Posted by: Kara Luker | December 11, 2010

A beautiful day

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

It’s felt warm and summery these past couple days in Southern California. We complain that we don’t have enough “weather” and envy the fall colors, brisk air, or flurries falling in other places. But the reality is that we have it good and I think we know it.

The sun has returned to my heart as well. I am feeling calm and hopeful. The fear that was scratching apart my insides and the toxic rebellion on open flames are nowhere to be found. I found myself smiling today as I was driving, just because.

I had a revelation this week that my son, though he’s getting older, still needs a mom. In an attempt to give him freedom and refrain from coddling him, I ended up abandoning him. Then I shamed him for the negative results of this hands-off approach. Part of this was my own helplessness. Since Cole has become a teenager, I’ve had a hard time finding my role. Do I back off or step in? How much and when? As a single parent, this aspect may be trickier. Or maybe that’s just a big, fat copout. It must be because I know that God gives us what we need to do whatever he’s put before us. And, shoot, he does say that he’s a father to the fatherless. How can you go wrong with the creator of the universe as a dad?

It was important to see the big picture, but there also needed to be practical applications. Cole does well with concrete data. So I typed a contract that outlines expectations from homework and bedtime to chores and tv time. We both signed it, and posted it on Cole’s wall. This has worked well the past few years, but this semester I had flaked. I committed to be home on weeknights to facilitate this structure, which is surprisingly difficult yet also pleasant and good. The remarkable thing is how well Cole has responded. He has lost freedom, but seems happier than before. He is catching up on sleep, keeping up with homework, and doing well in general. It is Saturday night and he is sitting next to me doing his math and vocab, and asking when he can go to bed. Fancy that.

Another practical thing smacked my tush this week. Joyce Meyer told those of us who feel cruddy and tired – and insist on whining about it – to eat better and get sleep. Duh, right? But I was whining about fatigue, staying up til 2 a.m. and eating every cookie that crossed my path (mmmm…. cookies). I’m not interested in reading any more books on diet and health, which now make me nauseated. But I know what makes my body feel good. Not my mouth. Not my emotions. My body. I started fueling it up with this stuff and wow, it helped. I still have wacky sleep habits, but I can see that eating better makes me want to exercise, which helps me sleep better. And if I’m feeling better, I don’t take naps, which means I won’t stay up until the wee hours and wake up feeling wiped out and need a nap. Common sense, I was so very happy to bump into you this week.

Regarding the detention I griped about, an interesting thing happened there. On Friday Cole was tardy again… or too darn close to call. I felt exasperated. Here we are restructuring our whole world to do life better, and striving to get this punctuality thing down. And still failing miserably. I started wondering if are best efforts aren’t enough, then what? The school takes tardies seriously, so we could be looking at a suspension if we keep this up. Next year’s financial aid could be compromised. It is clear there is not going to be grace for our mistakes in this area.

It was then that God’s voice cut through my defeat. He said, in essence, that effort is great but pretty much worthless if he doesn’t breathe life into it. In that moment, with the kindness in his voice, I knew that if we asked for his help, he would do what we couldn’t. He would bridge the gap. He would give the grace needed and make a way through our weakness. Oh how thrilling it is to do things with a guy like that backing you up.

I have my second date tomorrow – church and a hike. Definitely feeling better about this one. Still have no idea about what will come of it, but it doesn’t really seem to matter at the moment. I’ll just enjoy the day, and go from there.

Good night everyone. Sleep well.

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