Momma Bears Part 1


mom bearOne of our family’s favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, does this bit about bears and camping. He talks about how campers are told to “play dead” if a bear attacks. The way he spins this strategy really does make you stop and think about the absurdity of such an idea – even if it does work. Gaffigan even suggests the bears came up with this approach and he truly questions the idea of relying on our acting skills in order to survive – so funny!

Here’s what I do know about bears. They aren’t fans of surprises. If you come in their space they’ll do anything in their power to get you OUT! That’s why when I watch the nature shows the host walks through thick woods making lots of noise. I’m more of a hotel/beach girl, but if I was in the woods and I knew bears were around I’d prefer to NOT surprise them and in turn cause them to retaliate.

As a mom I like to be prepared, to have all the information and leave the surprises to a minimum.

However, my children are CONSTANTLY surprising me.

Their understanding of technology, their abilities and interests…right when I think I know them they surprise me and usually it’s a good thing.

As a momma bear I want to be ready for the surprises that are sure to come and my prayer is that I will respond in the right way.

My kids have lied, stolen trinkets from a store, been irresponsible, selfish and downright difficult.

Does that surprise you?

It’s easy to think someone else’s kids are perfect or don’t have issues but that little lie needs to be silenced. We’re dealing with human beings here – they are full of every carnal impulse that comes with living in a fallen and sinful world. Our job is to help our kids identify these potentially harmful and negative aspects of their humanity and keep them from being a surprise.

I’m not suggesting we set our kids up for failure, but how often are we really honest with our family about our own struggles and/or areas of growth?

The other day I looked at my 6th grader and actually said, “I’m so frustrated right now I can’t even think straight! I’m so overwhelmed with this whole thing I don’t want to talk to you because I’m afraid of what I’ll say! I love you. You are MY boy, but right now I can’t be near you. Stay here – I’ll be back in a minute.”

I left him standing (a bit dumbfounded) in the living room – went upstairs and paced in my room. My thoughts were racing, my cheeks were hot and my nerves were fried! How in the world could he have done this!? I was shocked.

So I worked through the shock, the surprise of it all and took 10 deep breaths – literally slowing my heart rate down with each one.

I returned to the living room and I never apologized for needing time, but I thanked him for waiting. We had a discussion – a tough one. We worked through his choices, the consequences and how to NEVER let this happen again.

We didn’t end with a hug (even though we should have) – I was still too hurt by the whole thing.

Later that night I went to his room and reaffirmed that I was not angry with him, I wasn’t even disappointed, I was just baffled by how this could have happened. We agreed to keep the surprises to a minimum and I agreed to try and get to my “calm place” a little faster. We actually laughed with each other. We hugged and I could honestly say “I love you” to my boy and he said the same.

I don’t want my kids to fear me. I know more surprises are in store. Will my kids know that no matter what happens I will be there for them? I won’t prevent the consequence but I’ll try my best to prevent any added drama on my part.

Proverbs 14:1 says “The wise woman builds her home

but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Ouch. My intentions might be fantastic and my love real – but if I’m not careful, I can bring division and resentment into my home because I’m not prepared for the surprises that are sure to come. We can keep our “claws” from coming out if we are wise and take the time to breathe, pray and think before we respond.

See your family members as investments. People who truly matter. No matter what happens we can be the safe place they land and the secure voice they hear.

Lord, I really don’t need any more surprises in my life but I also acknowledge the reality that I can’t control my children. They have a free will and with that comes the freedom to choose. Help me focus my eyes on you SO MUCH that I see the problem for what it is and I separate that problem form the person standing in front of me. Please help me see them the way YOU see them. Help me extend grace just like You’ve freely given to me.

Your surprise-ready Momma Bear,

Kasey

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