As I sat in Sunday school this past Sunday morning discussing Heaven with many of my sisters in Christ and as I enjoyed a worship service with my church family for the first time in weeks, I had no idea what was in store within just a couple of short hours……
My thankful, humble, Spirit-filled heart was soon to be tested………..by none other than my 15-year old son!
I have decided that the devil doesn’t have to be too cunning with me. I’m not likely to be tempted to do a lot of obvious kind-of sins………like stealing or murder.
But give me a smart-alecky son in a restuarant with friends and you may see my head start spinning in a complete circle and something frightening spewing out of my mouth.
That’s what happened just an hour or so after singing praises to my God and Savior and thinking of all things in my life that I was thankful for……….including the son who pushed me too far!
See, we went to this particular restuarant (which was a little more pricey than our normal Taco Bell or Wendys Sunday lunch) on this particular day mainly because this is where the “said teenager” wanted to go (I will refrain from using names to protect the not-so-innocent). From the minute we arrived to the minute we left, this “said teenager” was nothing less than grumpy and rude. By the time the meal had ended, I was over-the-top angry. Tim, who wasn’t picking up on the whole rudeness factor, had gone to pay for our meal when the “said teenager” placed the frosting on the cake by acting as if selling candles for an upcoming choir trip wasn’t mandatory…after all, we ONLY owed “$1,000 for the trip”-Hello, that’s a lot of money the last time I checked!
So, when Tim innocently returned to the table where I sat humiliated with “said teenager” and another family from our church, he smiled and said, “Who wants to ride with me?” “Said teenager” along with our daughter Olivia both chimed in, “I will,” to which I quickly replied, “You take Olivia………I’ve got ________ (said teenager).”
He knew right then and there that he was toast!
When we got in the van, though, I didn’t realize just how angry I had gotten while trying to enjoy a grilled chicken salad. As we left the parking lot, my rampage began. I had “said teenager” filling in every line of his candle order form as I drove and screamed our way to a subdivision where we were going to immediately sell candles to people we knew from town. Along the way, though, I lashed out every comment I could think of. I absolutely LOST IT! If anyone drove past us that we knew, I am sure that I am now on their prayer list.
But the clincher came when I screamed………..and yes, I am embarrassed to say that this came out of my mouth, but I actually released in a very loud voice the most mature words that I could think of in the heat of the moment that could possibly express just how I felt……..
“YOU ARE A LOSER!”
Please forgive me. I still can’t believe it happened.
If you have or ever have had a teenager, you might be able to relate to how I felt. If you haven’t had a teenager, please believe me when I say that there are just times in the parenting process when lowering yourself to the level of the one you are trying to raise to become a respectable adult seems like the only option available at the moment.
This was one of those moments.
By the time we reached our first destination, neither I nor the “said teenager” were up for making a candle sale, so I backed out of the driveway and began driving back into town. It was at this moment that I had the thought that while drunk driving is not safe nor being sleepy behind the wheel of a mini-van there should be a law about driving while under the influence of teen-induced insanity.
I drove to our town’s hardware store because I needed some zip-ties and decided “Why not let “said teenager” experience a little of what we do to keep our home running smoothly?” So I parked the car and said, “Come on! You’re going with me.” Now, you have to picture me in my dress and dress shoes huffing into a hardware store with a teenage son walking a safe 10-feet behind me into a store that he rarely has ever entered. I am sure we looked very suspicious on surveillance cameras if they watch for people who do not fit the normal hardware store shopper bill.
We made our purchase and headed home. Silence filled the van the rest of the way home.
Well, almost all the way home. Then I decided to stop the van and very calmly say to my son, “Did you hear anything I said?” (Okay, that was probably a very dumb question, since I said nothing in a decible low enough to not be heard by nearly our entire county.) He replied, “Yes.” I then said, “Do you understand that I cannot take your attitude anymore?” He replied, “Yes.” And then I said, “When I said you were a loser, I did not mean “loser” like you would call someone a loser.” He rolled his eyes. I said, “I just mean you are not a winner right now. You are losing in life when you have the attitude that you have.”
I hope he believed me. I may never know for sure. I regret those words. I really do.
However, I feel like in some ways it was really how I felt.
How do we get our teens to see life as a race that they will either win or lose? It seems so much more obvious when you are 43!
I remember sitting as a teenage girl while my mom “lost it” and thinking “She just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand.” Oh, mom, I’m sorry.
Here I am on the other side of life with a boy listening to me and saying, “She just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand.” How did this happen?
Well, all I can do is look at Scriptures and find some level of comfort. I know that I Cor. 13 says that “love is not easily angered.” That verse reminds me to be patient. But I relieved to also read the verse in Ephesians 4 that says, “In your anger do not sin.” That verse tells me that sometimes it is okay to be mad.
Thank you, Lord, for including that verse. Thank you.
And Father, please forgive me for calling my son a “loser.” I so desperately want him to WIN in this crazy thing called life!
I Cor. 13: 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Eph. 4:26″In your anger do not sin“: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.