Did I do what I should have done? {a lesson in parenting}

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Did I do what I should have done?Honestly, I was probably too fired up. I know my emotions like a race car driver knows his engine. I sense the firing of my pistons as my adrenalin screams, “Let it rip.” That’s what I felt as I was waiting. Waiting for my husband to come home to take my oldest daughter to her orthopedist. Worrying about what I would do if he didn’t get my last text telling him I was still sick...the kind that keeps you close to the bathroom.

Tick. Tock. Ticked.

“God, please quiet down my stomach so that I can make it through these appointments.”  

I should have prayed for God to quiet my soul. 

As we turned out of the neighborhood, the phone rings.

“Hon, where are you?”

But it was too late, even for a valid reason. My anger raced in a sort of controlled behind-the-pace-car-engine revving up way sort of way.  Click. We hung up with me in a huff and I turned toward my daughter.

“Why have you not done your exercises...three months of orthopedic appointments and physical therapy...you could be healed...if you did what you were supposed to do!”

Wonk. Whoonk. Wonk.

I’m sure that is all she heard as I watched her spirit deflate, rising in my soul a conviction to stop. Stop the lecture. Stop the ranting. Stop and own my part in all of this.

She didn't do what she should have done.

But did I do what I should have done?

Did I encourage her? Offer accountability? Set the boundary lines with clear consequences?

No.

And now it was time for us to both face the reality of our lack of responsibility.

I apologized to my daughter for not supporting her as I should and for not following through with her in the ways she needed.

And then, taking a deep breath, I put my coaching hat on {literally, the best investment I’ve ever made for my motherhood role}. I approached her with questions about how to move forward, with a hope and prayer to cast her some vision of what life healed might like. With a few ideas in front of us, I put on my momma heart and did what I should have done months ago:

Establish a Boundary Line!

“Honey, I love you and I want you to heal, but today will be your last therapy appointment until you start putting in the time at home. Oh, and you are grounded from all things social this weekend so that you can make time to workout.”

Gulp.

We went into the appointment silent, until the doctor drew out the uncomfortable truth from my daughter.

“No, I haven’t been doing my exercises.”

On the drifting off of her words, I sheepishly informed the doctor of my decision to end treatment, until she takes responsibility for her stretches and strengthening at home.  To my great surprise, the doctor fully supported my decision and even gave my girl a lecture about her momma’s time, money, and mileage. {Go, doc!}

The Risk of Boundaries and the Reward of Blessings

More rewarding than the doctor’s support was witnessing the blessing of a boundary line. In the weeks to follow, my daughter's confession evidenced true repentance.  With a bit of coaching, she created a workout checklist and found time to do her exercises. I continued to check in on her plan and progress, as we both took delight in seeing her heal faster!

When we establish those {sometimes} uncomfortable boundaries, we really are setting up our kids for success and teaching them how to be responsible. <--click to tweet

Boundaries don't mean a withdrawal of privilege and freedom, but rather offer a space to live, breathe, explore their full potential.

Oh moms, let us humbly and boldly put those boundary lines in place for our children so that they may experience the delight of the Lord's blessing and the joy being in the circle of their parent's blessing.

Psalm 16:6 NIV “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Blessings, Elisa

MoreToBe.com

Elisa Pulliam

Elisa Pulliam is passionate about women experiencing a life transformed by God for the sake of impacting the next generation – a mission fueled by God’s redeeming work in her life and twenty-plus years in youth and women’s ministry. She’s the author of "Meet the New You: A 21 Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change," which is a book designed to help women embrace a fresh encounter with God, and "Impact Together: Biblical Mentoring Simplified." She is also founder of moretobe.com and tremendously enjoys working as a life coach and coach trainer. She considers her greatest roles as wife to Stephen and mom to four amazing children. Connect with Elisa at elisapulliam.com.

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