Twenty-eight years have disappeared from the day I gave birth to my only child. November is the month I pushed him out into this world and met him face to face. I was a teenager when he was born, unable to comprehend the miracle of his precious life – unwilling to have my self-centered lifestyle interrupted.
Thus I spent most of his childhood competing with him for attention, sometimes robbing him of what he deserved. But despite my ignorance and negligence, he grew up. He laughed and cried; he made good grades in school and even got into some trouble now and then. He charmed the waitresses and the ladies at church and stole his Grandma’s heart.
For years I moved him around, house-to-house, school-to-school worrying about the impact of my instability on the foundation of his soul. But he was a rock. Finally, when he was in his early teens, God used him as a missionary to my troubled soul. By pleading with me to change my destructive behavior, my son’s tears shocked me into the reality that every person, old or young, has a purpose and that sometimes it’s completely off the wall. It was then I realized that he was raising me!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t done growing up. Another of my foolish choices brought us to Peoria. The only redeeming value of that decision was enrolling him at Peoria Christian School. God protected him from the consequences of my actions and he was able to glean wisdom from the faculty who surrounded him with love and acceptance. By the time his ACT tests rolled around, my son literally delivered me from a domestic violence situation and drove me straight to his Bible counselor’s house.
Bruised and beaten, laying on the couch in his counselor’s home I listened to him breathe as he slept on a mattress beside me.
“God, what have I done?” I cried through pain-filled tears, “How could I have allowed my son to be put through such frightening circumstances?” The next year-and-a-half I traipsed him in and out of the Peoria County Courthouse through three simultaneous trials fighting for justice. I’ll never forget the feeling of watching him leave the waiting room to take the witness stand on my behalf.
That did it. I was done with my own way. I was done making foolish decisions based on what I thought we needed. I finally realized that all my choices, no matter how logical they seemed at the time, were based on what I thought would give him a perfect home. I had brought him in and out of meaningless marriages trying to find him a dad – trying to make up for the absence of his father and create the happy home I robbed him of as a child.
When the trials were all over and the pain began to subside, my son looked at me and said, “Mom, I never asked you to find me another father. God is my Father and He’s the best.”
Now I look at him, a grown Christian man, successful in business, happily married to a godly, beautiful woman and building a new house. Wow. He’s his own person – whole, intelligent, determined, content. He’s never tried drugs, never lit a cigarette, never turned to alcohol. He is faithful to a local church and prays for me every day.
And now he’s going to be a daddy. Not just any daddy – a special daddy. He and his wife are adopting a precious bundle from Vietnam. Soon I will cradle this blessing – my grandson – in my arms and marvel at the grace God gave me despite my mistakes raising my own baby.
Was a perfect home what my son really needed? Or was it that he needed to be needed? I’m not totally sure, but I am done beating myself up for what I did or didn’t do for him. He is a precious gift and I am grateful that God used him to help me grow up.