Identity, Mothering, Relationship

Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?

A bridge leading to a pathway with a mountain in the background

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever lain in bed at night and found yourself praying for your children or another loved one in your life? 

After a day filled with teen ‘tude from one boy and some extreme emotion that morphed into choices that left the other boy regretting how he’d handled himself, I felt unsettled. Part of me questioned when we would move beyond this stage of angst and grappling to our sons being at peace with who they are.

I suspect many of us wrestle with being at peace with who we are. Even in my fifties, I have days . . . But God. 

The author with one of her sons

There are times when I feel like I’m waiting for the happily ever after to show up in my boys’ lives. 

. . . When they will be functioning, happy adults who walk closely with Jesus. 

. . . When we’ll see the fruit of our labor, love, agony, and prayers rewarded with them being well-adjusted in life and in relationships.

But the truth is? None of us is guaranteed a happily ever after.

A single tree with leaves just beginning to turn yellow

When our children grow into adulthood, they’re still going to have struggles. They’ll still grapple with lies from their childhood, with wounds that came through their infancy and growing up years.

They’ll still deal with some of the conditions they’ve ignored or given into. Some of these they can control. Other conditions they must learn to navigate and understand that it’s a part of their make up. 

Until they can accept how they were designed, they’ll struggle with who they are.

Two very tall trees with green leaves with a blue sky backdrop

I’ve heard that when males’ frontal lobes fuse, somewhere between 25-28 years old, things make more sense. They think more logically, maturely. They make more wise choices.

But as the mom in this family, I can’t just bide my time, counting my hours, and hoping there will be a magical day when our sons figure it all out. 

It’s possible some things will never be completely understood by our boy-men. 

Why things happened that formed them into the men they become. 

Why they were born with certain conditions and tendencies. 

Meme with the words: "To wait passively for that 'happily ever after' day is to neglect the journey of now." on a picture with a stream and trees with leaves starting to change to autumn colors.

For me to wait passively for that “happily ever after day” is to neglect the journey of now. 

If I keep the mindset that “some day” it’s all going to work out, I miss out on the gifts God’s given me in living each day—through the struggles and through the joys—with our sons. 

No, they will not turn out the way I envisioned when they were younger. They will be stronger men in some ways, and possibly weaker men in other ways. I can’t live in fear of the reality that they will disappoint me at times. 

The author with her other son

I need to embrace the truth that, for now, I have the gift of time with them. I get to feed into their lives, speak truth to their hearts in those moments when they’re open.

I get to be intentional in how we interact together. I get to be one who teaches them about loving well. 

I get to be one who points them to Jesus. And prays for them. And speaks words of life when their hearts hurt.

Will they accept the idea of walking closely with the Lord? Man, I hope so. But that’s not my choice. The decision to surrender to His love and His guiding in their lives is one they alone can make. 

As they mature, I’m beginning to understand that they’ll still struggle in their adult years. They’ll probably need Hubs and me in different ways than they do now.

Two trees with green and yellow leaves

Their “happily ever after” won’t look the way I pictured. And that’s okay. God knows the plans He has for each of our sons, and my role is not to wish away today, but to encourage our sons in each moment.

My role is to point them to their Creator and pray like crazy as they step closer to adulthood.

Instead of wishing and waiting for my version of “happily ever after” I must be intentional in my relationships with our boys and watch what God does.

What about you? What lessons have you been learning from those closest to you? How are you intentional in relationships?

Click to Tweet: For me to wait passively for that “happily ever after day” is to neglect the journey of now. 

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

38 thoughts on “Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?”

  1. You guys have such similar smiles!

    There is no happy ever after,
    leastways, not ’round here.
    Life for me has come disaster,
    but I’m not crying in my beer.
    Tears in beers dilutes the brew,
    and lessens down the kick,
    and you need more pints unto
    banishing watery ‘ick’.
    Into whiskey Yanks might cry,
    but they water it down anyway,
    more suited for infants’ lullabye
    than manly drink for the born-of-clay.
    Forgot what I tried to say here withal,
    but enjoyed my write ’bout alcohol.

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    1. Isn’t God amazing in how He gave us similar smiles?? I agree, crying into a beer (or in my case, a glass of wine) is rather pointless. 😉 I think one of the messages in the post was living in the now, even when we’re not where we’d like to be. We glean so much when we choose that, and we don’t hold onto reasons to cry in our beers. 😉

      I’m praying for you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I forget this all the time. I somehow thing my role is to shape them, make them, teach them, protect them, and feed them (so much food!) But my most important role is to point them to God. When I do that first, the rest will come into place.
    (But it can be so hard and awkward. I’m learning it’s ok to feel that way)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rebecca, it’s easy to become so caught up in meeting their needs and in trying to teach them everything that we forget to let God be God in their lives. You’re so right! Our primary priority with our children is to point them to Jesus. He’s more than able to meet their every need, especially the ones we don’t see. So thankful for your honest wisdom here.

      And I get the whole hard and awkward thing!!

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  3. Jeanne,
    Amen to not wishing your days away. I used to say things to God like, “If my children grow up to have a solid relationship with You, then I will consider my role as a mom a success.” Truth is, even if our children (my son) takes a prodigal path (which he did) it doesn’t make me any less “successful” as a mom. Our kids have a will and a mind of their own. We do the best that we can and then daily (hourly sometimes) we lay them upon the altar of God because they were His before they were ever ours. I can see glimmers of how God might use the prodigal years to shape a beauty from ashes story, but in the meantime…all I can do is love them well in this moment in time that I have been given. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bev, thank you for your honesty and wisdom here. Your words offer me hope. There are days when I wonder if either of our boys will be walking with Jesus as adults. But the truth is, that isn’t for me to know, at least not right now. What is for me is to love them well and point them to Jesus.

      And thank you for reminding me that my success as a mom isn’t defined by how well my children do in life or in walking with the Lord. We moms aren’t defined by our children’s choices—either good or bad. You are truly an encouragement, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeanne, this is just beautiful. I have two grown children – a daughter and a son. The years pass so quickly and we can so get caught up in the day to day struggles. This much I know – you are right, it is our role to shape them, to point them to Jesus. May we not miss these moments today for they will shape our tomorrows. Blessings!

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    1. Joanne, thank you so much for your encouraging words! The years with our children under our roof DO pass so quickly! I love what you said about not missing the moments of today for they do shape our tomorrows. I need to remember this during the hard seasons. 🙂 I appreciate you!

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  5. Jeanne, you have a wonderful attitude about your sons. I think what you read is right – somewhere in their late 20s their minds do a switch. The turmoil of the teenage and early 20s years subsides and they become responsible adults. At least that’s what happened with mine (my youngest is 34). Even though they all live more settled lives now, I still find myself praying for either them, my daughters-in-law, or my grandchildren almost every night.

    This post was so well-written. It really hit home with me. I loved this truth: “But the truth is? None of us is guaranteed a happily ever after.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words, Laurie! Sometimes those mid-late twenties feel so far away. 🙂 I know from friends whose children are out of the house that the praying for them never stops. The situations just change. They deal with different challenges. I love that you pray for your children, their spouses and your grandchildren. I so appreciate you, friend.

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    1. Thanks, Michele. I posted the second one on the sly. He doesn’t like his picture being taken or put out there. But . . . there are times when it is necessary. 🙂 From all I’ve read in your words, you are a very intentional mother and you’re seeing the fruit of that. I appreciate you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We will never stop being mom because that is who we are but understand God has control that is filled with love brings us peace. My son told me once after he had a family of his own, “Mom I get it now as to why you told me the things you did, thanks.”

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    1. Anita, you’re right. We’ll always be a mom. When we let God be God in our children’s lives, we will find a lot more peace in our hearts and lives. I love that your son told you that. There is hope for those of us still in the throes of these teen years. 😉 Thank you so much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are many treasured things my children have said but the one that makes me laugh to this day is when my oldest was learning about fossils in school and I turned 35, he told me I was a fossil.

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  7. Oh wow! Jeanne I needed this today. Our two boys are so different from each other, and from me. I so appreciate this post, reminding me they will struggle in adulthood and that they may or may not walk closely with Jesus. Yes, pray like crazy. Live fully present. Thank you dear Jeanne and God bless you and your beautiful sons. In Christ, Julie

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  8. I love your photos of you and your boys, also of nature, Jeanne. Like Andrew, I, too, noticed what similar smiles your boys have with you. 🙂 I identify with your achy, breaky heart for your boys to surrender to God’s love and guiding in their lives. I still have those times of pleading with God, even though they are grownup with children of their own. Also for our grandchildren. I love what you say about how we can neglect the journey of now if we keep waiting for that “happily ever after.” Thank you for being so honest. Love and blessings of God’s strength and guidance to all of you!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy. It’s harder to get willing participants for selfies with me. Sigh. But I’ll take every one I can get…blurry and all. I have spoken with many friends who have grown children not yet walking with the Lord. So, no matter whether they are under our roof, or out on their own, we pray for them, right? God keeps bringing me back to focusing on the now moments not the someday-moments. Thanks for your sweet encouragement friend. Sending you a virtual hug.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. There is so much wisdom here, Jeanne! It’s so true that we can’t just sit passively and wait for the “happily ever after” to happen in our relationships, but neither can we control the outcomes. I like your balance of being intentional but also trusting God.

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    1. SO true, Lesley. I think about something I read years ago about waiting actively and waiting with anticipation. So, though we can’t control the outcomes, we can nurture relationships, speak words of life and truth, and pray hard. I appreciate you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sissy, I just love reading your blogs. They always make me think.. I love you and am praying for you all! ❤️❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  11. “My role is to point them to their Creator and pray like crazy as they step closer to adulthood.” Yes! That is wise and sums it up so much. Although hard to go through, being in the present moment instead of wishing the time away is the Way Jesus teaches us to live–stopping and ministering to those around us as well as taking our rest so we can serve the best we can!

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    1. Lynn, I know you’ve probably walked through similar struggles when yours were at home. I’m so thankful God walks with us every single step of the journey. Your words struck a chord in me…taking our rest. Yeah, ummm, I might need to do more of that so I can live each moment well and minister to others. 😉 Thanks for your words, sweet friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh Jeanne … just replace “boys” and “sons” with “girls” and “daughters” and you’ve expressed my thoughts so well here. (Well, except for that frontal lobe thing … not sure it applies to girls!) 🙂 As the woman of the house, you carry so many things the guys just can’t understand. But God … I love that phrase so much, because He knew exactly what He was doing when he put our families together. The road ahead is long and foggy, but He is already there. I’m so glad we can rest in that truth. Hugs, friend.

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    1. Lois, I imagine it’s similar with daughters. And yes, they have frontal lobes too, but they tend to close somewhere around 23. So you don’t have to wait as long as I do! 😉 I’m grateful to have a husband who tries to understand all that I carry. And I’m with you. I love that phrase: But God . . . Nothing takes Him by surprise. And those things that feel big and impossible to us are seen by Him. And yes, He’s already there in our now and in our future. Such a comfort! Hugs back, friend.

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  13. Jeanne, this is a tough part of being a mom. We often think of happily ever after in terms of marriage, but it sure applies to kids and parenting as well. I’ve never heard that about boys frontal lobes. Interesting. My favorite part of this great article is this:

    “I get to be intentional in how we interact together. I get to be one who teaches them about loving well.

    I get to be one who points them to Jesus. And prays for them. And speaks words of life when their hearts hurt.”

    Yes!

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    1. Karen, there are days when I pray my guys’ frontal lobes will fuse sooner rather than later! Girls have tuition, but theirs normally fuse between ages 22-25. I am so thankful God gifts us with the privilege of raising children to adulthood, and pouring into the. In ways no one else can.

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  14. Oh yes, Jeanne, I remember this season of life well. I only wish I had had you by my side as I went through the tough stuff. God has blessed you with much discernment and wisdom.

    All will be well …

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    1. You are the sweetest, Linda. I am certain you aided your kids into adulthood in your unique way. I imagine your kids wouldn’t trade their growing up years with you. Thank you for being such an encouragement!

      Like

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