The tire blew out and I was headed for the guard rail. I was taking the corner at 120mph and despite my effort to over correct my steering, I was doomed. I saw the ocean waves crashing below and felt the steering wheel shake uncontrollably and the impact of the car exploding...then the familiar three octave alarm and the GAME OVER alert flashed across the screen. Whew...what an adrenaline rush. Maybe that's the draw of video games, 100% risk in a 100% risk-free environment.
Yesterday was one of those "cantilevered over a precipice" days for me. I remember 11 years ago when we bought home our first born child, we were so in love and so overwhelmed all wrapped up in one. I would pull crazy sleep shifts trying to stay on top of her feedings and diaper changes. It was physically draining and a day when I would sleep through the night seemed like a fantasy. To have those days back knowing what I know now, would be a dream. Never did I anticipate that entering the tween/teen years would leave me longing for formula canisters and the diaper genie. (hmmm...ok, maybe not the hassle of changing the diaper genie...)
Social media, the Internet, technology, secular music, pop stars...they all have such appeal for our kids. My oldest is enamored by all things media related. She's taking risks and making sneaky decisions that terrify me. That word seems to be one I use regularly in conversations that involve her. The term World Wide Web conjures up a vision of a giant spider web with tons of insects wrapped beyond recognition in its shimmering strands.
This week I was given the chance to start unravelling it's hold on her. But what happens when we are wrapped in anything too tight for too long, is that we lose feeling in our body. Our feet fall asleep when our shoes are tied too tight and our fingers lose sensation when we apply a band aid too tight. We lose feeling and become numb after a while and we sometimes forget what it feels like to have feeling in those areas leaving us oblivious to our own restriction.
My kiddo was bound too tightly to a social media account and I had no idea. I knew she was drifting a bit from the family and she was spending lots of time in her room with the door closed, but every time I would open the door or ask her to do something she got more and more annoyed. I wrote some of it off as her changing hormones, and felt good about the filters I had put on the family laptop and our decision to not get her a phone. I, however, had not taken precautions with my electronic tablet or with her girlfriends phone and she slipped into the web under my radar.
I made the discovery when she failed to properly delete her history on my Kindle Fire and being the night owl that I am, I uncovered it about 1am. How ironic that I was once again pulling an all-nighter, but this time I was not caring for my infants physical needs, I was pouring over every aspect of my tweens emotional, spiritual and mental needs. After scrutinizing and ramping up every area of our home Wi-Fi network accessibility, each of our devices and every post, email and website she had visited over the past two months, at 6am her Dad and I were ready to confront her. We pressed on through her initial denial, and finally she came clean. Her tears flowed like a broken dam and I saw my sweet daughter begin to imerge again. I felt my heart connect with hers and I assured her that our love for her has no conditions, but did come accompanied with some severe punishments. We prayed with her and listened, and as I dropped each of my kids at school a few hours later, I was drained. I had nothing left to give.
Enter my Wednesday afternoon small group. Is God's timing perfect every time, or what? He blows me away. I am blessed to facilitate...not lead....they lead me...a group of ladies each week who brighten my life. We recently began a new study entitled "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. It challenges us to identify why we come "unglued" in moments of everyday stress and how to work towards an attitude of Christ by seeking His face before losing it...it's a process of imperfect progress. Well after the overnight I had just been through, there was no example I could offer on how to remain "GLUED" together. Remember the out of control race car? That was me, but I held it together and did my best to stay present.
Finally when we began to talk about being "chiseled" I couldn't stand it another minute. I let it all out. I spilled my heart like an avalanche on this group of dear ladies. I cried and talked and cried and talked and they didn't run away, they didn't judge me, and I didn't for a second worry that what I was saying would be fodder for them to gossip about my parenting or my kiddo or my perceived parenting failures. Some of them even cried with me! They offered me love and reassurance and they gave me courage when I didn't have any left. Then they did the most beautiful thing, I get teary thinking about it, they put me in the center of a circle and they all put their hands on my shoulders or my arms or my back and they prayed for me. They prayed that I not be discouraged, that I press on to bond even deeper with my daughter, they prayed for my mental health, for my physical health and for my influence with her and her peers.
It was a risk to spill my heart to them, but the benefit of having ladies in my life who know me is so much greater. To have ladies who would rather pray with you than talk about you is so uplifting. I am so blessed by these women. Our study about why we come "unglued" is going to leave us all glued together in ways we never could have anticipated. I pray you have women in your life today who are sticking by your side, they are treasures. I love you UNGLUED girls!