I'm back, friends!
I had an incredible week with the Lord. I wanted to blog through my fast so that I wouldn't forget any details, but I stayed committed to my word and settled for writing in a paper journal. I went into the week with five burdens. The first night, I opened in prayer and laid out the cries of my heart, asking God to direct my time. Interestingly enough, I ended up spending all of my time on two areas, trusting God to take care of the other three!
There is too much to share in one night, but I want to start with LJ.
In the last couple of months we have really struggled in parenting LJ and I went to the Lord with great expectation. I was desperate for revelation.
Out of the blue (well before our trip to Colorado), LJ started acting up at school. Every week were getting consistent reports. He was extremely defiant with his teachers and was spending a lot of time outside his classroom. Ben and I were shocked because LJ is never defiant with us (no exaggeration).
When we left for Colorado, LJ was staying with our best friends. He did great, but fell right in sync with his friends and started calling his Aunt Meme, "Mom". My heart wept. I wasn't upset on a personal level, I was broken over the fact that even after a year of living with us, he still harbored so much insecurity.
A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work and could tell that LJ was battling inside. I got down on my knees, cupped his face in my hands, and said, "Buddy...do you know that Mama will always come home to you? Do you know that I am your Mom forever?" Tears streamed down his face and we sobbed, silently, together. I held him tight for a long time and smothered him with kisses.
I had been praying about what to do, with no definitive answers. One night, Ben and I were laying in bed and Ben poured out his heart to me and shared what God was doing in his prayer time. It was one of those conversations that left me in awe of God's goodness in bringing me such a good man. We decided that night to change our parenting approach. At the crux of it, we understood that our boys were different, but in times of challenge, we seemed to slip into our experiences - using tools that worked for Ty.
But, they weren't working for LJ...
We are big on the love languages theory by Dr. Gary Chapman. LJ's love language is, unmistakably, touch. A close second is words of affirmation.
Ben led our decision to flip our discipline style and smother LJ in love. Oozing, over the top, genuine, heart-on-our-sleeves, love. It's not that we weren't loving before, but we made a plan to be more intentional.
On my first night with the Lord, I prayed for creative solutions in reaching LJ. The more I prayed, in the weeks leading up to my fast, the stronger I felt that I was the missing piece to LJ's full security. Our relationship has grown so much over the last several months, but there is still a disjointed link...I can feel it at the gut level. I represent failure in his life. Every mother, before me, failed him.
After a wonderful night in prayer, I woke up with a song on my heart...encouraged that my time of fasting was feeding my soul. I dropped the boys off at preschool and on my way out a woman asked if I had a minute to talk. I knew her as the grandmother to one of the girls in my boys' class. I had told her some pieces of our story at one of the school parties and found that her and her husband had fostered many kids over the years.
I must have told her that LJ is still struggling with insecurity and bonding to me. She said she had been thinking about it a lot and invited us out to her horse farm. She went on to explain how healing horseback riding can be for children and talked about the significance of having me walk alongside the horse as LJ's spotter. I was mesmerized listening to her talk about the trust and companionship that is created between the horse, child, and spotter. We agreed to get together as soon as the cold weather breaks.
I walked to my car with tears in my eyes, thanking God for his faithfulness. The night before, I prayed for a creative solution to help heal the wounds in LJ's heart, and God delivered. I don't believe for a minute that the connection with this woman was coincidence.
During night two, I felt compelled to continue praying for LJ. I spent hours reading my Bible and crying out to God. Half way through, the Holy Spirit led me to the boys bedroom. I spent time on each bed, laying hands on my sweet boys, covering them in protection and peace. I prayed, specific, prayers for each one and focused time on the gifts and talents I see in them, asking God to grow them in Truth. I prayed for their friendships and wives and callings in life.
I went to bed with an ultimate high. We have laid our hands on our kids and prayed for them before...but never like this. Never when they were sleeping, never with such fervor.
The rest of my week didn't disappoint. God met me. Every day. I have a fire burning in my belly. My outlook is fresh, my strength renewed.
And I fell madly in love with my kids. I have always loved them, but this is different. God allowed me a peak at his heart for my family and my heart nearly burst at the discovery.
My sacrifice of time was more fruitful than I could have imagined.
I look forward to sharing more in the weeks to come.