Monday, August 10, 2009
I've mentioned before that I've had some challenges with my son in the past several months. He's had issues with laziness and not following through. I struggle with those myself at 34, so I'm not surprised, but it has been frustrating. He and I have been butting heads quite a bit, and there has been a general lack of respect towards me, which has been difficult, especially since I'm the one at home with him all day. As a result, I've found myself searching my own heart, examining my role in these issues, and praying for reconciliation.
One of the most disconcerting things to me was his spiritual condition. E has always had an aptitude for spiritual things, earning himself the nickname Matthew Henry (a great theologian of yore who wrote excellent Bible commentaries). The trouble is that he always knew the right answers and could explain great theological precepts from a young age, but that knowledge wasn't translating into a changed life. It didn't seem to be impacting his heart and actions. These things were of grave concern, as we have no desire to raise a little pharisee. Again, this became a matter of prayer, and God has been faithful to answer my prayers.
Over the course of the past month, I have been noticing changes in my son. On his 12th birthday, when asked if he felt older, he said yes, though not physically, but in his mind. He said he knew things now that he hadn't know before. Enigmatic and interesting. For his 12th birthday, he received an air rifle, and he completed an on-line hunting safety course. He and his dad are planning a weekend camping trip to go squirrel hunting. We also gave him the books Sentinel: City of Destiny (a fabulous Christian allegory geared towards pre-teen boys) and Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. He read through the former in less than a day, calling it a really great book. He was less enthusiastic initially about the latter book, due in part to the title, but once he began reading, he dubbed it a really good book as well and has been sharing insights that he's been gleaning from reading it. Tonight, he even carried it along to his scout's meeting.
I've noticed an effort on his part to be more cooperative. He's also been more respectful, more kind, and even more affectionate. He even expressed appreciation for my help in cleaning his room a couple of weeks ago, as we worked along side each other (instead of fighting). I've been reading Age of Opportunity:A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, so I've been working on my attitude and actions as well.
This weekend was another turning point. While the girls hosted a slumber party, the boys spent the night elsewhere and went to the shooting range to practice for their hunting trip. I really think the added time with Dad, especially in a mature activity like shooting, has been so good for him.
In church on Sunday, one of the men announced the Jr. High kick-off cookout, shared how God had called him to lead the Jr. High ministry and the vision he had for it. I was impressed and encouraged. He then taught the Jr. High Sunday School class, and E was really enthusiastic about the lesson he taught on the four spokes of prayer, bible study, fellowship, and witnessing. Nothing revolutionary, but somehow it impacted him afresh. They'll be going through The Way of the Master as a group together. I'm very encouraged about the new leadership, and excited to see what God does in this group.
After last night's cookout, Chris and E were able to have a great discussion, which was initiated by E. He shared that he'd been thinking about his prayer to accept Christ in his top bunk when he was about four, and wondering whether that was real or not. Chris challenged him to pray about it, and ask God to reveal Himself to him.
This morning, while I was in bed reading, E came in with a huge smile on his face and tears rolling down his cheeks to tell me that he'd prayed to accept Christ, and recommitted his life to Him. When I asked him about it, he said that he had been reading his Bible and just wasn't sure that he'd been serious when he prayed at four years old, so he prayed and told God that he knew he'd been sinning, asked for His forgiveness, and recommitted his life to the Lord. There was such sincerity, joy, and enthusiasm, as he shared what he'd done with me that my heart was so full with joy to see it. Hallelujah!!
After talking with me, I encouraged him to write in his journal. When he was finished, he came back to me and asked what he could do to help me. So I suggested that he unload the dishwasher. A few minutes later, I heard that he had put in a worship CD, and he was singing at the top of his lungs, praising Jesus, while unloading the dishwasher. Oh how it blessed my heart!!
I'm so grateful to witness the work that God is doing in my son. I love him so much!! I look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in him and through him as he continues to submit to the Lordship of Christ and surrender to Him. I'm also so thankful to know that we'll be spending eternity together in heaven. God is faithful!
Grace and Peace,