If you have ever tried to hug a tornado, handle unstable chemicals, or hold an unharnessed wild horse, then you have great experience to aid you in loving a difficult child.
All of my children have been difficult to love in different ways. People are complicated, seasons change, and we all have our walls that need to be climbed and conquered by love.
But one of my children has higher walls than I had anticipated.
Boy 3 is often a hungry lion, a tempest of fury, and a cage-match fighter all rolled into one of the most adorable children God ever made.
It would be easy to write him off as difficult, and chalk up all of our disagreements and fights to his own immaturity or his own sinful heart.
But then I look into his flashing blue eyes and I know that difficult hearts are often also the deepest ones. Tempers flare to protect the places that we know we cannot bear being wounded.
His behavior often reminds me that I, too, was a difficult child. I always wanted to have the last word, I bore a heart full of pride, and I was often incensed that the world was not just as I wanted it to be.
My grandmother said that I was just like my daddy, and she clicked her tongue when she told me it was no wonder we clashed with sparks of fire.
Somehow, thirty-seven years into it, this strong wave of love my dad and I feel for each other has worn us both down into smoother, more gracious people.
It was divinely orchestrated that he should be my father, and the blessing of God’s goodness was wound within our relationship, sparks and all.
The goodness of God is wound up in the fierceness of Boy 3, too.
There was a time I thought I was meant to tame him with my love. But I don’t expect that anymore. He is meant to be fierce, and the fights are inevitable eruptions that we will have to learn to love one another through.
Boy 3’s fierce heart was made for God, by God, and to God. And this is an important truth to remember when you face a six year-old with eyes burning and fists flying.
He is born to do things that would scare off a person who did not love the thrill of a fight. He is a dragon-slayer, a gospel warrior, and an adventurer.
My own destiny has been woven into God’s sovereign placement and design of my son.
Some nights when I sit on his bed and rub his back I wonder how many strange lands he will boldly carry the love of Christ into. I imagine the mountains he will conquer with his courage and resilience. I see him standing in the midst of storms, sure-footed and unafraid.
When the fighting begins, I remind myself that when he has gone to conquer the world someday I will long for him to face me with angry fire all day and then crawl in my bed and snore gently beside me that night.
On that day I will wish for a chance to hug the tornado, carry the bubbling chemicals, and be bucked off the back of this wild boy God graciously laid in my life.
God has entrusted me with one of his favorite people, and how I mother him will change the world. Boy 3 will carry my love everywhere he goes in life, and it will be a shining glory for God if I love him well.
I was born to be this child’s mama, and that is no small thing.
I will fight so that love will win in the end. Because in the end, the true end, what else will really matter besides that?
|Boy 3: my warrior of love|