she loves me, she loves me not

It's another one of those nights. We had such a good weekend. She stayed home from school and we even had such a good day yesterday. We were both laid back, humor was flying, there were frequent hugs and "I love you's" (as is typical in this house). Tonight... not so much. My teenager needs some chicken soup for her soul. So do I. So does anyone living in this house that was within 100 feet of the battle zone. I knew it was getting bad when I saw my little ones putting on their flack jackets and kevlar helmets, turning the dining room table on its side to use for shelter and screaming "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!!!". lol

My poor mother!!! I had the same sassy mouth that Courtney does. As a matter of fact I STILL have the natural tendency to have the same sassy mouth that she does but I just don't have to answer to my mother for it on a daily basis now. She just doesn't learn!!! My job as a parent is to love her, nurture her, teach her, make sure she knows Jesus, etc. etc.... and to inflict some pain into her life when her butt steps out of line. But nothing is working. I haven't found the currency that works in her world. If you take Canadian money to won't get far. You have to find the currency that works there for it to be of any value. Well, I'm having trouble finding Courtney's true currency. I've tried it all. Seems that way anyways. The other day she got herself grounded for three weeks (one day added for everytime she sassed off, tried to get the last word, etc.). THREE WEEKS! She's STILL serving her sentence! Do you think it's deterred her one bit? nope. This evening she earned her brothers chores on top of hers and worked it up unil Saturday. Then she also earned her sisters chores on top of both of the others until Saturday. Then she earned both of them again on Sunday. Then because I was to the point where I was so incapable of remaining calm that I screamed at her that this is all going to be finished tomorrow because if she doesn't go to her room and not let me see her face again tonight that I swear I'm going to go to jail tonight because I am about to drag her across that kitchen and beat her down!!! So she ran this way to her room crying the whole way that she hates me and slammed the door and I went that way fuming that I was going to kill her and went out the kitchen door and slammed it. I stood out in the crisp cool air eyes watering, breathing heavy, cheeks red, pulse thumping....................... silence..............that's all I could hear out there. My head was still spinning. My desire to control and my frustration that she's trying to resist me at every turn have me in a total internal (and tonight external) uproar. I started praying. Of course the words wouldn't come. It was a very choppy prayer. "Lord.... please calm me with her......can you believe her????.......please help me to be a her to be a better.........I don't know what to do........I'm so sorry........... I did it again..........I'm a horrible example.......... I must be a horrible mother........... what a rotten kid!!!, she's a great kid with a horrible mouth............i've lost her forever haven't I?......they're gonna be in therapy FOREVER when they're adults I just know it.......I know, I know, I'm dramatic.......there's trash in the yard........the gate's open........these kids never listen! I'm tired of this.........sorry Lord, got sidetracked.........Randy never helps..........I can't even think right now!!! .. Lord, please help me. Please help everything. Amen."

So I came in the house. She's in her room with the radio blasting which infuriates me even more because I told her to go to her room and go straight to bed. Here it is about twenty minutes later and not only is she not in bed..... her light is on......and her radio is full blast. The prayers start again. " LORD!!! SHE'S NOT DOING IT!!!! I DON'T WANT TO FIGHT ANYMORE!!!!! COME ON!!!! WON'T YOU HELP ME????" I felt a small wave of peace and control come over me enough to let me get away with just doing the police-pound on her door *THUMP-THUMP-THUMP*..... i hear "WHAT???" being screamed at me from the other side of the door and my temples begin to throb once again. I open her door and growl through my clenched teeth.... "TURN OFF THAT MUSIC AND GET IN THAT BED NOOOOOOOOWWWWWW." I did pretty good! Praise God! LOL

I now sit here feeling deflated, ashamed and guilty. I did it again. I know that she comes by her head-stongedness (is that even a word? lol) as naturally as I do, but I sure don't do a very good job of leading by example as to how we can do better. Huge fault and weakness of mine... I own that. But you know what... I am not and never will hold myself up in front of my children as the main example they should follow...... JESUS IS THEIR EXAMPLE. That doesn't give me an excuse to behave badly, but points them toward the true standard. Unfortunately I know that all too often I'm going to fail as an example. They need a consistent, unchanging example and that only comes from Jesus.

I was shown a Christian parenting article tonight as I sat down to write this as only God can do.... it sure was a word in due season! I'll copy a small part of it here.

"Since harsh words and impatient attitudes are frequent offenses in our family, it would be easy for me to live in guilt over the bad example I've set. But several years ago, Romans 8:1 became a key verse in my life: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." As I recall this verse, I remind myself that, as a Christian, I do not stand condemned. I stand in grace and forgiveness by what Jesus Christ did on the cross. That brings freedom in two areas: it frees me from the guilt of my own sinful actions, and, it frees me to confront my children confidently when they are unloving and impatient with each other. When we view our family as sinners saved by grace and believers who live under grace, we feel freedom in knowing we can confess our sin and receive forgiveness from each other and from God. "

Wow did I need that!!! Harsh words and impatient attitudes are way too common around here lately. I tend to beat myself up about it because I do know better and I am supposed to be the example. I was talking to Allison about just how tired I am lately. I've been doing this since I was 18 years old and I'm getting tiiiiiiiiiiirrrrred!!! It's alot more challenging for me to be patient, kind.... heck it's even harder to just be funny!

Watching those home videos the other day really did help alot. I was reminded just how absolutely sweet, perfect and innocent all of my babies were. (unfortunately it can also remind me how much i've screwed them up!!!! haha) I believe that the teen years are God's way of preparing you to release them as adults. If they stayed perfect and cute and snuggly their whole lives you'd never let them go!!! So I guess she's right on track. She's preparing me reeeeeaaaaalllll good!!! LOL Kids.... they're either a big lump in your throat or a big pain in your butt!!!