He needs love, this boy of mine, with body stretched so tall that he passed up the whole family. He eats and eats and grows and grows. But what can fill his heart?
His heart is growing, too-but he rejects the food that can satisfy it and too often it remains empty, aching, searching for meaning and fulfillment. He's often tempted to take whatever junk food that comes along-from television, internet and peers-and stuff his heart with that instead of the nourishment that comes from the food of God-His very Word.
He reaches out his arms and holds me close, holds me long. I don't want to let go. I'm afraid he'll never come back. I fight with myself over the holding on and the letting go. And he always wants to go; he wants to go away from the family, away from home, away from love.
I don't blame him, really. We love so poorly. We don't know how. Instead of gently stroking his face and whispering tender words, we yell and shout. We blame and judge and accuse. We force him to fast from the tender love of family because we ourselves are often overfull of fear and haven't enough love with which to nourish him.
He thinks he's ready to be unleashed to the world, to cut his binding ties that hold him close. He wants to be set free to new experiences with his friends. I say no, not yet, stay close for a while longer. Learn obedience, even when it's painful, dull, lonely. Learn that sometimes love says no and you will survive having your desires denied.
And he turns his back in anger. My heart is torn and a piece breaks off and falls to the ground. What's left of my heart is now open, bleeding, and wondering how to make this right, how to lessen the hurt. I take him to God in my prayer-please Lord, help him love you, help him to do what is right. And help me to do what is right, too. What is right, Lord? Am I doing ok? Will we survive this turbulent time? Will he grow to be a fine young man? Will his life give you glory?
I look in the mirror of my past, and instead of a pudgy, middle-aged woman whose very appearance embarrasses her son, I see the young girl I once was, the girl just like him, the girl who wanted to be popular, who wanted to make her own way in the world without the rules of her parents and her God. That girl shed many tears in her struggle for freedom and felt that her parents could never seem to say or do the right things to please her.
And now I'm the parent unable to please. But my son, no matter how much he reminds me of myself, is not me. His story is different than mine. I need to trust that God's plans for him will all turn out good, he will be good. He might struggle for freedom from me, but he will always remain rooted in God. God will not let go of my son, just like He never let go of me. God will win, He always does.
Dear God, please hold my little-boy-growing-to-a-man close to your heart, and stitch my torn heart using trust for the thread. Strengthen our love for one another and for You, fill our hearts with Your goodness. Carry us through this time of trial without one tear shed in vain. Use them to water the world with Your love. Amen.