It's 6:15 in the morning. I'm wide awake, even though my sons are still peacefully sleeping. Stephan has left to do his morning work out, as is usual, but unlike usual I can't seem to go back to sleep. It started when Noah also woke up when Stephan's alarm went off at 5:45, a time that is unacceptable as the start to my morning. As Stephan was busy getting ready to go, I hopped out of my bed to tuck Noah back into his. His diaper was full to bursting, so I changed him quickly before laying him in bed and telling him to stay in bed until sleep-time was over. He said "yes ma'am", like good little boys do, and hasn't made a peep since.
I tried to go back to bed. Even now, I think to myself that I am wasting a precious hour of rest. But once I was settled back in my bed, an image crossed my mind that unsettled me. I saw with my mind's eye my Noah as a 15-year-old kid. The terrifying part was, in this vision or daydream or whatever you want to call it, teenager Noah was sulking and sassing me as a result of being caught in some sin or another and I had no idea how to respond except to envision him as my sweet, little baby and cry. That brief trip down the road of possibilities set me to praying earnestly. I tearfully prayed that God would grant Stephan and I wisdom, and a lot if it, in times to come when parenting happy, mostly compliant toddlers becomes trying to reason with know-it-all teenagers.
I'm honestly a little afraid. I'm afraid because I was a sneaky, defiant teenager once. I know what it's like. I know the appeal of doing those things that my parent's told me not to. I wanted to do them mostly because they were taboo. My dad or especially my mom telling me not to do something was like highlighting and emphasizing the dangerous fun that could be had. In retrospect, I was just a dumb, stubborn kid wasting my time with temporary pleasures when I could and should have been focusing on things with so much more eternal value. In retrospect, my parents were right and acted out of an astonishingly deep love they had for their baby girl whom they were worried about. I realize that now. I'm sorry now for my snide, sarcastic thoughts and remarks towards my mother. I'm sorry now for my sneaking and disobedience. But I sure wasn't then.
That's what I have to look forward to. My precious babies are going to too quickly be teenagers. Lord willing, they will come to know the redeeming love of Christ Jesus at a very young age and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior all the days of their lives and never fall prey to the temptations of this world and the prince of darkness who wants nothing but to diminish the Kingdom of God on earth. I'm most certainly praying toward that end. But odds are, my boys will be like most other kids, even the Christian ones that grew up in church, and fall into sin more than once. When that happens, I'm praying very hard that God will be with me in those times; to administer wisdom, grace, and love when my humanity wants me to react with anger, disappointment, and a marked lack of grace.
When I became a parent, I discovered a love that is so powerful and compelling, I would do anything to ensure my children's well being. It really opened my eyes to the kind of love God feels for me, His child. He was there in my rebellious times, loving me unconditionally even though I largely ignored him and blatantly disrespected Him with my actions. I hope, with all my heart, that I can do something like that for my sons.