Pick your battles…Parenting Autumn

IMG_217943346666549    You have the ability to choose. I think often times we lose focus on the power of simplicity because if our lives are not forced focus, in crisis mode, hectic hellish or nonstop un-normal we fight to right our ways our way. Discern what matters God has placed within your life to deal with. Remember anything He gives us He also equips us. There are difficulties we must face, know that we do not face them alone. So often, we place burdens on ourselves that are His and we blame Him for the most. We carry that ice chip on our shoulders, in our words and we embed it in our hearts. God loves and He disciplines those He loves. He is not going to allow us to outdo Him. Honestly, there is no way we can.

My Autumn is 13 years old, an awesome daughter. She is my only daughter. #motherhood As her mother, I think I mess up a lot. I think I have to watch her more so because I fear for her. I think she could have had a mother that has more expertise in all things. I think she could have had a better mother—a mother who knows how to raise daughters. (I have three sons.) I do not allow her any social media time, her friends are few and she starts high school next year. Oh, and her figure, her shape is coming in already (just like mine at her age) and she is a beauty and so smart. Therefore, I am frightened in so many different areas of her life because I am her mother. Am I too stifling? Do I suffocate her? Am I making her feel she is loved and loving? How is her self-esteem? What are boys saying to her in that school? What are men saying to her? Then again, what are girls saying to her? Do we talk enough? Am I doing right by her? Has my singleness all these years braced her or harmed her for her future relationships? Big sigh.

When I get this way, which is not often but often enough. I immediately go into a tailspin of fear after hearing about the 12-year-old girl who committed suicide on FB. This cuts my heart up in so many ways. My soul is silenced when my friend tells me. My heart aches. She sends me the link of the little girls’ suicide. I refuse to open it up.

At times when I worry and Autumn is home, I run in her room and jump in her bed with her. I snuggle up with her while she reads her book. I make her take out her ear buds and we talk. Earlier this week, she complains but is laughing, “Momma, why?! It is hot. Stop.” She says. I smile and kiss her cheek and say, “Well, I’m not. My feet are cold. Warm me up” Her: “Your feet are always cold.” Me: “Let me search your phone to see what I can see. What’s your code?” She tells me and goes back to reading her book. While perusing through her phone, I find this text: Her and her friend are discussing their hair issues:

India (is a great friend to her and has long straight hair): “Use the ECO gel on your hair.” Autumn: “I did and my hair came out so short. I did not like it. My Mom used it and her hair looked great! But she used oil on hers and I did not. I am going to use oil and the ECO gel tonight.” My eyes water, I turn to her and smile, “You don’t ever tell me my hair looks great. You just say good or act like I am getting on your nerves. You love me!” Autumn, laughs so.

She has an awesome laugh too. Her natural hairstyle, her choice since she was 9 years old. Our hair textures are different but she has embraced her hair with such creativity and uniqueness it baffles me. Her self-strength is so powerful. What an amazing mirror I have. {An excerpt from one of my original poems: “I see Autumn leaves in the coldest of winter.”~M.} She is rooted well. I am so humbled by God’s love for me.

Therefore, I am going to push aside the “what if” and “if I just had” and also the “but God” and pick my battles, the winnable ones— the God has equipped me battles. I love being her mother more than the fear. Parenting costs so much yet the rewards are priceless and non-refundable. It is impossible to do everything right, I know that but the easiest part is when we do our best for them. We do not argue about social media. It is just an “is” in my home. We have discussed the possibility of Snap chat when she turns 14. So, I am on a journey to learn all I can about that before her next birthday in order to give the right answer to her, yes or no with an explanation of my choice.

I grieve for our children. I love our children; it truly takes a village. Suicide is preventable. Autumn and I discuss the neglected and abused children, teens, her peer group. I smile because her anger, her fight is just as strong as mine. Children, Adolescents have my heart they always will. We all are accountable to all we are connected. Please see the hope in that statement, there is no condemnation nor judgment. None, zilch. We must find ways that show our children they are loved without sacrificing our moral upbringing, without them suffering the residuals of this mean, mean world.

I think if we take a firm and mindful stance to focus on the winnable– our aspirations, hopes and dreams we have no recourse but to line up with what God has purposed for our lives. #TrustHim In all we do there has to be a peace that remains. I am learning this scripture holds so much direction and guiding, Philippians 4:6-8:”Do not be anxious about anything but in everything…”

Discern and pick your battles in every aspect of your life. God has planned for you to win the war. Growing up I did not like kids, did not want to be a mother. If I married, I wanted one child that was it. I remember telling my father I was never going to marry. He laughed along with giving awesome advice. (I will share that conversation later.)  God laughed too! I have four children, married once and divorced. I have been single longer than I was married. I am a grandmother! I am a child advocate, graduate student of Counseling and I teach Sunday School. Oh, God laughed big!! Remain focused on where He has you. Be God-confident!

My heart is all over the place… I hope this read makes sense. It all circles back.

My heart–Intimately worded,

A. Michelle!

 

 

Crossroads, where I am.

Phewwy. Yuck. I do not enjoy being here at the moment, in this space. At the Crossroads. At the Crossroads, no, no, no. New Crossroads, a little better for a title I think as I am writing the posted blog. If we pause and truly think about it we all are at a crossroads. We each have to make daily decisions that will impact our tomorrows or with some personal duress, someone else’s. As we try to live in the moment we are also planning, processing, progressing for tomorrow. I know God is intentional. I know that anything we go through and will go through has not taken Him by surprise. Oh, but can I have a physical, touch it, know it plan, Jesus??! Oh, then the scripture of Faith is dropped into my hearing, my spirit.
My heartbeat in these new crossroads has a rhythmically odd thumpty-thump-oh-my-pause pace. I am uncomfortable in this season of my life. I don’t quite understand it. I am dumbfounded and unable to encourage others. Daily, I would send affirmations via personal email and Facebook to friends and family. My give back from God; a morning aspiration for the past five years. It would seem after all I have done, been through and all that I have tried and am trying to do I should be able to do what I want, get what I want without question. Without this unbelievable stretch of stillness in time. “Be still and Know”….and still I whine, stomp my foot and pull at His shirttail “But God, do you hear me?”
I am advised to “sit” and hear God. Listen to Him. Pray for the next right move. Yet, I assure you I’ve always tried my best to do that. After twenty-five years of growing up in the country—where we had to travel to another city or town for groceries; where lights and the television were shut off during a storm; where a whooping came like the summer rain, unexpected—sitting still, listening to God is what I would know best.
I don’t say this to those who encourage me because I would come off sarcastically inept and insensitive. “Have any of my decisions been made without Him?” Whether I was obedient or not, I still made the decision with God in my mind. I did what I wanted knowing God would reprimand me one way or the other. As faithful as He is this free will He gives is the ultimate Aha. Conscious, that Holy Spirit “uh-uh” isn’t funny.
I have been given the greatest of opportunities: to be home. I take the Little Ones to school. I’m home when the Little Ones get home from school. I am able to write for hours at a time with no interruptions. I am able to help with homework. I am able to do my assigned homework and give my all instead of rushing to complete a 6 page essay on a one hour lunch break. (Grad student. The geekiest fun is a pressured deadline.) I have time to study and enjoy my Bible lessons in order to teach Sunday School. I have Time. Time to fulfill the dreams and opportunities I have always wanted without stress.
The children are great successes in school. My GPA would make you smile and say proudly, “Well, will you look-a-here.” Yet, here I am stressing, not sleeping, worrying, and crying. I have Time! And I am the most frustrated organized, got-to-have-a-reason-right now, obedient, hopeful, why-me-Lord woman in all the Earth. (That’s my personal opinion.) Oh, I forgot educated. Big sigh.
My Life! My own individualized because God loves me scratch pad has just been erased. I can’t see. I don’t know! If I knew I could do. I can plan. I can “Michelle” my way. Oh, how I want to “Michelle” my way through this. Oh well. God knows best. He does. I believe that. I know that. I have witnessed it over and over again. New career. New Pastor. New Crossroads, that’s where I am….on the other side of God knows best.

Walking by Faith trying to See around.

Me,

A. Michelle.