But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,
We are the clay, and Thou our potter;
And all of us are the work of Thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
When I became a single mom, nearly a year and a half ago, I had no idea how tough it would be. My daughters were 11 and 15, and they saw it as a free-for-all away from the discipline of their dad. My girls are generally really good kids, but because we had moved an hour away from their former home, and they were trying to get their heads around the aspect of divorce, they went a little crazy.
It was the hardest year I’d experienced as a parent. Added into this new life was the fact that my oldest daughter was a junior in high school, and she was pushing hard against the boundaries for freedom. Only two months after we moved into our new home, she turned 16, and because I was the only one who could chauffeur them everywhere they needed to go, it became apparent we needed another driver in the family. There had been many times when both girls needed to be at a team practice or some other event at the same time, and I couldn’t win for losing. There was always one child who arrived somewhere late, or didn’t get to go at all. Five months after my daughter turned 16, her dad and I bought her a car.
That was a mixed blessing. It eased up on my frantic running around–but also gave my daughter a heady sense of freedom and entitlement. There were a few times when she was rude to me and I asked for her keys, and she wouldn’t hand them over. That was when she found out that I held the pocketbook–and the money for the gas in her car. Yes indeed, young lady, you may think you’ve got the upperhand with the keys, but they don’t do you any good if you can’t go anywhere.
During this year, I began to go to God, and ask Him to intervene. I asked Him to be not only their Heavenly Father, but their earthly Father as well. I needed Him to intervene in really practical ways; to stand behind me and back up my discipline. When I would tell my older daughter that she couldn’t spend the night at her friend’s house because it was a school night, and she argued and negotiated and badgered me until I was ready to SCREAM, I would go to God. “Please, Lord, ordain events so that she cannot go!” And amazingly, He would. My daughter would come downstairs an hour later, and say, “I’m not going over to Jane’s house after all. She’s in trouble with her parents.” And I would say an inward prayer of thanks to God.
Time and again, as I continued to pray for God’s intervention and help, He has stood behind me and beside me, as I’ve continued to parent my very headstrong child, and my younger daughter who is now developing her own teenage attitude. My older daughter is now a senior in high school, and still pushing the boundaries, particularly since she only has a semester left to go, and she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Yesterday, she asked if she could spend the night with her friend on a school night. Then she began to negotiate with me by text, and I kept telling her that I’d rather she came home, so I knew she would get enough sleep. When she came home, we discussed it, and finally settled on letting her spend the night with a friend on a school night once a month.
But a few hours later, just before she left to go to her friend’s house, she looked at me and said, “I don’t think I’m going to spend the night at her house tonight. I don’t feel like it.”
Praise God, from whom all blessings, and heavenly discipline, flow.