I hear her voice quivering as she says the words over the phone, “Can I come home please?” Five little words that say so much. Together they are more than a question, they are a combination of heartbreaking statements. Statements like “I don’t want to be here, I am so sad, and I miss you.”
When I hear her say them I am instantly reminded of another phone call many years ago during a time when she was a little girl, and I as her mother was NOT winning awards for “World’s Greatest Mom”.
She had called me from a sleepover at our friend’s house and asked, “Can I come home please?” Prior to her going to this sleepover we had a talk were I informed her that if she went I was not going to come and get her in the middle of the night because it was a 45 minute drive.
She was spending the night at my friend’s house with her and her daughter, and she was notorious for going and then when it came time to sleep she would call and want me to come pick her up. (Sound familiar to any moms out there?) When that time came, and she did in fact call and ask me through her tears those five little words, I responded in a way that still hurts me to think about today.
Instead of being a loving, compassionate mommy and hearing what my sweet little girl was really saying, I turned into this stern, harsh mother that decided to use this moment as a learning lesson. I told her in my mean mommy voice that I was not going to come and get her, that I already made that clear before she decided to go, and that she needed to stop crying and go to bed. Ugh, how I hate this memory, I sooo wish I could press the undo button and receive a do over.
I know now that it wasn’t the right response. I know that I should have went and picked up my homesick little girl. I may have then chosen to wait awhile before I let her try a sleep over again, but I still should have gone and picked her up when she called crying, asking if she could come home.
And here we are again, over ten years later, she is asking me the same question, the one I messed up on all those years ago. This time she is not 45 minutes away at our friend’s house. She is 17 hours away at college. But the same underlying heartbreaking statements are true. . . I don’t want to be here, I am so sad, and I miss you.
I feel an intensity of emotions as memories of the past and regrets flood the surface. I don’t want to make the same mistake again, and leave my daughter feeling alone and let down by her mother. My urge is to rescue her, to do the exact opposite of what I did when she was a little girl. I know from the past if I mess up I don’t get to undo it and this fear keeps screaming at me, pressing me to respond.
But I can’t help but notice this feeling way down deep inside, deeper then my fear and pain, deeper then my regrets from the past. It’s a voice and it’s whispering to me, “Be still and know that I am God”. I do my best to calm the waves of emotions that are crashing down on me, to push past the fear of messing up again, and to sit and seek wisdom from God.
He shows me the answer in a picture of a pendulum, and He narrates to me the story of how the pendulum’s tendency is to move from one extreme to the next, eventually finding it’s place of rest in the middle. I am that pendulum.
My hurt and regret from the past tell me that the choice of leaving her there is not the right choice, and that I must swing to the other side and bring her home as soon as possible. But I feel the Lord tell me that those two are not the only options. He reveals to me what it looks like in the middle and encourages me to take rest there.
I don’t know why it’s our human tendency when we experience pain and regret to want to move in the complete opposite direction. The Lord has been teaching me that just because it is the opposite doesn’t mean that it is a good choice either. My prayer is that if you find yourself in a similar position, and you feel triggered to make a quick response in the opposite direction based on past hurts and regret, I challenge you to instead sit and seek God’s wisdom first. He is faithful to provide, and with His knowledge hopefully you will experience fewer things you wish you could undo.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5.
This post is the fourth post in a series of five posts on parenting. Be sure to come back for the final post, and hear if these parenting tips paid off 🙂
Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: [btn text=”Facebook” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://www.facebook.com/sevenswansministries.org?pnref=lhc”] – [btn text=”Twitter” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://twitter.com/sevenswansmins”] – [btn text=”Pintrist” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://www.pinterest.com/sevenswansmins/”] – [btn text=”Website” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://sevenswansministries.org”]