Yesterday I had a good ugly cry. I was thinking about how to address Hannah’s negative response when I was talking to her about a career choice (that I’m not thrilled with). As I thought about what to say to her, I started bawling realizing how my often critical and demanding spirit toward her over the years has led in part to responses and choices that have and may continue to adversely affect her.
Many Kleenex’s later, I knew I still needed to talk to Hannah about her response. Fortunately, the Spirit reminded me to ask for His help. Since my kids were babies I’ve prayed Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and discernment (1 Kings 3:9). Despite where I’ve fallen short, God has come through in amazing ways when I’ve just remembered to ask.
How did God help me talk to my adult child who I still love as much as I did when I brought her home from the hospital? First, as He often does, he shut me up. Hannah was not feeling well and hadn’t slept much the night before so I restrained myself from verbally inundating her right when she walked in the door (miracle #1).
When I finally did talk to her, God provided more discernment. Although I addressed my concerns regarding her response to me and I admitted I struggle with responding negatively at times as well, I didn’t apologize. I didn’t beat up on myself, lament how I’d failed as a mother, or start bawling (miracle #2). I told her I loved her and would be praying for her and then (biggest miracle of all), I stopped talking.
Today I was thinking about why God didn’t have me apologize when I felt so badly. I think in part it was because I have apologized for this before. When I over apologize, I teach my kids Christ’s completeforgiveness is only as complete as I’ve deemed it to be. I want to show my kids Christ’s grace covers everything. I don’t want to teach them self-condemnation, but that godly sorrow leads to change (2 Cor. 7:10).
The other reason I think I wasn’t supposed to put on display my deep sorrow and regret about my parenting is it would’ve been for me. Since I’ve bawled like a baby and confessed places of failure or regret to Hannah in the past, doing it again this time really would have been to punish myself which doesn’t help Hannah in the least.
How did the Lord answer my prayer yesterday? I believe He helped me empower Hannah. He didn’t let me make her feel like a victim or think she was destined to be something less than God had for her because I messed up. He helped me see what Hannah needed. He helped me parent with the end in mind and He assured me, despite my mistakes, Hannah is His and He’s the best and most loving parent of all. I just need to keep asking for His help.