (Hebrews 4: 13). As we grow in this process of parenting, he is perfectly parenting both parents and children (Hebrews 12: 9-11). As we pray for them as best we can, the Spirit is praying for them constantly, effectively, and according to the will of God (Romans 8: 26-27).
This is all our hope as we keep walking through these major emotional and relational growth spurts.
As we experience battles and bedtime breakthroughs, he is offering us our own battles and breakthroughs.
All shall be well. And all shall be well. Our Jesus does all things well.