Being a parent doesn’t mean someone issues you “Parental Fix It” in a can like “Fix a Flat” even though that certainly sounds like a marvelous idea. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is witnessing your child hurting. It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they are hurt in any way it is hard for a parent to witness. It’s even worse when there is absolutely nothing you can do to ease the pain except hold them and pray.
One of the joys of parenthood is witnessing your child stepping out into life and making decisions that will be foundation stones for their life. Our daughter made such a decision recently at a Wednesday night worship service.
She had harbored a secret for the last few years and with only the nudging of the Holy Spirit, not only went forward to ask Jesus into her heart for rea,l but to admit that her previous public profession was made with the wrong motivation. She made her “fake” decision at a time in her life when she was acting out over the hurt and anger she had towards her biological mother who it seemed, to her, just up and left her and created a new family. Our daughter knew what she was doing was wrong but, she reasoned then as a child, if she was saved she could get into Heaven regardless of her behavior. Now, as her reasoning and decision making skills have expanded she realized the greater wrong was in lying to God, herself, us and her church.
We’re proud of her. It showed a lot of maturity on her part to realize she was wrong and step forward with no one telling her she should to right her wrong. She came home with such a peace in her eyes I was astonished and with an attitude change that has lasted!
Two days later, she is sobbing in my arms with her first broken heart. The two parts of parenthood I’ve already mentioned collided and we had a third piece of the parenthood picture, leading your child to do the right thing regardless of their own pain.
What and how it all came about isn’t important. Let me just say that the young man involved is a smart, funny, kind 13-year-old who truly cares about our daughter. He and his family live with his Asperger’s diagnosis and part of that, for him, makes crowds hard to tolerate. He wanted to go to the Homecoming game and dance with our daughter. He planned to go. He was excited to go. But despite his wants and his good intentions he left in the second quarter of the game.
My husband was with our daughter and this young man at the game. It was hard to see our daughter hurt like that firsthand, he wanted to leave and bring her home, but she braved the game out even though she found the dance to be too much to deal with on her own. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that the tears came and she walked into our bedroom, threw herself into my arms and wept.
Her initial reaction was to tell the young man a few things that weren’t going to help the situation, especially if she hoped to salvage a friendship out of the relationship. As parents though it was up to us to help her handle the situation in a way that would honor God.
We wouldn’t let her text the teenage boy and “break up” for we didn’t want her to “do unto another and have it done unto her” later. Despite modern societies obsession with electronic communication it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to handle letting others know what you’re thinking or feeling.
Gently we reminded her of the times and ways this young man had shown her he cares deeply for her. When the two of them are together the light and laughter in their eyes blows us away. He was her defender when they went to the same school and stood by her even when she was making really rotten decisions for herself after she broke his new eyeglasses on purpose. We reminded her of his Asperger’s and how, although it was terribly painful, it was the Asperger’s part of him that hurt her, not all of him. It wasn’t deliberate. He truly didn’t understand how deeply he would hurt her. Someone hurting you on purpose, or unavoidably doesn’t give you a license to hurt them back.
Our daughter’s first broken heart over a boy. She’s handled it well. She’s made her decision that perhaps they will best be a part of each other’s lives as friends and she knows that for him to be a part of her life that the social situations they are in will need to be thought out to ensure he and she are comfortable and can have fun. She knows it is possible, they’ve done such things before. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or simply a friendship that involves anything in a crowd without his parents is unlikely to occur. To want those things, football games and dances, parades, fairs and hayrides; doesn’t make her a bad person or selfish. They are both way too young to have a serious relationship and her social development is also important. Plus it is a step in teaching her the things she will need to consider when she’s older and ready for a more mature relationship.
Above all else, her falling in love with Jesus came at the perfect time, as does God’s timing always fall. Prior to that Wednesday night decision our daughter wouldn’t have handled the Friday night crushing disappointment well at all. When she got out of the car this morning to go into school I wasn’t concerned she’d act out and I’d be getting a phone call later today from her principal.
As a parent I drove off with my own smile on my face. First love. Yes, our daughter is on the path to eternity with Jesus and He’s her first love, above even herself. I know there are still tough times ahead for her, other broken hearts over other boys (or the same one) but I believe too she will come to have her heart broken for the things that break God’s heart. Maybe if all I can do is hold her and pray for her or simply pray for her during those times she weeps for what makes God weep then I am doing the greatest part of my job as her mother after all.
A praying mother,