I sat next to him while he drove.
Wise teen-man-boy-something-awesome guy that emerges daily anew.
Discussing priorities with him. You know, the ones where you try hard to create life balance out of the bazillion things you want/have/need to do?
And I took a risk. Might seem small here, sure does after the fact.
Seemed a LOT risky at the time.
I asked him, “What do you think my priorities are?”
Inside, my heart worried, Are they right? Does he know how much I love God? Does my life reflect that? Does he think the ministry is more important to him than he is?…
He listed them all – God, kids, Dad, ministry.
I asked him, “What do you think is the most important thing to me?”
He said, “God. It’s everything to you.”
Oh good. I think.
“Do you feel like you are a priority to me?” now the pulse quickens.
“Oh, yeah. Of course. You always make time for me. I feel like I’m important to you.”
Deep breath. THIS would be the tough one…
“Do you think you’re more important to me than the ministry?” breath held… waiting…
“Yeah. I think so.”
Ever since my kids were little, I’d ask them questions like these now and again.
Sometimes, I didn’t like the answers. Not because of them, but because of being disappointed with myself.
Who hasn’t ever had a good case of mom-guilt?
But as much as the answers weren’t always what I hoped, I was thankful for the opportunity to apologize to my kids, and ask them what I could do that would make things better. In doing that, I got to know their love languages, become a better mom by focusing on the right things, and build relationship with my people.
This type of acceptance also made me a safer place to come when real struggles occur. (don’t get me wrong, I’m far from the perfect parent – I’ve said/done lots of things that have made me not-so-safe – but even with that, our relationships are closer than they would be if I didn’t let my kids speak truth into my life.
I’ve had to walk the fine line of respect with them, too. They had to learn that not everyone can handle the truth, and you shouldn’t offer up advice unless asked for it.
I also know that when I treat them with respect, they respond to me with less defensiveness.
That works with most people, by the way – but not for all of them. Some people’s issues are just that – their issues.
As in, you could be the most succulent peach on earth, but there are always people who are allergic to peaches. You could be the most respectful and loving person on earth, but there will always be people who reject you. That says more about them than it does about you – especially when you love and respect well anyway.
With kids, the toughest part seems to be making that transition between ages 10-13 where they want to be respected.
I’m thankful for God’s guidance on these things. I’m thankful for the frank discussions I can have with our kids about sex, drugs, school, etc. I’m thankful they share what’s really going on in their world.
If you are a parent, realize the most important thing you can do for your kids (and your marriage) is spend time with God daily, reading His Word, then doing your best to obey it.
This small daily activity will change everything.
What about you? How has spending time with Him daily changed your relationships? What gets in the way of being consistent?
Can’t wait to hear!
Love to you,
Oh, and if you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU to join us on this journey. The road is long and hard, and often paved with tears, but worth traveling – and you’re not alone.
You can get marriage TIPS! articles, a free copy of my eBook, 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband, and other marriage info here. I’ll be taking down the 101 Ways eBook in the next week or so and putting up a new eBook, so grab it while you can. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one TIPS! article a week, plus a blog post or two here and there.
If you are waiting for the details on Boot Camp, know they are coming… still working out the bugs! LOL! Thank you for your patience! SO SO Sorry for the delay!