It’s a vortex I get sucked into often. A disrespectful word or tone, a rebellious attitude, disobedience to the SAME rule, and I forget who I am. Suddenly, “DING! DING! DING!” I’m in the ring, coming out of my corner to throw a punch and win the title. Anger, frustration and control. I don’t get the result I want and lose sight of my role as the parent, the adult, the spiritually “mature” one, the one who has read a collection of parenting books, including Power of a Positive Mom and Grace Based Parenting. (both great reads by the way)

Some fights are recurring. Almost daily. The same kid is struggling with the same issue, over and over. I lose it, over and over. I hear myself saying the same words, mystified by the fact that my mini sermons are not getting through and magically changing my child. I try to think of new words, new ways to get through to them. The consequences aren’t helping, and I have crazy thoughts of drastic things that might finally “work”, like putting all of their belongings in trash bags out by the curb, going on “mom strike” for a week, or arriving to the car rider line with messages painted on our 15-passenger van to embarrass my child. Messed up, isn’t it?

Recently, the words of a really hot pastor (my husband) spoke to my desperation as a mom. He said, “you can’t change anyone. You can only influence.” Hot and wise. Yes, he is. My boxing matches are not working. I’m not winning. No one is winning. If I can’t change them, how can I influence? How can I influence my children for Christ? How can I point them to the one who makes all things new? He is the one who changes us.

As a friend and I were sharing our hearts about our teenagers, it became so clear. Instead of fighting with them, we need to fight for them. Instead of getting sucked into the vortex, we can speak the truth in love, then step back. As soon as we are able, we fall on our knees and fight for them in prayer. These issues that make me so angry, the ones that disappoint me to the core, belong in the hands of God. I’m not suggesting that it’s super easy. The temptation is there to let my anger pull me into a fight, but there is another choice. I want to make that choice today. I desire for my kids to see the love of Christ in me, the love that speaks the truth, that gives boundaries and teaches God’s ways without acting like an emotional lunatic. I want to fight for my kids in prayer- for their character, their choices, their joy.  Will you join me? Let’s run to God instead of jumping in the ring.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:5-6