May 06, 2006
A few weeks ago we were invited to a vision-casting meeting for our church’s new capital campaign. Our pastor, Ed Young, and his wife, Lisa, led the meeting. As I sat back and watched Ed I was, once again, struck with how much he reminds me of my son, Tucker. Which gave me hope. I admire my pastor. I look up to him and respect him. I believe he believes what he says. I believe he walks what he talks. It is also pretty easy to see how easy it would have been for that raw, creative energy to go the wrong way.
I thought to myself, “I would really love to have lunch with Ed’s mom.” To be honest, what I would secretly hope to hear from her was that he wasn’t perfect as a teenager. I would love to hear her say, “He drove me crazy with his incessant, loud, interruptive, mile-a-minute talking.” It would make me feel so much better to sit across the table from her while she said, “He was always pushing the limits, seeing how he could creatively get around the rules and then talk himself out of trouble.”
I don’t know what she’d say but, the truth is, I don’t think I would leave nearly as encouraged if I heard what a breeze he was to raise. Gut-wrenching grit would minister to me right now! I figured if that was the way I was feeling then, perhaps, some of you were, too. So, let’s cut to the nitty-gritty.
Raising teenagers is hard!!! When my kids were smaller, I remember hearing ministers say, “The teenage years were my favorite. You don’t have to go through the terrible teens.” And, I believed them. I actually thought that if I did everything “right” and followed the playbook that I could escape the tumultuous teen angst and rebellion.
Now, for those of you who have perfect teens who are serving God, submitting to you, and making godly choices then I truly applaud you. God has been merciful to you. For the rest of us, whether you are facing the challenges of teens or toddlers, the frustration and disappointment is the same. I think you need to hear that what you are facing is more “normal” than rearing the perfect child.
At least that is what I needed to hear. I received the sweetest note from Lisa, my pastor’s wife, last week. She didn’t go into gory details but she said enough to let me know that I am not alone. That is really all I needed. Could you use that same assurance?
Let me just put it this way – that same creativity that God has gifted Tucker with is the same “let’s break out of the box” mentality that keeps Tucker struggling with authority issues and rule-following. Haven’s decisive leadership and strength of character is a true blessing, until hormones flip the switch and it becomes bossy, controlling and argumentative. Clancy’s sweet compassion and emotional depth will be greatly used by the Lord if we/she can survive the emotional outbursts and roller-coaster sensitivities.
I adore my children and I have full confidence in the Lord. I believe with all of my heart that He is working in their lives. Some days that is just more of a faith statement than others. Raising kids is a process. Some days they truly are angels, they get along, we get along, and life is good. Other days, well…
Let’s just say, I’ve been having more of those “other days” lately. The Lord reminded me of something last night. I was feeling weary, worn-out, and emotionally bankrupt after an especially upsetting “discussion” with Tucker. I told the Lord that I hadn’t felt this hopeless since those first few years of marriage. That is when the light bulb went on in my heart.
The greatest miracle I have ever personally witnessed was in the healing of my marriage. We had about five really hard years and then God miraculously put us back together and now I can’t imagine being any more happily married. Whenever I need to muster up faith for something that seems overwhelming I think about the work God did for us as man and wife.
I decided last night that I didn’t want to be like the Children of Israel. They would get hungry, then they would complain and lose hope, and then God would do a miracle and provide for them. Then they would get hungry again, (obviously forget what God did the time before,) complain, lose hope and then God would mercifully do another miracle.
I’m not going to do that. I’ve been in the wilderness before. I’ve been scared, in the dark, desperate, and without strength on my own. And God showed up and performed a miracle on my behalf. So, I’m going to get through this wilderness time called “The Teenage Years” by trusting God, looking to Him as my Source, and rejoicing in all things.
I don’t know how long this trial will last and I’m not going to tell God when or how to provide. I’m simply going to trust. If this takes years of struggle then I am going to believe that He is working something of greater purpose in our character that couldn’t happen if the road was easy.
I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this struggle wasn’t for you. I know that my frustration and disappointment over Tucker not responding to traditional child-rearing methods resulted in me crying out to God for help. I was eventually able to share His “Creative Correction” help with some of you. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn some stuff through our current “wanderings” that will be beneficial to you.
In the meantime, I hope that just knowing that you are not alone if your kids aren’t perfect is help enough for today.
Posted by weblion at 06:36 AM