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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 7 comments

I grew up in a household where celebrating events "on the day" was mandatory. While this worked in my family of origin where only one side of the relatives were visited with any regularity, that's not the case for most families trying to balance between his side and her side. And I learned firsthand that in a blended family, life is far less stressful if you let go of the idea of celebrating anything "on the day" altogether and just be happy if on occasion it happens to work out that way.

Lest you think I have a perfect life, I want you to know that I did not hear from some of our children at all this Mother's Day. Actually I was two for five with only one being "on the day". Interestingly enough, the one "on the day" was the child I would've least expected just a few years ago.  

While I generally don't get to see my daughter "on the day", she always makes a point of bringing the boys over for a special visit somewhere in the vicinity. This year it happened to be on Saturday, the day before "the day."

Dude and Bubba were coached to say "Happy Mother's Day," and the fact that they ran up and said this to Papa just made me smile. I care for the boys several days a week, and my daughter is always good about saying "Thank You" at the end of the day and showing her appreciation on occasions such as Mother's Day. This year it came in the form of a fruit bouquet primarily consisting of chocolate covered strawberries. Mmmmm!

I have to admit that, knowing the boys aren't fond of holding still for photos, I stooped to bribery, offering a chocolate strawberry to each of them in exchange for a photo. God humbled me as only He can when Dude (almost 3 now) replied, "No thanks; I'd rather play with my dump truck." Thankfully, I was able to work out a compromise by including the dump truck in the photo.

"On the day" we had dinner with my mom and sisters. My niece and nephews were all there and later in the afternoon my youngest son, who works most holidays, was able to join us. I want to share his story (with his permission) because this young man is the personification of encouragement for any mother wondering where she went wrong.

From his infancy I was perplexed by this guy's behavior because he was all boy - something totally foreign to this mom who grew up in a household with just sisters. As he became a teenager his conduct only became more puzzling. In all honesty, he really didn't take after me at all (or so I thought). The oldest daughter of a former Marine, I was raised to obey, no questions asked. (One of my dad's favorite sayings was, "This is not a democracy.") Negative attention was never something my sisters and I could comprehend. In our household, no attention was definitely more desirable than negative attention.

The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. ~ Proverbs 13:24

Not so for this guy. He preferred to learn EVERYTHING the hard way, something that totally confounded me. (At least until a few years ago when I learned that "learning the hard way" is actually a type of learning style. Who knew?) While I could give his sister "the look" to correct her behavior, that was not the case with him. At all. I can't tell you how many times I said to him, "I love you, but I don't like what you're doing right now."  

To say his years from pre-teen to his early twenties were tumultuous would be an understatement. I know it could have been much worse but still, I was so concerned with his behavior I was often praying for his survival.

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. ~ Proverbs 19:18

He moved out of our home just after high school and moved back in a few years later as he began to turn things around. We "nudged" him out of the nest when he was 24, pointing out that no girl wants to marry a man who is 25 and still living in his mother's basement. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done because, while he was not at all helpful around the house, the pleasant, fun-loving boy I once knew had returned.

While I missed him terribly, going out on his own and spending his money on "boring" things such as rent and toilet paper was the best thing for him. Just a few months ago this former teenager who fought me on absolutely everything sent me this text out of the blue. (So out of the blue that my first thought was he must be dying or something!)

Can anyone say, "Hallelujah!"?

And my heart melted when I read this Mother's Day card yesterday :)

So for you mothers out there pulling your hair out, here are a few words of encouragement from someone who's been there:

Don't give up!

Keep praying.

There's a good chance things will not be like this forever.

Keep praying!

Don't stop reaching out.

Keep praying!!

Seek insight; admit when you're wrong; change where necessary.

Keep praying!!!

Don't forget that God is in the business of working miracles!

Keep praying and cling to this truth:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.~ Proverbs 22:6


7 Responses so far.

  1. Oh Lisa, I you don't know (or maybe you do) how much I needed this. Some days I really do wonder why I don't just give up.
    Thank you. And God Bless you for such great timing.

  2. Yes, the end of the story has not yet been told for those wayward children. God is faithful and although you wondered if he was learning, it is evident that he learned a LOT from you. What a sweet card. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  3. Nannette says:

    Tears!! As the mother of three grown sons, that tore me up!! All three of mine posted a picture and "words" on social media Sunday and I still get teary eyed. :) Blessings to you for all of your hard work.

  4. Anonymous says:

    These words were so perfect and so true! Hearing from our children but especially words that we long to hear are such a gift. You are blessed and I know as a mom I am too.

  5. Karmen says:

    This was amazing and such encouragement to this mother’s heart! Great post!!

  6. Unknown says:

    I enjoyed this and found it encouraging as this was the first Mother's Day with all but one of my children living at home. He gave up something else he could have done in the evening to just be around. I didn't hear from most of my children "on the day" but in and around the weekend. Great encouragement (if I must say it again).

  7. What a lovely post with some wonderful sharing! Lovely!

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