It was a dark and stormy moment….
In the midst of my daily feat of attempting to juggle running chainsaws and feral cats with one hand tied behind my back, I was struggling to summon up the necessary courage to run to the local “Mart of Wal”.
I didn’t wanna go…but alas, my family had “needs”; we were down to the last roll (again?!?!) and the local DG didn’t sell V-neck tees for boys. So off I went; trusting the house, the business and homeschool would run quite fine without my presence.
The “Mart of Wal” is less than 3 miles away. I calculated I could be in and out of there in 30 mins tops. (Who am I kidding?) An hour later and 20 bucks lighter, I cruised back through my kitchen door met by my 13-year old swinging a variety of “weapons” and explaining that he was working on his “epicness” (Spell check doesn’t like that word but it was definitely appropriate for what was going on in my kitchen.)
“So…” I ask, “how’s the epic school work coming along?” No answer. I didn’t expect one but out of fairness to the accused I try to start off hoping for the best while knowing the worst.
See, this wouldn’t be an issue except, this has been the story for the past week…or more. There’s nothing easy about homeschooling, ministry, running a business and a home…all in the same bit of square-footage.
And this kid is slick… He knows what’s expected yet he seizes every opportunity for idleness, and like most red-blooded 13-year old critters, he’s got a bit of a strong will. In fact, there are times I’d describe him as the one with “buns of steel and a heart of stone”.
This time, I was prepared to do battle. After a bit of work check, blank answers and a word volley back and forth with my “epic” 13-year old, let’s just say his lips got loose and momma tiger was about to pounce.
Pouncing is not good for me. I am a recovering pouncer. I have been known to over pounce and to pounce furiously so that all teachable moments dissolve in the heat of my pouncing. Not pretty.
Actually, I was impressed because the impulse inside of me that said…”Smack that mouth!” disappeared instead in a whispered prayer of,
“Lord, help me do this.”
[This homeschool, this child, this love, this discipline.]
“I need you NOW, please help.”
I can’t explain exactly what happened in the course of the next 20 minutes but a close description is that I was caught up in the Spirit….with my husband’s help.
Did I mention we have a home business? Yeah… and that might make some folks think I’ve had a lot of help in this department through the years. However…we can both say that God is doing a daily restorative miracle in my husband’s ability to tune in, sense danger, see his role as our spiritual leader and step in to help. And God is also miraculously restoring my faith to trust him to do so and in my ability to let him.
Calmly we discussed our options to straighten this crooked-speaking, wrathful, defiant child uttering oaths in the other room. What were our goals? (Exorcism? Nah too extreme…Ground him til he’s 30…no way, we want to go on the mission field!)
We didn’t simply want to punish…we wanted to teach.
That’s why we home school in the first place.
But we don’t simply want to teach, we are after his heart–not simply for ourselves, but for that child and most certainly for God.
That’s why we home school in the ultimate place.
With a plan in mind and unity between us we went in to him to explain what we know he already knows but apparently needed reminding– his heart was being captured by the sin of defiance and his tongue was out of control.
It was clear that the privileges of computer, ipod, radio (we don’t have TV!) were going to be removed until further notice. He was grounded. He needed to make the connection between the respect for authority he shows in other settings to what is rightfully expected here.
He was about to lose the privilege of going to his Civil Air Patrol meeting as well, but neither of us wanted to go that far. However, it was definitely on the table and because my husband and I stood there unified in our love for him and each other, the boy began to cave.
It was time to walk away and let the Spirit do His work. It didn’t take long. In fact, here is the blessed miracle of it all; 15 minutes later the same epically defiant boy stood before me crying in repentance. His heart had been won (and his backside had been spared a good pouncing!)
I sent him to his father who gladly received him and his apology but also took him one step further to know that his privileges were not going to be returned to him any time soon and before they could be, he would have to read James chapter 3 and they’d have a discussion together…when he was ready.
What was just another dark and stormy moment in our home and could have easily turned into another episode of cosmic chaos was instead tempered by the grace of God falling in extraordinary ways on our ordinary little family.
I sometimes wish there had been more of these moments before today but the grace of God also tells me that the road to glory is paved with lessons like these and is best traveled with my eyes fixed forward on Jesus.
He’s restoring the years the locusts may seemingly have eaten, one grace-filled, redemptive moment at a time…and I’m beginning to see more of them. So grateful.
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.”
How about you? Where have you experienced God’s extraordinary in your ordinary recently? Please share.
Linking up with these fine folks: