Monday, January 5

The "JOY" in today

Oh boy, if I say that this weekend was completely awful, I am not making an understatement. If I could have run away yesterday, I surely would have. If I am being honest here, I will say that I waited until Saturday night to complete my lesson plans for Sunday school yesterday. I haven't spent as much time preparing and praying, like I had intended to, when taking on this commitment to the church.

Skaterboy has been staying up way too late lately, texting this girl he likes until all hours, and doing things he really shouldn't be doing. I've been lazy, and over their 2 week school break, I have selfishly been doing the things I wanted to do, instead of paying much attention to him. Thus the whole rebellious attitude, and heir of entitlement that he feels is justified.

Yesterday morning, we all woke up for church, except Skaterboy, who was complaining (once again) that he didn't feel good, and didn't want to go to church. We continually prompted and persuaded (yelled) at him to get out of bed, to no avail. He continued to mouth off, and at one point told me to go to H... Yes, very nice, don't you think? Then (for the 3rd time) this month, he said he was leaving. Where he thought he was going to go, I am unsure, but in the 3 weeks he has been 16, he has been absolutely unbearable. Worst attitude and language I have heard in his whole life. I don't know if when he turned 16 he felt he was entitled to act and talk like an adult (to which I must add, that on a small occasional basis, these words to get said in our home, by Scott and I in the heat of anger.... to which I am not at all proud). At any rate, they are not words that are heard every day, or every month even, and they most definitely come out of my husband's mouth more than they come out of mine.

So, being that we were almost late for Church and I had to teach class, we left without him. I was so agitated in the van on the way to church, that I snapped at my husband, who retaliated, by snapping back. Boy oh boy, wasn't Satan happy. When we got to church, my husband had tears in his eyes, and I silently walked into my Sunday school class, in which two of my own children (who were also in the van) are my students. How do you go from screaming, yelling mom 2 minutes before to sweet and happy teacher once inside? I can't answer that question, but I did it. After Sunday school, Scott and I, with our anger subsided, sat through the church service happily, just like one happy little family. The sermon yesterday was all about salvation, and what true salvation really means, and how it changes us, and how some people claim that they have salvation, but really don't. So I got to thinking, am I really saved? Well, yes, my answer was yes, I do believe that I am truly saved, with all my flaws and everything. I do believe that Scott is also saved, with all his flaws and everything. Now I got to thinking about our 16 year old, who was baptized 2 years ago, and I wondered whether he was saved or not. My answer reflected what I had felt in my heart for a long time, but had not allowed myself to accept. I didn't think he really was. Was it my fault? What was I doing wrong? Well, a lot of things. You see, I have been told by my parents that I am a very strict parent, so I in turn thought that I was indeed a very strict parent. I don't let my kids run around outside without supervision; I don't let them go every place they want, and with friends we don't know well. We have rules at home (to which I am not always consistent) but there are rules, and they get disciplined if they need it. So all in all, I thought I was a strict parent. Maybe even too strict, at times.

After church, I started talking to our minister about our problems with Skaterboy that morning, and my concerns about his salvation, and well pretty much everything I typed above, except for the swearing parts... He doesn't need to know that. Anyway, he said that he thought we were not strict enough with our children. This took me by surprise, because I thought we were. Then he said something profound. This may not be his exact words, but this is what I got out of what he said. Something I had not thought of. We have been putting so many restrictions on our kids regarding their outside involvement, that we have completely forgotten about limiting the things they are doing inside our home. Our family unit was being destroyed piece by piece, mainly by our teenager. Now, it's easy to place all of the blame on him, but that would not be truthful. Most of it is my fault. It's hard to admit, but it's true. Our minister said that it's easy for people to come to church every Sunday and present themselves as the "perfect happy family" when in fact on the inside they are dying inside with anger, hate, and unforgiveness. Boy oh boy, when God wants the truth revealed, he isn't always sweet about it. Then our minister prayed with Scott and I that we could find peace in this time of turmoil, and that he would reveal a better way for us.

I have to say it helped. When we got home from church, it got really ugly (which I knew it would) with Skaterboy. He was still laying in bed when we got home, and first of all, we took his cell phone to which he didn't give to us until after I told him that it didn't matter if he gave it to us because we would simply suspend his line (if I told you why we took his cell phone, you would be completely and utterly shocked, as I was) and told him that we would be limiting his use to his Xbox, and his laptop. Then he came unglued, and shouted at me that because he bought the Xbox himself, that it was against the law for me to take it, that it was stealing. Honestly, I didn't know the answer to that, although I suspected he was wrong. So I called the sheriff's dept. and asked them. Skaterboy was shocked that I actually called, he didn't believe me that I would. The deputy told me that I had every right to take away anything that belonged to him, and went as far as to say that if I wanted to throw the Xbox against the wall and smash it, as long as I didn't hit him with it, that I was perfectly just in doing so. He also said that I could prevent him from getting his driver's license, and after he has his license, that I can call the secretary of state and have it revoked, if he decides he won't obey our rules. When everything that the deputy said was revealed to Skaterboy, he changed his tune, and decided to listen to what we had to say.

The intention was not to take away everything he owned, but to place limits on everything, not only for him, but for the whole family, myself included. We are all very distracted by electronic devices in our home. The TV, video game systems, the laptop, cell phones, etc. Our family unit is crumbling. We all need structure. Consistent structure.

This morning we all sat down and created agreed upon time limits for everyone regarding the electronic toys in our home. It's been working so far, and we have managed to spend a lot more time together doing stuff, then in the past. It's going to be tough to be consistent. I knew this going into it, but I trust that this is God's plan, so I will work hard to try to do my part. Everyone is now planning on a board game to play after dinner. Of course I am recording John and Kate plus 8 on the DVR. I will watch it later, after the kids are in bed.

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