This is the final guest post from my friend best-selling author Patricia Hickman (At least, the last for this year!). Read her story and see if you have experienced what she did. I’ll share some too at the end.
The Legacy of Hurricane Mom
By Patricia Hickman
My caboose, my teenage son, and I experienced an emotional toxicity his last two years of high school. I was justifying the friction between us by saying that his testosterone was getting the best of him—and that was true. But God tapped me one day when I was grumbling about my son in prayer. He asked me to consider why I was so troubled. I knew why. First of all, I was afraid he’d make a poor choice at the precipice of adulthood that would take years to undo.
But secondly, and even more troubling to me, was my fear of turning into the raging mom that my sister and I had endured. My mother harbored a rage that simmered out of the sight of polite company. Her rage would waylay my sister and me verbally and physically. This unhealthy practice pumps adrenaline into the body, even providing a temporary high. It can cause a false sense of power. Living with my mother’s rage was like living with a hurricane. It swallowed up our relationship and any hope for mutual respect. I feared turning into her. The keyword, God showed me, was “afraid.” I knew that faith in Christ had taught me many things, but all of them were gained through my surrendering each of my behaviors to God who could reshape them. Parenting out of fear causes me to communicate fear-birthed harassment, or nagging. That plan had to be as foundational as my faith in Christ. It had to be based on biblical beliefs. The principle that came to me was my need for the patient endurance taught from the book of James. Next, this change in my response required planning.
The next morning on the way to school instead of nagging my son and then both of us losing our temper, I reworded what I wanted to say to him out of my beliefs instead of my fears. To do that, I had to know in advance what I believed. It changed the entire mood during the drive to school–and my tone. We were laughing and conversing rationally like two adults when he got out of the car and went into his school. By refocusing my platform and dousing a negative agenda, I killed the hurricane.
The hard part is doing that every day with my child, my husband, or the people I work alongside. That requires purposeful and specific prayer in conjunction with surrendering what I feel is right for what God expects—and that takes me back to reconciling myself to mutuality with God.
Mutuality with God is surrendering my inherited brand of storm trooper peacemaking for Christ’s desire that I follow his commands. When I do, then true peace reigns in me and over those for whom God has given me responsibility. More than training up my children to be great successes, I want my loved ones to look back on me with both respect and a fondness for the lessons we learned together. By embracing Christ’s transformational legacy for my family, I leave behind a legacy passed down generation-to-generation. That is the power of Christ working in me and my heirs.
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Gal. 5:13
Lyn here–My mother didn’t harbor rage, but she married two men who were both alcoholics. I often say that living with an alcoholic is like living in a pressure cooker. The pressure and tension would build till the next explosion. But nothing was ever dealt with or resolves or confronted so there was never an end to it.
I have a calm life with a husband who wakes up in the morning telling jokes and singing silly songs. I LOVE THAT. And I thank God that He has enabled me not to pass that legacy onto the next generation.
Patricia, thanks again for sharing these four Thursdays. Your posts have blessed me. Do the rest of you agree???