It is so hard doing something that is ultimately good for your children, but that makes them feel lousy in the meantime.
I explained myself. I explained why. And my reasonings were understood. But that didn't make it much easier. I even offered up an alternative plan if things improve. But no time frame. I just can't quote a time frame.
See, here's the deal. Each of my four children have wonderful, beautiful, loving hearts. As their mom, I can see where they can get hurt because of these hearts. I do know that they will get hurt at some point. I know it is a part of life. But, at the ages they are at now, I can still help deal with the hurt.
I want them to have boundaries. I want them to have self-respect. I want them to carry forgiveness and compassion wrapped around a strong heart that has faith that God's very best for them is found in the gifts that God has already put inside them; and that as they grow, anyone God brings in to their lives is a companion and will never be the sun to their universe.
They are still young for these things. But I see it already. I remember being 19 and engaged and realizing how much of myself I had already given up. It was never instant. And it was never flat out requested. It was a little at a time. It was a compromise here, and a compromise there. Oh, this bothers him, so I'll just stop. I'll just stop? But what if it was a part of me . . I just stopped anyway. I stood up for myself in every area of life, except to the one who I had let in the closest. Looking back it seems so foolish. The fairytale side of me believed that he had my best interests at heart. But if I didn't know what my best interests were; how could he? This molding of two people together is such an opaque idea at times, that it doesn't seem to have any boundaries until the two people set them.
I don't want my children to get lost. I don't want them to be taken advantage of. I know there is that possibility regardless. But what if I started now? They are children. I help them sew up hole in their clothes. I fix their food. I teach them manners. I am their mother. Why can't I also point out - look how subtle that was in that conversation . . see how that was turned to make you feel like it was your fault and if you cared, you'd do something different. Do you see it? I doubt the person speaking even notices at this point. But see it my child. Stare at those comments that don't sit right in your soul and address them. Let it be known that this is not ok. Draw the boundaries that will define what treatment of yourself is acceptable. And when it isn't, turn. Sometimes talk, but if it doesn't change, turn. You deserve so much more. You deserve to be respected, to be cared for, and to be taken seriously. You deserve this because of who you are, because of who God made you to be, and because of the brightness that shines in you.
Tonight I am thankful for these years while they are growing to try and teach these things that are so very important; but that aren't found in any textbook. These things can bring decades to a lifetime of sadness or happiness for these lovely creatures that God has blessed me with. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach them wisdom and understanding . . even when it makes them cry . . . even when it makes me cry to make them cry.