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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 14 comments

Worst. Parent. Ever.

Have you ever felt like that?  I think it's more of a female tendency, though I'm sure men have their moments... We all have times when we make mistakes, but what about those times when what we do is deliberate? 

I remember feeling like a terrible parent when my firstborn got on the school bus for the first time.  I knew it was the right thing for her.  I knew it was part of the natural course of events.  Yet I still felt like a horrible parent, just "shipping her off."  Totally illogical, I know, but difficult nonetheless.
Fast-forward to the present.  My son, who's nearing his mid-twenties, lives at home.  He likes living here (He even told me so).  I like him living here (and I told him so).  He's pleasant to be around (something I had a hard time saying back when he was a teenager), helps me feed lunch to my grandsons before heading to work in the afternoon, and always finds me and pops his head in to say, "Hi" when he comes home.

He's comfortable here. 

The problem? 

He's too comfortable. 

Photo courtesy of Pandiyan and Flickr

It's time for my son to leave the nest.  There are so many things he needs to learn, most of which won't be discovered while living with me.  We actually had this discussion a while ago - 8 months ago to be exact.  I told him it was time for him to move out and gave him a year to do so.  Honestly, I was surprised it took him so long.  I guess I didn't realize just how comfortable he was. 

He moved out just over a week ago, and after five days on his own I stopped by to see his apartment.  It was pitiful.  His furniture consisted of a new bed he purchased and an old end table that had been in his room here.  The living room had a pile of blankets in one corner and a small tv on the floor in the opposite corner.  The only thing in the refrigerator was leftover pizza which he ate cold because he doesn't have a microwave and didn't think to use the oven.

I asked him if he liked living on his own and he replied, "No".  He said he was lonely.  Of course much of this was due to the fact that he'd been stuck in the apartment all day waiting for the cable guy to show up.  He'd been told the guy would be there between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.  I could almost hear my dad's voice saying, "Welcome to the real world."  Instead, that's when the refrain started running through my head:

Worst. Parent. Ever.

Now, even if it feels like it, I know that's not true.  I think one day he'll even thank me for encouraging him to go out on his own.  I know his wife will, whoever she may be.

I began wondering if this is how God feels when we're going through difficult times?  Does he hate seeing us struggle, but allow it because it's the only way we're going to grow?  If I'm honest, I have to say I'm more likely to lose sight of Him when I'm comfortable.  Growth comes when I'm clinging to Him, and I'm clinging to Him when life gets difficult.

The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher. ~ Isaiah 30:20 HCSB

Maybe this is exactly what my son needs, not only to learn to be independent, but to learn to rely on God.  I am certain he's saved, but I also know he keeps God at a distance.  He did leave his Harry Potter books here, but he packed his Bible.  I take that as a very good sign!

Lord, I thank You for the comfort that comes from knowing my son belongs to You.  I pray You will use this experience to strengthen his relationship with You and develop him into a man after Your own heart. Thank You for loving me enough to move me out of my comfort zone and closer to You. 


I've been known to link up with: Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection, Into the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays,

14 Responses so far.

  1. When our son moved out, to his own apartment, it looked like he was camping in his apartment. He slept on an air mattress for two months, and sat on camping chairs. He did have an extra table from our house, and we helped him stock his kitchen the first time. When he had made enough money to have a little cushion, he bought a bed and some furniture. Cindy Cleaver

  2. Alicia says:

    SO that worst parent ever syndrome doesn't just end when your kid graduates, huh? Shucks.. I thought I'd outgrow that condition in about a decade! Seriously, you sound like a wise mama to me. And I found myself a bit teary when you mentioned how much your son enjoyed living with you- your home must be a warm and beautiful place. Will pray with you for his "new home" to be filled with that same warmth and beauty. Hooray for packing his Bible! Stopping by from SDG today.

  3. Hi Lisa, here in the Philippines it is a natural thing for sons and daughters to stay with their parents until they are married. It is also a natural thing for aging parents to stay with their children until they die. Very seldom are they sent off to a nursing home. We have close knit families. I would hate it if my son left unless he discerned that he had to work abroad or something. That said, I understand it is very different in your culture. My husband stayed in the States for 3 years and he said something about how one had to fend for himself after college. Those who opted to stay with their parents got teased and roasted. I am sure your son will learn many things by being on his own but doesn't he have a good friend he can stay with if he's lonely? Some people need companions! patsy

  4. Christina says:

    I know the day will come all too soon when my own kids will need to leave home. You're right, there are so many important lessons our children need to learn on their own. Most importantly, they need to learn to rely on God for everything. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Dionne says:

    Oh...I dread and smile when I think of my two boys leaving the nest one day. Scary too. Thank you for showing me your heart and helping me feel encouraged that I can one day do it too.

  6. Eileen says:

    Oh boy, my son is 9 year old. I can see your story being my story one day! It's so hard to find that balance of giving them independence, letting them make their own mistakes and helping them choose to rely on the Lord. Great reminder. Thanks for linking up today!

  7. caryjo says:

    Parenting comes and goes forever and ever. My son, who will be 40 in January [and I'll be posting about his birth that, historically, was dropped at just the right time] is sober for the first time in many years. His alcoholism began when he was 14. He had come to the Lord when much younger, but became angry at the Lord and his whole like changed. AND so did mine in some ways. Heart broken over him. [My daughter is older and chose a similar life and has just recently returned to the Lord.] Anyhow, I used to blame myself for what happened and the Lord has laid it on my heart many times that it wasn't my fault. Kind of Him. And grateful to see them changing now. "Mothering" doesn't go away; don't even know for certain sure if it leaves entirely when we are in heaven. [Hope so, of course. ;-)]

  8. Oh yes, I have done some terrible things as a parent, and have had to ask my children to forgive me. There were times though that each one of them needed to return home for a season. Those were good days, and when they were ready, they again left. Your son may need to know you are always there if he again needs to swing that door open again. Thank you for sharing at tell me a story.

  9. Pamela says:

    Parenting never stops, does it? My daughter will be 20 in January. Tonight she was out past dark and I worried about her. (Although I didn't tell her that!) I was married two years by that age. I just keep handing them over to God when I begin to hold them too close.

  10. Karen says:

    I've been there! God will make a way and will give both of you peace when the time comes!! Blessings to you both

  11. Lisa...what a great post. My oldest is 16 and I dread the day when she will move out on her own....out from my protection and love and yet I look forward to her having an amazing life of her own. And yes there have been days I've felt like the worst parent ever. Love that your son left his potter books but took his Bible

  12. Charlotte says:

    Having a son myself, I feel for you. I am imagining how I would feel in your situation and I know I would feel the same way you do. It is so hard to know how to handle these kinds of situations. In the old days and still in some countries generations of families live in the same house. I can see good and bad from that. I'm thinking of the story of the mother bird who pushes the babies out of the nest. Otherwise they would not learn to fly. Sounds like you are a good mother and I'm certain he will get through the difficult period and "come out on top." I too like that he took his Bible and left his Harry Potter books.

  13. It is really touchable story, we should always believe our God, he always test us to see, whether we are capable enough to live in this cruel world.

  14. Kathy E. says:

    I just read this and that baby bird made me get teary eyed. We talked about your son leaving, and it does seem pitiful, no furniture and no momma! I can relate, although my son has lots of furniture because his roommate got the army bonus. Anyways, I think they decide what's important in life after they have to fend for themselves. I just have to say I've received more hugs from my son since he left than the whole 20 years I raised him!

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