I can still clearly remember the circumstances from the day I quit fighting with my daughter, and decided to fight FOR her. As parents, we need to choose our battles wisely, and sometimes we need to just lay down our arms.
Let me back up some, because many things led up to this day.
My daughter had been making poor choices, and my husband and I were very concerned.
Since she still lived at home, and we basically paid for everything for her, we felt we still had the right to lay down some ground rules for while she was living in our home.
However, she chose to go behind our back and defy those rules. She was sneaky, and if she wanted to do something, she would find a way. When we would find out she had done something against our rules, we would confront her about it.
We were praying the whole time that God would work in her heart, and help her to realize it wasn’t that we wanted her to obey OUR rules. We wanted her to obey God, and do right.
As you can imagine, this was a very stressful time for my husband and I. We could see where the path would take her if she kept going in the same direction.
I’m sure many times we didn’t handle situations right. We parented out of fear, or even anger —anger when she was disrespectful, or openly defiant; anger that stemmed from hurt. Understandable, but not helpful or right to act on.
It came to a head when once again she defied us about a very specific thing we had told her she could NOT do, for very good reasons. She sneakily went behind our backs again and did it despite what we had said. When we found and confronted her, she got defensive and angry.
At that point, I told her that we loved her and wanted her at home with us, but if she wanted to do things her own way it might be better if she just moved out.
It wasn’t a threat — it was more of a wake up call. If you want to keep on this way, we can’t let you stay at home with younger siblings watching. We aren’t going to fund things for you when you are purposefully choosing to go against our rules. You can choose which you want.
Keep in mind that she had no money, no car, no job.
My heart was aching and heavy. All I wanted was to see her turn around and do right. I wanted to have a relationship with her that was built on trust.
Unknown to me, her heart was aching too.
She went to meet with her older sister for some comfort, and was crying and all upset that “Mom is threatening to kick me out of the house…..”
Her older sister has much wisdom, and was aware of what had been going on. I had told her what happened, and she was already thinking that her sister was in the wrong, being disrespectful and defiant, etc.
However, after my older daughter listened to her sister, her eyes were open to what was behind much of this.
She came to me and said, “Mom, I was all prepared to take your side on this. I know how she has been, but I think you need to give in on this issue.”
At this point my older daughter started crying, and said to me:
Mom, she is so broken. She is hurt inside from so many things, and she just wants to give up on everything.
I think you should tell her that you want to just let this go, and remind her that the relationship with her is much more important than this thing you don’t want her to do. Tell her you want to start over in your relationship with her.”
Wow, wise words from my older daughter! Very eye opening to me, to say the least. I was ready to do battle against my daughter. I was up in arms, and going after her not being aware of how wounded she was.
At that point I realized that SHE was not the enemy. The real enemy was the devil who was bringing division, and causing us both to be hurt as we fought each other.
I determined then to start fighting FOR my daughter.
I told the devil that she belonged to God, and he couldn’t have her. I prayed and claimed Scripture over her.
I asked her forgiveness and told her we needed to join together to fight him.
What a difference that made! Did it immediately fix things? No, of course not.
There was a lot of hurt and damage that had to be taken care of. But we began working through it together.
When conflict came up from her very reactive spirit, I would remind myself not to take it personally, but remember who the enemy was, and take it to God.
I did a lot of praying during those hard days, and prayed lots of Scripture over my daughter, claiming God’s promises to work in her heart.
Healing was gradual, but I’m happy to say we now have a great relationship. She calls me for advice, tells me how much she loves me, etc. She often says how thankful she is for how my husband & I taught and trained her, and always loved her.
Perhaps you are dealing with a situation fraught with conflict with one of your kids. I encourage you not to take it personally, but to recognize it as a spiritual battle, and determine to start fighting FOR your kids against the enemy. Put on the armor of God and go to prayer for your child!
Thank you Beth! I love the idea of asking God to show us our child’s heart during confrontation! Wow, so glad you shared that.
Kathie, What a great post! I remember when my daughter was a teenager, we would have heated confrontations. One day I was listening to Elisabeth Elliot on the radio and she described a similar situation with her daughter. Then she said something that forever changed my relationship with my daughter, and later my son. She would pray during the confrontation, “Lord, show me her heart…” such a simple prayer, but so effective. The Lord was so faithful to help me reframe the situation, step back, and listen to His still small voice. The fruit of the Spirit would flow, and we would get through it with much more grace. Many blessings to you!