It was the first thing I had asked him to do all day that he didn’t argue with me about it. After a week long morning and an even longer lunch, I told him to go upstairs, lie down and go to sleep. He’s almost seven. We gave up on naps long ago. But yesterday, he napped. After about thirty minutes, I tiptoed up see if he had given into sleep and I saw him three again-- same blue blanket, same curled position, same damp nape, but much longer legs. He’s four years older and four years smarter. He has four more years of vocabulary and four more years of practicing it. And his practice has paid off. He can get me so tangled up in his web of words, I don’t even know where we started weaving. I forget the whole point. It can be maddening. And yesterday was. Maddening.
A friend called this morning and during our conversation, I was reminded when Julia was 6, almost 7. I thought I was “losing” her. There was tension, attitude and strong resistance-- feelings I had never had with Juila. Those things scared me so figuring them out and praying them through became my sole concern. God was faithful and ironed out our little scuffle. That’s where B and I are, but I think it’s bigger for him. At his age, Julia had already asked Jesus to be her Lord so the dynamic between us was different. Brighton’s attitudes are compounded with the thoughts about his sinfulness and his struggle not to sin-- in his own power. It’s not working for him. It doesn’t work for me, but I know that, and he is just figuring it out. That’s hard on a six year old and yesterday, he tried to take the easy, or more interesting, way out, or so he thought. Sending him up for a nap seemed the only reasonable thing to do-- that way he couldn’t argue with me, he wouldn’t suffer any more consequences, and, with him upstairs sound asleep, I couldn’t “lose” it, which miraculously hadn’t happened yet.
The house was quiet. The tension was gone so I sat down and cried. That is not normal, but I was so sad. I was sad for him that he had had a bad day and even more, that he was struggling with his sin which included his choice to honor me or not. At this point, I had not thought of his unredeemed heart and that God may be at work in his tender spirit. Even after this email from a sweet, and extrememly wise friend, I didn’t put it all together. “Give yourself permission to fully love him, lavishly, without his obedience. He will learn grace first hand from his mama. Let today be the day you show him that nothing he does or no matter his obedience, you will continue to fully love him. Maybe put him in your lap and don't let the hug go until he does- what a tremendous thing you're teaching him!” My first email back said, “You made me cry again.” and my second, “You should go into business.” But BINGO! What beautiful Biblical advice for this Mom who was watching her boy walk out his thoughts and struggles regarding his road to salvation. She was telling me to be the picture, no, the arms of Christ to him.
As Jeff heard the overview of our day, he immediately knew what our boy was up against and then, for me, the fog began to lift from our day. I could see it now. There was a real fight going on. The afternoon progressed and as the innings whittled away during his game, I saw his looks to me for approval- to see if he and I were okay. Through the fence of the field and the dugout, I communicated, as best I could, "YES! I think you are awesome!"
Once home, bathed and pajama-clad, he just flat out asked me, “Mom, is it really true when you say you love me no matter what I do?” and, “Mom, do you really mean when you say out of all the little boys on the planet, that you’d always pick me? EVERY time?” You know my answers and he did too. He just wanted to hear it again.
About 10 o’clock last night, he came downstairs (remember, he napped earlier), sat between us and told us how he felt about his sin and how he was mad that he couldn’t stop it. When we got ready to pray, we could tell he wasn’t ready. We didn't push it and he didn’t either. Now, we wait.
So, I believe he is a boy on the brink. On the brink of the most significant decision of his life. On the brink of experiencing life without the drudgery of carrying all of his disobedience around with him. On the brink of discovering the most faithful Friend he will ever have. On the brink of becoming the bright eyed, passionate young man God intended him to be.
He's Yours, God. Thank You for loving him the way You do. I am praying for a whole hearted leap to You.