So, I had this other great post ready to go for today – one on marriage and getting what you want from your hubby (haha!! If you have read many of my posts before, then you are pretty confident that it has nothing to do with manipulation!!). Then our family was hit with a curve ball yesterday. Instead, you get a real and raw post from a broken-hearted momma. We are struggling. We need to know What To Do When Sin Penetrates Your Family.
The Most Difficult Job In The World
Parenting is so hard. It has got to be the hardest job ever. And to do it well makes the job that much more challenging.
After my world came to a screeching halt yesterday, I have thought about a few things I wanted to share with you.
Mommies of young ones – you have probably heard this before, but please don’t wish for this stage to be over so fast. Once you leave the baby, toddler, preschool stages – leave the temper tantrums, the ‘no, no, no’, getting into everything, chasing them down stages – it doesn’t get ‘easier’. In fact, you are just trading those trials for new ones. And many of them are so much harder than you could ever imagine.
I never want to minimize the demanding jobs that come with toddlers – it truly is hard to manage those ages and stages – but wishing for them to end is not helpful at all. Right about now, I yearn for those years back. I wish what I had to deal with now were the temper tantrums Matt had, the never-ending busyness of Sarah or the clinginess of Emily instead of the heartbreak I am facing now.
Parenting Challenges of Toddlers
Now if anyone could throw a good tantrum it would be Matt. WOW! He would turn bright RED, scream, flail his fists around and hurl himself to the floor with every single tantrum. He would then get hurt, which would generate more anger within his tiny body and his tantrum would get worse. One summer, we went camping at a nearby campground. We had a tent and Matt was sick with a cold. In the afternoon, I tried to give him some Tylenol and put him down for a nap.
He was 2 ½ then. He REFUSED to have that Tylenol and he put up a huge fight about having a nap. And he screamed! I ended up having to restrain him in the tent, holding him tightly as we tried to rest on the mattress. And he fought me the entire time. It took 2 hours for him to finally fall asleep. I was exhausted. So, I completely understand the desire for the tantrum stage to be DONE.
When Sarah was a toddler, she would run everywhere, every chance she had. I have mentioned this in a previous post – What I Have Learned Between Toddlerhood and Teens. She was very active.
Now those challenges seem like a piece of cake compared to what our family is dealing with now. Back then they sure weren’t, of course, because that was my world. That was the stage we were in. So, mommies of little ones going through that kind of stuff, take heart, those challenges will help prepare you for what comes later. Keep turning to Jesus, keep relying on Him.
One Word Prayers
The other thing I wanted to mention – sometimes our prayers are so eloquent and we know exactly what we want to pray for. Then there are times, like yesterday, when we don’t have a clue what to say. As I lay crumpled on my bedroom floor, weeping, the only words that came out were, “Oh God, I don’t know what to do. Please help”. Followed by crying out His name “oh God, oh God…”.
I didn’t know what else to say, I couldn’t put any other words together. I remembered the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel. She prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. That was me yesterday. Sometimes that is all we have to offer in our prayers – our weeping and anguish. Eli thought Hannah was drunk and reprimanded her. She confessed that she was pouring out her soul before her Lord. That she was so grief stricken, she hadn’t spoken until he came along. Sometimes that is all we have to give in our prayers. And we need to find comfort in the fact that it is enough for God. That brokenness that we bring to Him is what He wants us to give to Him. Psalm 51:17 says “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, oh God, You will not despise.”
Nuggets Of Truth
So many times, God places certain little nuggets of truth in our path before life takes a turn. Yesterday was one of those days. Our pastor reminded me of a little scripture verse that stuck in my heart years ago and became a prayer for me numerous times. What a day for that remembrance! That timing is NOT a coincidence! 2 Chronicles 20:12. Jehoshaphat felt hopeless against imminent attack. He went to the house of the Lord and he poured out his heart, his anguish. He begged God to help His people as they ‘cry out to Him in their affliction’. Then in verse 12, Jehoshaphat confesses “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You”. That was my prayer again yesterday – ‘Lord, I don’t know what to do with this, but my eyes are on You”. I am thankful for that bit of truth and remembrance yesterday.
A Family Is Broken
We had a beautiful message in church yesterday; brought to us by one of our church sponsored missionaries. In her message, she shared about how as parents, we want the best for our children, we know the consequences of disobedience, what can happen if our children choose to not heed our warnings. She shared about how her little girl disregarded her repeated caution of the little bridge in grandma’s yard. And she tripped and fell…and it hurt. I recalled that story yesterday.
We can warn and admonish our children about everything we can possibly think of. But when it comes to whether or not they will obey, that choice is theirs. And when we watch as they make the wrong choice, choices that come with huge negative impacts, all we can do is pray and believe that God will do something to make it right.
My heart is broken for my child; Marcus’ heart is broken for our child.
We Do What We Can
We taught our children right from wrong. I was sure we did everything the ‘right’ way, and yet, the devil was still able to enter in and wreak havoc. We warned, we taught scripture, we taught biblical viewpoints on the issue. We taught and we taught.
And sin still entered.
Disobedience was chosen.
Temptation was given into.
A family is broken.
Then I realized that I have been given just a glimmer of what God must feel when we choose disobedience. He warns, He makes rules we must follow, He gives us boundaries, He tells us the difference between right and wrong. These rules are so we can continue living close to Him, so that we can continue in a relationship with Him. He wants us close to Him. He knows that evil will destroy us.
Destruction is not His plan for us. He does not want that for His children.
So He does what He can to caution us, to keep us close to Him. But we have the ultimate choice, don’t we? We choose daily if we will obey or disobey. How it must break His heart when we choose to disobey Him and fall into sin and destruction. I have a much better understanding of how He must feel now. And I know His heart is more broken than mine is right now.
His Unending Mercy
And now, Marcus and I will teach our child the wonder of His mercy, His forgiveness. How to lay that shame at the foot of the cross. How to battle temptation and doubt, when the enemy returns to remind us of how we have failed. We will teach our child how to be restored and redeemed by Jesus. We will continue to teach – and understand more deeply ourselves – that we must be entirely dependent upon Him at all times. A deeper understanding of our desperate need for Jesus.
We prayed together last night – Marcus, our child and me, we talked about the seriousness of the sin and the consequences of it. We talked again about the biblical viewpoint. Tears were shed, we cried, we confessed, we asked for forgiveness and healing. Marcus and I brought our child before God for healing, restoration, forgiveness and redemption. We continue to walk through this pain, praying, listening, and waiting for God.
He Will Be Glorified
Last night, I kept waking up and my first thought every time was “it was just a nightmare” – and then I realized it wasn’t. It is real. It happened. And now, I am picking up the shards – so many broken pieces – and I am handing them over to Jesus to put back together. Because I don’t know how to put this back together. But God does. And I pray that through this, He will be glorified. Through this, I pray I will be drawn closer to Him, Marcus will be drawn closer to Him and our children will be drawn so close to Him.
Read ‘Part 2’ here: 4 Truths To Hold On To When Sin Creeps
Please note: this post was originally written in 2014 under the title “The Wonder of Mercy”. Our family has healed from this event and we are stronger than ever. I would like to write a follow-up at some point with further details.
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