God Speaks... and sometimes what He says hurts

As many mistakes as I've made as a parent, I've always felt good knowing that since the moment our son was born I have been right here. Not just physically, but in every single awestruck way. 

For some reason it has been my passion that I would not miss one bit of this time I have with Ezekiel.  

I've always felt that I will get back my days of freedom to run around, fulfill other dreams, travel, and career for myself... 
but this is my one little guy. 
This is my once in a lifetime chance with him. 

As flawed as I can be at the many facets of parenting, I can say surely that have given Motherhood everything I've got.

That's what makes this next part so hard.

This weekend, my son and I set out intentionally to take his photograph for the first time in over six months.  

Yesterday morning, Mothers' Day, I downloaded the photos off my camera. 

As I went through each picture I learned a lot about my son, myself, how I've been approaching our relationship and even how I've been spending my time lately. 

The lesson stung.

The last time I took Zeek's photos, just six months ago, I knew him through and through. In each photo I recognized his every look, smirk, twinkle, gaze... nothing was unfamiliar or new to me. 

So when I looked at the photographs I took this weekend and I didn't fully recognize the little boy in those pictures, my heart ached. 

It hurt that I was seeing him, who is right in front of me everyday, a little better through his still frames.

It hurt most of all to be enlightened through some of the looks on his face, the revealing in his eyes, to some of the ways I've been letting him down lately.

I reflected back on our session, recalling some of my harsh words toward him;

"you can squat down like a big boy or you can sit like a baby, whatever you're more comfortable with... This is an empty farm yard, Zeek. No one lives here. There are no animals left to worry about!...I don't know why you can't just stand behind that door and peek out? COME ON. put your arms down, that looks silly... you're face looks like this right now, do you really think that's going to make a good photograph?..."

Yes, I am crying and humiliated to be writing this. 

Yes, I hate myself for putting stupid things before my son, like photographs, and what I want, and how I want it. 

I'm so grateful to God for using these pictures and the early Mothers' Day morning hours to shed light on the direction my Motherhood and relationship with my son was headed.

I'm saddened but grateful to have seen this weekend:

that as independent, smart, and sure as he's becoming, 
he's still very young and has a lot of growing up to do,

that as scared and unsure as I am about my abilities to parent such a child, 
I'm still his one and only Mom,

that although I experience and respond to his million questions,
 he is deep and full with another set of secret questions,
questions that aren't being asked out loud.

These hidden questions are about himself.

Like, is he worthy?

Is he strong?

Is he good enough?

Can he measure up?

Is he okay?

And I realized that I have not been answering these special questions very well -with my high expectations, sarcasm and the manipulation of my reverse psychology.

I assumed he KNEW how incredible he is. He acts like he knows. 

I'd worn out of better ideas and thrown in the towel, and I didn't even know it. 
I'd decided that a boy who could have this kind of attitude, this lip, this kind of ungrateful gumption needed a heavy parent. 
I started sternly laying down the law, saying yes or no, period. 
I stopped listening to his debates and arguments, and reverted to "because I said so" and "that is that."

I was acting out of fear that I would otherwise be failing him to let him stomp about, an only child, making all the decisions for himself, fighting tooth and nail for every right he has and doesn't have. 

I thought he would never grow up to be a good man if someone didn't push him away from his toggling between bully and princess (please hold the hate mail- I know that's ignorant -I'm just being honest)

On Mother's Day Sunday, when I realized I didn't know my fast growing son in my latest photographs of him, I knew God was giving me a heads-up. It knew that it was time to make some changes. 
So, I put down the armor, hard parenting, tough love, and pushing, and I showed up for the day just being his loving Mom, again. Period. 

The gifts that followed filled my Mothers Day with light, life, tears of joy, gentleness, kindness, peace... starting to sound familiar?

As I spent time with him, really looking into him and tending to him, I watched the little glimpses of awesome treasure in my son's character slowly peek out as he began to trust me with himself more and more.

I would have never thought that I could put on a superficial parent-front with him, during which time I daily remembered my gratitude for him but began to completely miss the boat on the moment to moment becoming of the boy, himself. 

With God's Grace, my son's resilience, and this new lesson in my pocket, I am moving forward to rebuild this relationship between he and I. To take back the perspective that there is a little person happening here right before my eyes. I pray that I will further understand that just watching and pushing isn't going to be enough. 

I need to love, look and see

This is the only time we will be together this way.
God, please do not let me lose sight!


  1. Beautifully written, Lora. And from one mom to another, your son is beautiful. I love his eyes. Many blessings!

  2. Lora,
    Your little man is gorgeous! Just look at those eyes. I so appreciate your tender heart in this post, my friend. Oh, yes, I've been there. But you know what? The way you have observed yourself and Zeek, and let your pain be a compass to change directions--this is something so valuable...something that will probably be needed more than once in this thing called the parenting. I admire the way you have listened to the voice of Truth and not let condemnation cause you to give up. This is the bravery of a mother. I am so proud of you for it. Love to you.

  3. Beautiful! You know we have all been there and all need to examine our own words, actions, reactions. (Oh, and the pictures are awesome!)

  4. this hit home for me. my oldest is 8, and it seems like the pressure to "perform" up to our "standards" is just too much for him. he is slowly receding into his shell. thanks you for sharing your wake up call with us, even though it was painful. i don't know how to change things, but small glimpses are sometimes enough to make big changes. blessings to you this multitude monday.

  5. beautiful. both the words and pictures-beautiful in their honesty and love.

  6. I have been here in this place, I see myself thru this writing....so important to stay connected and not by what we think parenting should look like but more of what he needs in us to grow into a man who loves the Lord and feels big in that, that comes from a Momma in tune...way to go Momma! And, yes it does hurt to come to this realization, it hurts so BAD! God's mercies are new and freeing, thank you Lord for the grace He gives...

  7. Thank you for your honesty. I found myself on Sunday evening at church on Mother's Day in tears. Tears because I was reminded that it is Jesus in me that loves my kids well. And that even though I mess up, there is grace and redemption. This was a really beautiful post.
    I am linking up and although it's a different topic it still comes from my heart and where God is speaking to me.

  8. It amazes me how someone hundreds of miles away is experiencing the same battles. Sun. night I myself (and my husband) made a decsion to show our daughter more LOVE than "defensive parenting". Lora, check out Gary Smalley's Homes of Honor" on dvd conference. I KNOW you would like it...

  9. It seems that I go through this inner battle every day. As I was reading your words I wanted to give you a hug and say this is normal. It will happen over and over again. We always feel we are failing them in some area of our parenting. It requires balance. Our children do need to know the love of discipline, but they also need our light-hearted, I make mistakes too side also.

    Thank you for linking up to Women of Noble Character. This is a beautiful post that really shows growth in becoming what God wants. Blessings!

  10. Your thoughts on Motherhood and on your son were lovely. Yes, we all feel at times that we that we are not doing as well as we could. I have 6 married children and 30 grandchildren and I have learned many lessons and the best one is just keep loving them and telling them so every day. Pick the moments and enjoy the moments.
    Loved the pictures of your son they were sweet.
    Blessings to you!

  11. Love this one today. I have done the same things to my own children and it makes me cry to think about now. They need us to love them so much. They need us to know them, to care about them to teach them. They need us.

  12. Stopping by from Heart's Desire. Lovely post, we have all been there and thankfully children are so forgiving.

  13. Hi Lora, I think we've all been there at one time and another and as Anna-Marie said "children are so forgiving." You've been blessed with a beautiful son who loves you and you've also been blessed with a desire to follow the will of God. To hear his voice and make the changes necessary. We all need to listen to God on how we are to raise His precious children!

    I stopped by from Lynda's Women of Noble Character link up.


Your kind words are a blessing to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your heart.