There is a 12 almost 13 year old boy living under my roof. He's not my biological son but I've been his step-mom since he was 5. C spends most of his free time with me and has for several years now. My husband works some tough hours so I'm usually "it" when it comes to what he'll do with his free time, chores, even some discipline. When I first met C, his speech was so impaired he was next to impossible to understand. His father had been struggling for a couple of years already, working with him to help improve his speech, his temper and everything else that fathers do. My husband is an amazing father, full of patience and wisdom and not just genuine interest in & love for his son but a genuine "like" of his son. He thoroughly enjoys his son, every aspect of his little personality and has really enjoyed watching this child of his grow into a very fine young man.
And he is a very fine young man.
A 12 year old fine young man...
Which, actually, means he's hitting the hormonal SPIKE years and he's not quite as fine as he was but that good, sweet, loving heart still resides in that sprouting up like crazy body of his. By "not quite as fine as he was" I mean he's hit that point where you're fairly sure most days that he unzipped his head, took his brain out and left it in a box in his dresser.
We say things to him which he conveniently doesn't hear or forgets. He's given a chore which he promptly turns into a game of some sort, see how long he can waste time and dilly dally around. Not in some sort of vicious I hate my parents way just...in that 12 year old boy way.
And I'm fighting so hard to not take it personally, to remind myself that he's 12 and this is what he's going to do. There is this unreasonable fear, though. It's been crouched low in my mind just waiting to rear its ugly head and I've ignored it for a long time, about eight years. Eight years since I met him and knew he was going to be a part of my life for the rest of my life.
My older son, who will be 27 in January, hit the age of 14 and we'd had our "things" before then. I was always a bit more than strict with him because I was a single mother. That's the reason I gave myself, anyway. I was it. If I let him take over, all was lost so I put down rules and stuck to them mercilessly. He was always such an amazing kid, too. Definitely did "boy stuff" but never gave me an inch of worry or one sleepless night. People would often tell me he was such a joy to be around, I had done such a great job with him and I'd tell them he was born that way - I just taught him the words (please, thank you, etc.). That is - until he turned 14. Then, as he was hanging out with boys I'd known for more than half of their lives, they started to get involved with drugs. Every one of those sweet, funny, brave and somewhat goofy boys went down a road that looked inviting but ended up being scary and dark and has actually since taken a few of them to the grave.
It was my greatest fear in the flesh. He had stepped outside of my realm of control into a world I knew absolutely nothing about and I was scared beyond all imagination it would kill him before I could save him. It took me MANY years - many sleepless nights, countless tears, screaming and anguish before I could admit no matter what I did, I couldn't save him. All I had was prayer. At first? That seemed like absolutely nothing. I'd prayed to God regarding serious issues, big things in my life before and He never answered the way I had hoped He would. That made me ridiculously fearful. What if God's plan for my son's life was for it to end while he was young and I couldn't do anything about it and by praying I made it happen sooner... Prayer did not give me much comfort at first.
See what I mean about unreasonable fear? It's irrational. It causes you to think things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever but while within its grasp makes all the logical sense you could possibly imagine.
It's debilitating. It robs you of life, of happiness - of joy. Why? Because it turns your face from God's face. It causes you to look at something other than perfection, sovereignty, power to the nth degree, love and grace and mercy that defy description.
That fear became an idol of my heart. And here I see it worming its way back into my mind again and if I give it hold, it will worm its way into my heart. Robbing me of my relationship with God again. Turning my head. Tearing my eyes away.
The devil truly is like a roaring lion...always looking to devour...
And he is tricky. And smart. And cunning. And not worth giving one ounce of my attention to. Don't mistake me - I do not underestimate him. I do not for one second pretend he is worthless or to be completely discounted. That's pride of another variety.
Instead, I have to remind myself repeatedly he is there, he is looking for a way in and I need to keep my eyes firmly focused on the One - the ONLY One - who can save me. And my sons.
My oldest is not a believer and for a long time I blamed myself for that. I still do on occasion but I have to remind myself - he is an adult. I have told him the truth and he has to choose for himself. I did not teach it to him as I should, when he was growing up and that's the part where I struggle. It's more of beating myself up for not seeing the truth sooner. I was 35 myself when I came back to Christ, he was already 17 and in a place where he barely wanted anything to do with me at all, let alone go with me to church, etc.
He has, however, long left the drugs, straightened himself out and he purchased his first home last summer.
And I continue to pray... There IS hope. I see answered prayer all around me and I know - God rarely works instantaneously. He does not "perform." He is not "fixing" us, He is changing us, growing us and that takes work - and our participation. So long as my son refuses to see God for who He is and to accept Jesus for who He is and what He has done for us, my son will only go so far. But prayers have been answered - my son no longer involves himself with drugs or those who use them. He looks at his life and sees the "good" and doesn't want the bad. For that I am extremely grateful. And I continue to pray.
So...when that irrational fear for son #2 rears its ugly head, I have to face it. Head on. At the time. And I have to remember what it is and what it can't be allowed to do. And so I pray. Pray. Pray. I pray because I know God is infinitely wiser than me, stronger than me and I'm already fighting the urge to give up. Fighting the selfish urge that tells me this child isn't mine, he isn't my responsibility - I don't have to live this way for the next several years.
But I know that is a dark, non-truth. He IS mine. I CHOSE to be his step-mother. I ASKED God for this privilege. And I did it knowing God would be there for the entire walk and He was the only one I could trust to carry me through, to do what I need to do, am supposed to do and want to do. I love that sweet, kind hearted boy and I'm looking forward to knowing and loving the strong, caring, godly man he will become. The years in between are going to drive me a bit batty. I just need to remember to keep my eyes on Him, not the batty.
He's worth it.