I felt the familiar fear and panic rising up within my throat as I heard the sound of screaming and loud banging and thumping sounds. My eight-year-old son and teenage daughter’s clash of the titans had just erupted and a new screaming match started in the stairwell outside my room. Each of their angry footsteps pounding up the stairs felt like an electric shock to my body.
Not again. Not now. I just can’t. I had just laid down for the first moment all day, and that was only out of sheer necessity. I felt dizzy and like I was going to pass out. I’d pushed my body and soul to the max yet again, forgetting lunch and then using every last ounce of my energy to clean my messy house. My heart was now racing with the aftermath of pushing my body too far. I just can’t be a parent right now. I felt angry, scared, and like a little girl again, hiding from raging family members. I just wanted to stick my fingers in my ears to block out the sound. Maybe it would all just go away if I waited long enough. But it didn’t. It got louder and more volatile. I knew I had to intervene, but I had no idea what to do. The only thing I found enough energy to do was shoot up a desperate SOS prayer as I shakily stood up from where I had been lying on my floor, “Jesus, I can’t do this…” I walked out into the hall and quickly surveyed the damage of the moment. I had emerged just in time to see my twelve-year-old daughter charging up the stairs with fiery hate in her eyes, screaming at my son.
I felt like I was in the middle of a war zone.
Emotional shrapnel was flying everywhere and I didn’t know how to contain it or where to direct my efforts. I was just hoping for the least amount of casualties as possible. I walked over to my son since he looked most in distress. But before I could even help him, my daughter began to run towards him. My son cried out loudly in panic and ran off to his room—slamming the door behind him. Wrenching, angry sobs immediately followed—broadcasting from behind the door. Oh my God. Was I raising another emotional isolater? I felt devastated at the thought.
Just then my second teenage daughter emerged from a nearby bathroom where she had been hiding. The participating soldiers and battle issue was becoming clearer: One little boy pitted against the snarky world of teenage harassment. I felt a rush of adrenaline and anger course throughout my body. Why couldn’t they just stop pushing his buttons? And why couldn’t he just ignore their lameness?
My anger then transferred over to my own injustices. I had my own issues to work on—and their screaming matches were just making everything worse. I was at the end of myself and had nothing left to give—but I had to do something: KNOCK, KNOCK.
“Don’t come in!” my son cried out.
“It’s Mommy. Can I come in?”
“Please? Can I come in?” I asked—cracking the door open a tiny bit. And there he was—sitting all alone and bereft in his chair. When I first opened the door, I still had the anger and adrenaline rushing through my veins. But as I saw him sitting there, something major shifted within me. Anger melted away and my heart just broke. It was like Heaven’s veil parted and I saw my son through God’s eyes. In that moment, it didn’t matter how many times this kid had put me through the emotional fire or how many times he had triggered my own issues. I saw him now in his humanity through the eyes of love. He was irresistible. I just had to love on him.
“Can Mommy come in? Can I just hold you?” I asked him.
I didn’t know what I was doing other than following the prompting within my own spirit.
My son finally said yes and let me come into his room. I picked him up into my arms. He was sobbing and angrily talking all at the same time. Story after story poured out of him. All of the day’s injustices. All of his life’s injustices. I just let him cry. I let him say everything that he wanted to. The anguish in his soul needed to get out. I interjected a few times with various affirmations, but mostly I just listened. And as I sat there just holding Him—I also felt God holding me and loving me in the exact way that I needed to be loved. With each time that I affirmed my son, God also affirmed me: “This is how I hold you. This is how I listen to you. This is how I comfort you.”
God streamlined His love to and through me at the same time.
My son continued on for about ten more minutes, but slowly the anger began to dissipate. The sobs lessened. Pretty soon he was telling me all about his new video game and how well he was doing in conquering it. He was beating all of his sisters, he said. He actually smiled.
My God, could it seriously be this easy?
Yes. Heaven’s Hug. When we come to Him as little children—we will find Him. He will always embrace us if we let Him. That embrace is life-changing.
“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:3).
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14).