Praying for Boys: When You Don’t Know What Else to Do

A few weeks ago, I signed our six-year old to audition for our church’s Christmas play. He was never enthusiastic about the idea, but my husband and I agreed that he should do it.

The first few times I went over the lines with Samuel were not good. With his lack of interest clearly on display, I found my tiny reservoir of patience running thin very quickly. Whether it was not reading the script carefully, playing with his toys or not making any eye contact when speaking, it all irritated and perplexed me.

My frustration became obvious which only seemed to make Samuel’s resistance stronger. The tug of war had me wanting to call it quits. I started feeling the futility of the situation and felt he’d ever memorize the lines.

To my surprise, I decided to keep pressing on not wanting Samuel to feel like he could get over on us so quickly. It was painful and hard until finally one day, that kid recited the entire audition script almost verbatim.

I couldn’t believe it. Not only did he show he knew the words, but he actually added a bit of dramatic flair. On top of that, as we kept practicing, he started showing more and more excitement and interest in auditioning for the play.

Who was this kid and where had he been hiding the previous few weeks?

Why had he made it so terribly hard on me when he was obviously paying attention the entire time?

The next day, I found it quite ironic to be receiving a Facebook message from a friend inviting a group of moms to read Brooke McGlothlin’s, Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most.

Praying for BoysI’d read an earlier version of the book a couple of years ago and remembered loving the prayers. I like how Brooke puts it early on in the book, “I pray because I don’t know what else to do…because I don’t have all the answers.” That is definitely where I’d been those last few weeks with Samuel.

I felt God was telling me that what I had been trying to do with my son, I was trying to do within my own power. I hadn’t sought His help. I hadn’t asked for His guidance on how to reach my son. And so I struggled.

Not that I believe prayer alone will make this parenting thing easy breezy (though it sure helps), but I truly believe God was sending a gentle reminder to me to continuously involve Him in raising, instructing, caring for, guiding, leading and loving my children because we aren’t capable of doing it alone.



Tantrums And The Miracles That Follow

scream and shout

Photo Source Mindaugas Danys via Flickr

It started out like it often does…one child pestering the other. We were about to get started on our homeschool work, when I heard my daughter asking my son to stop whatever it was he was doing to bother her. He made the choice to throw a fit rather than talk about it, so he got to throw a fit in his room.

The typical script from here is that I feel like a failure as a mom inwardly, while frustration envelops me. The tantrum eventually ends, we have a conversation about it, consequences are given, and we move on with life…and I feel worn down.

But this time, a miracle was in store. God brought to my mind the verse, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” With my little man calm, I tried to start a conversation with him. My goal is always to get down to the heart issue because the behavior is never just about the behavior. But often, I feel like we aren’t getting anywhere. And that’s how it began as he shoved his head in a pillow, refused to make eye contact, and appeared to ignore me.

I started talking…gently…calmly…quietly. With as few words as possible and lots of pauses for complete silence. I reminded him of the verse I’d just considered, how we’d discussed that before. And how I knew that this tantrum wasn’t representing who he truly is and that there’s something going on in his heart that I’d love to talk about with him.

I felt like I was talking to a brick wall, still and silent. But then I got a surprise.

He turned slowly, looked me in the eyes and said, “Mom, I feel like there’s something I need to tell you, but I’ve been afraid you’d get mad.”

I steeled myself inwardly, prepared to hear just about any terrible thing, determined that I would NOT get mad at him, regardless of what it was, because he was choosing to trust me right then.

Then he confessed, with complete honesty and humility, something he’d been doing behind my back for several months. The behavior itself wasn’t a big deal, but I knew there was something behind it that was HUGE.

After a pause, I looked at him and said, “Thank you for telling me and being honest. I really appreciate that.”

Then, I scooted over next to him on his bed. As soon as he saw my posture relaxing, he came over and snuggled next to me. God brought to my mind an event in my son’s past that was directly linked to this heart issue. So, I talked with him about what had happened and how our enemy, the devil, used that bad experience to plant a lie in my son’s heart. But, God had something to say about that negative event too! God had truth to replace the now-exposed lie with.

Over the next few minutes, we prayed together, talked about truth and the overflow of the heart. We eventually got back to the original issue that had started the tantrum in the first place. But when I walked out of that room, rather than feeling exhausted and worn down, like a major failure of a mom, I felt hope and victory! I witnessed a miracle…God touching my son’s heart, bringing him to humility and a new level of trust, flowing through me with patience that could only be attributed to His Spirit, and defeating a lie of the devil. VICTORY!

Mamas…do not doubt the work you’re doing! When those fits happen, when they ignore you, when they turn their anger on you, when the stubbornness sets in…don’t lose heart and don’t lose hope. In the past few months, I have seen like never before how incredibly important it is for me to keep my cool and stay in conversation with God during outbursts like this. If I lose it, my kids lose it even more. But if I can stay calm, I can demonstrate to my kiddos how to work through a problem or a disappointment.

I’ve learned that my kids ARE listening. And they WANT to please me. They are desperate for me to pour out their identity all over them. They need to know how God views them. They need me to let them know that I’m not buying it…when the tantrum takes over, I’m not going to choose to believe that that behavior represents who they are. I will be the constant reminder of who they are and what their purpose is.

They are His. They are chosen. They are loved unconditionally. And they are designed to love God and love people.

Who cares if we skipped our homeschool lesson for the morning? We had a far greater lesson taking place.

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