Welcome to the ongoing series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.” Perhaps it’s time to wrap these messages up, and tie it all together with a sweeping conclusion, that feels more like the wave of a magic wand making all things lovely. But it’s tough to do that because climbing out of sin is an ongoing journey this side of glory – even where motherhood is concerned. And that’s okay. There’s really no arriving until we see Jesus face to face and are suddenly like Him. That’s where we find our hope!
Jesus is the victim that ultimately set the rest of us free.
And so I am pressing on to be more like Him each parenting moment.
Feel free to join me in the journey as we continue with part 9 – or start from the beginning – You are not a victim, you’re a mom.
I’m typing these words out at the dinning room table as my homeschooled kid finishes his outline for a research report in the kitchen. Natural light is streaming through the picture windows, the halls are quiet (since brothers go to a traditional school), I have an infuser blasting a steady stream of essential oils, which promise to clear a cloudy brain and stimulate alertness, and he has a handful of raw nuts by his side – brain food. I’m doing my best. He’s doing his best. But ADHD is hard stuff.
Two years ago, right around this time in the school year, I pulled my child out of his class with a sense of urgency. His teacher spoke of grace but didn’t know how to extend it in the midst of a room full of warm wiggly bodies. She suggested medication, which isn’t awful, don’t get me wrong, and we tried it. We tried a few. They didn’t work for my boy. As a matter of fact they only made things worse. My boy’s teacher said she wanted to help, and I believe that she did, but eventually all she was doing was shaming our child from subject to the next, all day long. Anxiety filled his gut until he was literally sick from it most days. Which only set him further behind and intensified the anxiety. My own belly’s in a knot at the recollection.
I wasn’t angry at the teacher or the school, I understood. Still, my boy was going under – academically and emotionally. So my husband and I rushed into the whirling water and pulled him from the waves, dragging him out and up onto the warm sand of homeschool. Which may be lovely imagery… but it’s still hard.
Here we are, two years later, and I find myself struggling with the same gracelessness his teacher did. Shameful words like, “what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just…” tumble over my lips. Only, I know what’s wrong. Which is why we brought him home.
Did I mention how difficult ADHD can be?
However, I could write an epic sweeping novel about all that is RIGHT with this child. His heart, his talents, his beauty, his strength, his desire to please and encourage… so much good and so much muscle and so much unique God-design wrapped in the sinews of my son. I am over the moon in love with him! And I even love many of the attributes that are unlocked because of his ADHD – His creativity for one thing! But teaching and learning… that’s hard. All of it. And sometimes I feel like a victim.
And it translates.
This victim mentality translates to our kids. They know we feel abused! They do, mom! They read it on your face; in your body language; in between your words, your sighs.
Just recently he looked at me with sad eyes, and said, “Mom, I feel like I’m ruining your life.”
Oh my bleeding heart, NOOOOOO! And yet… yes, sometimes I feel that way. And maybe you do too. But it’s not true! It’s simply not true!
Which is why we must practice the spiritual discipline of believing what is true, so that we don’t pass these wrong messages on to them!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Here’s what’s true: I’m crazy about my kid’s freckled face and the way his fingers fly over the neck of his guitar, like they know exactly where every cord lives.
Here’s what’s nobel: God made my child. The King made my boy! He wove him together in princely fashion, and prepared him for good works – God works! And with my help he gets to walk in each one of them.
Here’s what’s pure: He’s just being a kid, pure and simple, like any other kid, with his own brand of strengths and struggles. And I have the privilege of partnering with him daily.
Here’s what’s lovely: We talk about girls, his dreams and and his future, and he holds my hand – anytime, anywhere – infront of God and everybody.
Here’s what’s admirable: God looks at the heart, and my kid’s heart is awesome! Yes, sometimes his ADHD is louder and seems to drown out the softer voice of his admirable heart, but God is ever focused on that heart, and I want to be too.
Here’s what’s excellent: The way my boy cares for me and his Grandma, always holding the door and making sure we are okay – it’s excellent! The way his friend’s parents are always complimenting us on his manners. Excellent.
Here’s what’s praiseworthy: I know that I just told you that God and I are most concerned about my boy’s heart, but this kid is also scoring above his peers in his standardized tests! Getting through each assignment may be painful, but he’s learning and that’s worthy of praise too!
Your turn! If you are caught in a victim mindset, steadfast in negative thought patterns and self-talk, feeling abused by your little people, take Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8 and remember all things true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy!
May they spill out of your remembrances, into your heart, and up over your lips!
If you struggle with anger in your home from the sheer effort of it all, if you find yourself yelling at your little ones, feeling like a victim, and weighed down by shame, you’re not alone. TRIGGERS: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses, is a brand new book, written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, addressing the things our children do, along with the internal pressures of motherhood, that trigger in us angry reactions rather than gentle Biblical responses. Get your copy today.