I’m in the car (surprise, surprise) driving from one place to the other. This time with only two in tow, the baby and the 11-yr. old.
“Blah-d-blah yeg. Mini ma stairs. Dish ma beeg ouchie.”, Jack-speak.
“Yes I know, honey. Your leg scraped the stairs and you do have a big ouchie,” I reply, empathizing at him in the rearview mirror.
“Ya. Big ouchie,” he moaned.
“How do you know what he’s saying?” my 11-yr. old asks in disbelief.
I think for a moment and respond the obvious, “Because I spend pretty much every minute of the day with him.”
As I’m saying this, my mind races back to last night and the conversation between my teen and me. Something not worth going into had greatly disturbed him that evening. So much so, he couldn’t sleep. Fear had set in and his mind was racing. Fighting his thoughts, trying to doze off, he heard me come up the stairs, got out of bed and headed to my room.
He described the circumstances and my heart went out to him in a big way. I remembered a similar situation when I was around his age. For me, it had to do with a preview of the Amityville Horror – a super creepy movie that I never saw … but didn’t need more than a few seconds of an ad to scare the heck out of me. Despite every effort, I couldn’t get the images out of my head … especially around the time it hit the pillow.
But I learned, and have continued to understand through the years and much contemplation, that the only tool available to combat such circumstances is Truth.
As we stood in my bedroom, I pounced on the opportunity to share with him the Truth. The truth that he was tapped into power that supersedes any control this situation had on his thoughts. Truth that God is not only Lord over his life, but Lord over his thoughts, Lord over his dreams. How do I know? Because I believe Scripture.
For the next thirty minutes, I got to walk through what I’ve read to him for years, example after example of Biblical stories that offered proof to just that. We talked about religion verses relationship … because this kid needed relationship. Not mine, but a Savior’s. Someone to help take captive racing thoughts centered on complete fabrication that seemed so real. Religion wasn’t cutting it.
Then came the “a-ha” moment (I hope!). I played the friend card. The reality of the friend card. The question again … How can you know God is Lord over all? Spend time with him. By spending time with him, you grow to know him … and know yourself. How can this teen who is pelted almost every minute of the day with lies – lies from the media, lies from “friends”, from society, from peer pressure, from bullies … from himself – ground himself in the Truth?
I sent him to bed with a simple instruction. Fill your mind with truth. Think of the stories and all the people in the Old & New Testaments. What is the never-changing thread that binds them all? God. God, who does what he says, who never lies, who loves beyond reason. Spend time with him.
He did sleep that night. He told me he woke up once. When the garbage began to invade his thoughts, he forced his mind to focus on Truth. A beautiful admonishment given over 100 times in Scripture, “Don’t be afraid.” Why? “I am your God”, “I am the Alpha & Omega”, “I am with you” (even while you’re dreaming)… the list goes on. And he was able to go back to sleep – nightmare-free.
Seems like an insignificant example, but I hope not to him. … Looking at the baby in my backseat, I grasp again the application of what I tried to communicate to the kid. A relationship is only as strong as the genuine time invested. My best friends are the ones I openly talk to every day. May I let that sink in with regard to the ultimate friend.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
Check in tomorrow for Mary Flo Ridley’s guest blog. Her wisdom and insight as it relates to dealing with sexual issues bombarding our kids is worth your time. She’s terrific! :)
btw… the yard thing has been harder than the meals! Ugh. … but the beds are made
a friend of yours forwarded your blog link to me today. I've started at the beginning and can't stop reading. Do you live in my house??? I feel like you do. You have given me so many ideas to implement. I guess I should start slow like you have. Looking forward to taking this road with you. THANKS for taking the time to share.