When He’s Pulling Away…

 

I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve taken, or how many images I’ve captured of my son throughout the years. But this shot–this picture right here–this one grabs me.

This one hurts.

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The sweet boy pictured here has his whole life before him; plenty of dreams, hopes, and all the desires of his precious heart wrapped-up within his small, tweenage frame. They’re right there, just beneath the surface…

And I wish I knew what they were.

I know that sounds strange–odd even–but this kid of mine? This amazing boy God’s given me to raise…he’s pulling away. I feel it. I see it. I hear it in the way he talks, in the alone time he seeks, and the nature of our conversations.

He’s growing up…and I don’t know how to handle it.

I can’t tell you how hard that is to admit, or how much I struggle with this newfound reality, but I am struggling. The mama he used to run towards for hugs and kisses, Band-Aids and bedtime stories is slowly being pushed aside. He’s becoming more independent. He’s forming his own ideas and opinions. My son’s got a voice all his own and everything about him is indeed, changing.

Oh, how I used to know this kid inside and out—his likes and dislikes. This was the child who never left my side…the baby who always snuggled, and always smiled. This young man was once the little boy who’d planned on becoming a fireman, loved the color blue, and whose favorite pastime included anything (and everything) having to do with cars…and trains…and dirt.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago.

But those cars are gone. The trains have all been donated. And the stuffed animals that once graced his bed, held firmly within his toddler grip, are no longer.

You know, I can’t quite pinpoint when this transition took place or why it’s hit me especially hard this summer, but it has. God’s preparing my son for what lies ahead.

And He’s working on me too.

I’ve realized that I’ve got to adapt. I’ve got to begin to let go–to let him fly–little by little. I have to encourage my son’s independence and relinquish my attempts for the control I so desperately want to possess. I need to give him more space, just as I need to speak (a little bit) less and listen more.

It’s true. My son is pulling away. He’s desiring more freedom. He’s right smack in the middle of finding himself and his place in this world.

And I have to let him–whether I want to or not.

 Are you struggling with this too, friend? Has your son started pulling away…transforming into the young man God’s created him to be? Here’s what you can do:

Breathe. Our boys are changing into young men and it’s not an easy process for any of us. It’s a delicate balance. There’s a lot of emotion involved. Understand their need for more space. Listen to their hearts (when they choose to share). Allow them to breathe.

Adapt. I wasn’t informed how heart-wrenching this would be or how much I’d long for the days of old, but it is, and we must adapt. We need to embrace this new stage; try and relate to what they’re going through, and be there for them throughout this phase and beyond.

Trust. This metamorphosis (of sorts) is just the beginning. I know there’s a lot more to come and I know it’s going to be a struggle. This mama heart of mine may just break (in half) along the way. Even so, I’m going to ask God for help. I’m going to seek His counsel, pray (a lot), and trust in Him. Always.

 

Jenny-SulpizioJenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife to one, mom of three, and daughter of the most-high King, who tends to share (and possibly overshare) all things mama-related. To learn more about Jenny or to visit her blog, Mom on a Mission, head over to www.jennyleesulpizio.com

Titus Two Saturday! (Sometimes I Feel Rejected by Other Moms…)

Welcome to Titus Two Saturdays (TTS) at the MOB Society!

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We know so many of you are desperately in need of an older mama to come alongside you and help you figure out how to love your husband well, serve your children, and take care of the responsibilities that come along with being a woman. Doesn’t there seem to be a shortage of godly women stepping up to this role?  Well, we have brought  together a team of amazing women willing to share their lives with those of us in the throes of young motherhood.

This weeks Question:

I am a single mom of 2 boys that made some mistakes in the past. I am doing my best to keep my and my family’s relationship with God strong. I didn’t do things in the “right” order (wedding bells first, then baby shower) and I sometimes feel rejected by other moms who did do it in the right order. Are there any other single moms out there who have experienced the same? How do you respond and stay encouraged?

Jan Skaggs
How I long to sit over a cup of coffee and hear your story!  I was a single mom for almost 11 years, and the pain of brokenness is similar, even if the circumstances differ (divorce, in my case).  My heart aches for you, and rejoices at the same time, because I know God is doing a mighty work in you and your family!

Remember that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God—each of us is broken. We’ve all messed up…even those who appear to do everything “in the right order.”  We are all alike in our need for God’s mercy, and recognizing that need is the first step toward healing.

The good news is that God knows our mess…and he sent his Son to clean it up.  The truth is that you are forgiven—completely, absolutely.  Because you belong to the Lord, Jesus has dressed you in his own robes of righteousness.  When God the Father looks at you, he sees you through his Son’s perfection.  You must remember the truth of your position before God often, especially when feeling rejected or judged by others.

Focus on the times when you have received God’s mercy.  Like Israel retelling their exodus story, remembering all the ways God has been gracious, kind and merciful to you and your family will strengthen your faith and bring hope.  As God has been faithful to you in the past, so he will be faithful to you in the future.

You will have opportunities to share how you entered God’s story with others.  Prayerfully and respectfully, do so.  Telling of Christ’s mercy and grace to us encourages others, and helps us remember the right things.

Pray for those who reject or judge you.  Extend the grace to them that has been given to you by Jesus.  A great mystery of the faith is how forgiveness and prayer frees others to respond to God’s mercy and frees us from being bound by fear, anger, hurt or guilt.  We are freed to live the life in Christ that God has planned for us.

 I will also be praying for the Lord to provide a wise woman to mentor you in the faith and for friends who will encourage you and lift you up.  Patiently wait upon him—you will see good fruit eventually!


Julie Sanders
It’s a challenge to keep our family’s relationship with God strong, but it’s a greater challenge when we experience discouragement from others while striving to do right. I’m like you (and every other mom) in that I’ve made past mistakes too, but we can find relief in knowing there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1). It can be easy to let guilt follow us and rise up to overshadow us, but repeating this simple truth about our forgiveness in Christ will steer our thoughts toward encouragement.

I’ve never been a single mom, but I have dear loved ones and friends who are or have been. From what they’ve shared, you aren’t alone in what you’re feeling. Truth is your best weapon against these challenges: doing right after doing wrong, and doing right when feeling rejected.

You can do right after doing wrong.

Repentance is all about turning in a new direction, and God is all about enabling us to find the right direction and stay the course. All the counselors, support groups, blogs, books, and girlfriends won’t replace God’s truth when it comes to finding the way to walk out life with your boys. “Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments. I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments,” (Psalm 119:6-7). Learning what God has to say about being a woman, being a mom, being a family, and living in our broken world will guide you in how to keep your family’s relationship with God strong. His Spirit will give you all you need to be successful, (2 Peter 1:3). Friend, you can give your sons a heritage of righteousness!

You can do right when you feel rejected. When women are insecure or prideful, they have a way of belittling others. The truth is (There’s that need for TRUTH again!) we are all in need of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) and none of us can be a godly mom without Jesus (John 15:5). To stay encouraged when you feel rejected by others, do 3 things:

1.     Stop and pray for them, because they clearly have a need.

2.     Ask God to bring to mind truths of what He says about you.

3.     Repeat after me (out loud), “I am the apple of God’s eye, dearly loved, accepted by the Lord, chosen as holy, growing in faith, gaining in wisdom, blessed with children, promised a future, and my name is written on the very hand of the Creator of all things.”

You’re already on the right path, because you’re striving to walk God’s way. He is doing a new thing through you, and He is most concerned about your heart now, not your past. Be encouraged that you can do right and overcome rejection!

On This Day

Deborah.  Sarah.  Susan.  Hannah.  Abigail.

This list could be the names of your neighbors or the women on the snack rotation at school.  Prevalent first names that don’t decry importance or scream “look at me”.  What if I told you that these are the first names of women who changed history, yet you will probably never find their name penned in a history book.

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On July 4, 1776, 238 years ago, this great nation set out to define freedom for itself declaring its independence from Great Britain. Signed by fifty-six men, the  Declaration of Independence was penned and scripted from their passion and heartfelt desire “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” and for those beliefs they risked their own lives and walked the tenuous tightrope of treason.

Those same men whose weathered hands held quills daubed in ink to pen what would be our one of our nation’s most important historical documents were once cradled against a mother’s chest.  The very same hair which was covered by powdered wigs was also trimmed and saved by a mother’s caring hand.  The values and deep-seated beliefs that drove these men to throw off the bonds of tyranny and forge ahead into an unknown wilderness–the very bravery to stand and declare ‘Give me liberty or give me death,” knowing full well the mere utterance would be their last, was instilled and taught by the women who carried their weight in their womb and birthed them into a world without such freedoms.  

Could their mothers have known that the swell of their stomach carried the men that would one day change the world?  As they chased their chubby toddler legs and fit them for their first pair of breeches did their mothers wonder what their sons would be when they grew?  

think their mothers did wonder and I think that just like we do, they prayed for their sons.  

I’m sure they prayed for protection because the boys of the summer of 1776 probably got into mischief just like the boys of 2014 minus the internet and cars.  I wonder if they prayed for their sons to change the world or if they prayed to just make it through the next day.  I bet there were a few prayers of “Lord, how do I deal with his stubborn will?”  One would have to pray like that if your son would be the one to stare down the opposition, to draw a line in the sand and say, “Here and no further.”  

So today, on this celebratory day, I want to encourage you, mama.  Your prayers, your instruction, your patience, your love, can and will change the world.  Yours may not be the name googled so a blogger can write her post, but I promise, the name that was searched for will stand testament to your determination and dedication to raising your son.  Your prayers will be answered, not necessarily how you think they will be, but perhaps in even a greater way.  

So this Fourth of July, this our nation’s birthday, let’s resolve to continue to pray for our boys.  To take the stubborn will that makes us crazy, the determination that makes us want to beat our heads against the wall, the outgoing attitudes that make us cry and take it instead to the One who holds us, our boys, and our nation in His hands.  

Let’s join the ranks of the mothers from the past whose prayers on bended knee no doubt shaped the world we now enjoy.  


And those women–their sons were named George Washington, William Prescott, Paul Revere, and Patrick Henry…

Shake it Off, Girl (#BitsOfBrooke)

This week’s quick note from my heart to yours…

(I’m thinking of starting a monthly column here on Thursdays called “Bits of Brooke.” I love sharing my heart with you, and want to give you short messages that are packed with meaning and meet you right where you are. What do you think? It’ll be like it’s just me and you sipping coffee together…helping each other through this motherhood thing).

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I’ve noticed you laboring there under the weight of it all. Those decisions you’ve made to protect and guide and instruct your precious ones—you know, the ones that are different from all the other moms, that make you feel like the only mom in the world who feels the way you do—they’re weighing you down and making you feel like you’re running this race totally alone.

But you’re not. There are other moms like you.

Shake it off girl. If you’re walking in the wisdom of God, and laying your life, and that of your children, down at His feet, you’ve just got to trust that He’ll lead you.

And that’s the beauty of the age we live in, that you can find them on the other side of the country—maybe even the world—and although you only see them once a year if you’re lucky, you feel right at home, because you know they get you.

I want to tell you to shake it off, girl. If you’re walking in the wisdom of God, and laying your life, and that of your children, down at His feet, you’ve just got to trust that He’ll lead you. And if the things He asks you to do look different than what He requires of all your friends, so be it.

His opinion is the only one that matters.

Shake it off. Let the looks, and the stares, and the quiet disagreements (or maybe sometimes the loud ones) roll right off your back. Examine your heart to see if there’s any truth, and then walk confidently in the path God has chosen for you and your family.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Shake it off, girl. Trust God to give you exactly what you need. Get bold and ask Him to send you a friend who gets you. Connect with moms online who are in the trenches just like you. Reach out, walk forward, and shake it off.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.05.14 PMBrooke McGlothlin is the co-founder of the MOB Society, author of Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, and co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in Your Mess (releasing from Harvest House in February 2015).

Stories Pulled Out of a Hat

Recently, while folding laundry, my son and I had a discussion that challenged me. We were recounting the story of Paul and Barnabas and the conflict that separated them. I explained that while Paul and Barnabas separated because of a disagreement, God intended to use that disagreement for good, to expand His kingdom.

“So it was good that it happened that way, right?” he quipped.

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I hadn’t really pondered a conflict and separation as “good” thing, but I smiled and genuinely replied “Yes, you are right, it was good.” He hopped off to the next thing with a satisfied look.  Later, I processed that conversation further, thinking of all the people that would not have come to know Jesus, had Paul not separated from Barnabas. There would likely be no Silas, or any of the other guys Paul poured into. God used that conflict to further His Kingdom in unprecedented ways. As close as they were, Paul and Barnabas probably would not have ever looked at each other and decided it was a great idea to “divide and conquer,” to spread the Gospel.

What does putting God first in my home look like?

Sometimes, putting God first in your home means using the stories that make us uncomfortable or unsure, to teach us and our kids.

A story about conflict is not one we typically put out of a hat to point our children to Christ. The Lord reminded me that night that He brings good out of all things, even when we can’t quite see it. That reminder turned into a lesson I will not soon forget. Who knows if my son will remember it, but continuing to point back to the Word for how others handled situations is what I know God has called us to do as we disciple our sons. God promises His Word does not come back void and I know He will call it to mind in the lives of our boys when they it most.

Prayer for the Day

Lord, help us to use Your Word, putting You first in our home. Give us the verses our sons need to equip them with the knowledge in how to handle situations. Give us the courage to use the Word in ways that is out of our comfort zone. Give us eyes to see our sons as You see them. Thank you for the gift of Your Word. Amen.

Related Resources:  Need the Word in smaller chunks? Don’t know where to start? Here are two powerhouse ways to get smaller bites of God’s Word: Jesus Calling and My Utmost for His Highest.