Every mother worth her salt will read this, laugh, and say, “you go, girl.” Right after you tell your son or daughter, “I have a direct line to God, or maybe He has a direct line to me. In any event, think about where you’re going and what you’re doing, ‘cause I’ll always find out.”
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The weekend had been miserable. Cold and wet. Rained from sun-up ‘til sun-down for three days. And it’s a fact, cold rain’s more bone chilling at the lake.
The lake. Where our husbands decided we would spend Thanksgiving. Cooking dinner over the fire, like pilgrims had done so long ago would be fun, they said.
Fun? Agrrrr. I wore three layers of clothing. For three days. The shower facilities at Lake Livingston were less than hospitable in the winter. No heat. No warm water. No creature comforts. We were roughing it, right? Guess who refused to shower? Yep. Me. Just played fruit-basket-turnover with the three layers.
We arrived Wednesday night and by Saturday morning the other wife and I had endured enough fun and issued orders to pack up and head home. I needed my large bathtub filled to the brim with hot water, central heat and an electric range.
Just as we loaded the final items into the vehicles the sun burst through the clouds and blue sky appeared. The boys, three of them, two sixteen-year-olds and one thirteen-year-old, begged to stay and fish. The dads put their heads together and decided it would be a great learning experience.
My husband chose to leave my car for them to drive home the next morning. What could go wrong? Besides, they figured by leaving the younger brother to tattle, would assure good behavior. Our husbands, boys in men’s bodies, reliving their teen years vicariously through their sons.
The other mom and I objected. Vigorously. To no avail. The boys would stay at the campgrounds, fish, eat, turn in early, and then return home first thing Sunday morning. They’d be fine.
The dads said so.
Both dads waved goodbye while the other mom and I shook our heads, knowing this was not a good choice and we all drove off, leaving our three teenage boys in God’s hands.
Half way home the radio blasted a weather warning that South East Texas would be under tornado watch ‘til late Saturday night. I argued to turn around, go back and get the boys. They had no radios and I knew they’d be frightened out of their bedrolls. My husband said, “No. They’ll be fine and those weather guys are always wrong.”
I stewed all the way home waiting for the opportunity to call the other mom. When I did, Dad #2 repeated the litany of Dad #1. “They’ll be fine. The Ranger will watch out for them.” Hmm. More man logic.
At 4 PM the weather reports indicated the storms were headed right for the State Park. Tornado warnings were issued. Like any other panic-stricken mom, I had to reach the Park Ranger, but phoned the Park Grocery Store by mistake.
A lady answered. And I spilled the entire contents of my heart and mind on this unsuspecting soul. She said, “I’m sorry ma’am. You’ve reached the Park Store. The Ranger’s office and campground is on the other side of the lake. Miles and miles away. But what’d you say those boys looked like?”
I repeated their description and the make and model of the car they were driving.
She laughed and said, “Why they were just in here. Asking directions to the drive-in movie in Livingston.”
“And how far away is that?” I asked.
“Thirty, maybe forty miles,” she replied.
Now hell has no fury like a woman scorned, but let me tell you a mother who catches a kid in an act of unspeakable foolishness, driving her car, runs a close second.
With as much composure as I could muster, I asked if she had the number of the drive-in movie. Still chuckling, she gave me the number and I’m sure, if she had boys, enjoyed imagining the capture and fate of these young fugitives.
The lady at the drive-in was helpful and promised when the teens arrived she would have them call home.
Now this is the point I’d have given the gold in my teeth to have been a fly-on-the-window of that car.
My unsuspecting son, Michael, pulled up to the ticket booth, his friend in the passenger seat, and rolled down the driver’s side window expecting to pay. But the ticket lady said, “Michael, your mother said you’re to call home immediately.” She leaned closer to the window and peered into the back seat. “There’s supposed to be three of you, where’s the other boy?”
A gasp and a cough from under a blanket on the back floorboard answered her question. They had only enough money for two tickets.
My telephone rang and my son’s raspy voice asked, “Mom, how’d you know?”
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Now we could end this story right there and it would have been enough. Right? Wrong. I’m convinced our God has a marvelous sense of humor and a unique ability to teach very hard lessons, up close and personal, when needed.
I minced no words instructing the boys to get their fannies back to camp and stay there until sunrise. Tornadoes were on the way. And this mother spent the night on her knees.
The bedraggled boys arrived home early next morning and related a harrowing night in the log lean-to, by the shores of Lake Livingston, huddled in their sleeping bags, listening to the freight train roar, tree branches crashing, wind howling, lightening, hail and the groans of the ancient lean-to.
Yes, God’s hand of discipline holds the perfect scourging brush for rebellious teens and for big folks too.
Neither the boys nor their dads ever suggested camping again.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NAS).