hello all. Again I turn to you for help. i have just discovered that my daughter has been lying to me (she's 13.5) about completing her math. I have trusted her and have not checked it myself in some time, as she's been "checking it, supposed to come to me with problems". Here's the kicker. this is not the first time. she did this about 9 months ago, and we had serious talks, she had to go back and redo every single problem while i hovered over her, plus she lost her cell phone, youth group, and she had to do all the family's laundry for a week, plus she had to do the dishes every night as well. We had significant talks about sharing her heart, about how the appearance of good certainly doesn't mean anything. we talked about trust and lying. and she did it again. now, i am enraged at myself for having been so lazy and for awhile, this summer (she was doing math in the summer because of all the time she wasted in cheating with LOF), I have been saying, "Ok, bring me your books, I need to see your books, are you really doing your work, etc" and then I would get distracted by the four other people who need me, and sort of forget that I hadn't done it. It's been on my to-do list and it never got done. But she had to lie right to my face for some time.
My daughter is a good kid. she's very bright, she's beautiful, she's super responsible - everywhere we go, people praise her for her responsibility and helpfulness; she's my oldest, out of five. but i know that she constantly feels she needs to seek the approval of those around her. so much so, that she doesn't really share her heart with me, and often, i think, she tells me what she thinks I want to hear, instead of how she's really feeling. I know she loves the Lord, I know she's accepted Christ (she was 7), and I'm fairly certain she wants to live for Him, but I'm not so sure she understands grace, KWIM?
So, here's another kicker. she's away on vacation with some good friends of ours. i was so enraged yesterday when we found the MUS test booklet she'd hidden and claimed she lost (tell me how you lose a book between your mattress and box spring), and I was so hurt as i looked through her student book and nearly blank test book, that i texted her "you are in a ridiculous amount of trouble when you get home." so there's the problem. how can i expect her to share her heart with me and learn grace when i actually thought about it and decided that i wanted her to have to sit and fester with this all week, just like me? she called me to ask what it was about, and i said we'd talk when she got home, but that i found her math books and i was very upset. i know she can't enjoy herself now, and i need to call and apologize for ruining her vacation. it was selfish and unkind and spiteful of me.
with all that said, i'm going to have to really work with her on this...the deceit - the making sure it LOOKs like she's being good, while inwardly she's being deceitful. my best friend who was raised Christain (i was not), says this is kind of a hotbutton issue with Christian kids...that they see it as a behavior issue, not a heart/relationship issue. Often these kids, she says, are prone to being concerned with how they look, how they behave, but their hearts are not opened to Him. Where have I failed? How do I tie heartstrings now? How do I show her that God knows everything and it's not about her behavior, but her heart? how do i show grace wihile setting boundaries and consequnces?
I would like to read some books/stories/biograpies about people who have struggled with this, who maybe have struggled with the external good/inward lies type dichotomy. People who had to come to that place where they had to allow themselves to be saved by their Savior? I just read Stepping Heavenward, and that will go on the list, but can anyone think of anything else she could read? Her dad and I are really tight, and we are fairly strict with our kids; we've been open about our need for Him, and we try to be humble before the kids and each other. We really do our best to live out our faith; our family is our #1 priority, after Jesus of course. I know I've probably leaned on my daughter too much for help with all the littles, and I haven't made enough special time for her as she's grown into a teenager because of the chaos of the rest of our life these last few years (the moving, the loss of income/house, the difficult spiritual battles, difficult family relationships, etc). I'm not sure how to even make that separate time for each kid. i really really want to be a safe space for her, and it breaks my heart that i'm not. my mom is not a safe space for me. so i get how bad that hurts. sigh. any direction would be helpful. please pray. at some point today, i will be calling her to apologize for sending that text and ruining her vacation.
only by His grace,