30 Days to a Better Stepfamily – Day 6
She is an angry teenager – Half woman, half child and her maturity is not ready to face such difficult times. She is trying to work through a life she never wanted. I am in love with Doc and married him, and though our lives are better, she feels like she is in hell.
In her sixteen years, she has been the baby of the family, then the only child, now she is the big stepsister of children she is not fond of being around. She is not fond of being around anyone, and rebellion is her weapon of protest.
And her protest is more like a child’s cry for help when they are afraid of the dark.
But her rebellion to my authority as her mother embarrasses me, and I respond with anger as well. We are now in a spiral downward with anger and tears. I am not being the leader, the mature mother, which I always dreamed that I would be.
“ The anger of man cannot accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20 NASB)
I cannot expect her to respect my authority if I cannot control my own anger and behave like an adult. But to be honest, sometimes I do not know what maturity should look like in these situations. My emotions run ahead of my mind. I want the situation to end immediately, but all I do is increase the problems by not allowing God to sanctify my words and course of action before I release it onto my child.
Have you ever blown it with a child or stepchild?
I felt my authority crumbling and I responded in the flesh.
In Watchman Nee’s book, Spiritual Authority he teaches from Matthew 7:22. It tells about the many people who stand before the Lord on the last day, setting their good work before the Lord. They tell of casting out demons, and of the miracles that happened in their work. The Lord then tells them to leave, that He never knew them.
Watchman Nee says that they were not recognized because they began their work with “self” as their starting point – An activity of the flesh.
When exercising the authority over our family it needs to be from a starting point of prayer, and love. When it begins with self as the focal point, instead of the lessons that God is teaching both parent and child, then authority is plundered and rebellion rules.
See, that is where I went wrong. I did not consult the Father, I did not humble myself, I was exalting my authority, and from that position no one will ever allow himself or herself to be lead.
Control is an illusion created by man, and requires others to choose to submit for it to work. Authority as a leader, however, comes as a gift from God.
In Numbers 16, Moses was given authority as leader over the children of Israel. At one point the children chose to rebel against Moses. Though he loses control over the crowd, he never looses his authority, because man cannot remove what God has set in place.
Moses was never overwhelmed with fear at their rebellion. He never screamed at the people, or threatened them, or talked down to them, making them feel dumb for rebellious decisions. Moses went to God and pleaded his case, and asked God how to handle the people that were in his care. Here is what I learn from this story:
- Do not justify or argue your position. God has established your position. Moses did not argue or justify; he went to God, stated he case and waited on God to respond. When rebellion against your authority as a parent occurs, stay calm and quiet spoken, realizing that you are dealing with children who believe their wisdom is greater than yours and whose maturity level is much less needed to make the decisions.
- Separate yourself from the situation for a time. Once Moses had instructed the children, then God instructed Moses to stand away and allow Him to work. God can create “Acts of God” to get their attention. In doing so God defends Moses’ and our position as leader and humbles the children.
- It will probably get worse before it gets better. With our children and stepchildren as well as the children of Israel, it can get worse before it will get better. When consequences are coming down on them, their first reaction is to fight back. Don’t let this discourage you. It is the flesh still trying to have its way and be in charge. Hold your ground with love and few words. “I know you are hurting – I am sad that you are going through this – How can I help you?” Don’t be surprised if you are met with an angry response. You need to be the thermostat, not the thermometer. Do not register the temperature of the room; you set the temperature of the room.
- Stand in the gap. When the consequences came from God, He still had a plan for restoration. Aaron, taking instructions from Moses, went into the center of the plague sent by God, and interceded for the children. Aaron was an image of Christ. He stood in the gap physically and spiritually. As parents, we may need to allow our children to experience some of the consequences of their choices, but we are ever in the gap praying for them; and at times we must go into the situation to physically deliver them from the consequences.
Never be afraid of loosing your relationship with your child. There will be times, when taking authority in love will cause the child to pull away and the relationship to be severely torn. But staying in prayer, God will, in His time, repair what needs to be repaired. God sent Christ to restore us to God. Relationships are important to God. Your relationship with your child is important to God. Allow Him to do the work that needs to be done as you obey in being the authority He has gifted you to be.
Linking with Imperfect Prose