The youngest child started high school this week.
When I started this blog, my oldest was in 5th grade and my daughter was in 1st, I believe.
Goodness, they say time flies. It is true.
I have been preparing for this day for a long time. Since 2009, to be exact.
My oldest nephew left for college that Fall, and my sister literally fell apart.
She had never ever had separation anxiety from her children. So, I KNEW I better start praying every day for when that season came in my life.
10 years later, here we are.
My oldest will move into his dorm this upcoming Saturday.
Here are some things I have realized as I mother teenagers....
you will go back to sleepless nights. just like you did when they were babies. trust me, you will not be able to sleep once they start driving. until they finally arrive home for the evening, sleep will elude you. i was recently reminded of this scripture. such a perfect picture of God's love for us. He never sleeps either! so, relax, you are in good company.
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. Psalm 121:3-4
you will doubt yourself and your parenting. daily. you will question and re-question your decisions. this is where much much much prayer will come in. seek the Lord daily, minute by minute on their behalf. He will lead you, but you must ask Him. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
you will find yourself (especially on the older end of the teenage years) wanting to spend more and more time with them. they are little adults and their personalities are so much fun to explore and discover. you will even get your feelings hurt a few times when they choose their friends over you. this is normal. stay away from guilt-throwing. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
you will have to daily depend on Jesus for your worth and value. the less your children need you, the more you start to question your purpose and your worth. you will often feel lost and get this overwhelming feeling of "what next?" don't stay in that place. read your bible and read His Truth over your life every single day. surround yourself with godly mentors and friendships to pour into you. you will need them. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
pray. and pray some more. i never ever ever thought it was possible to pray without ceasing as Paul instructs us. you will soon find out, it is very possible. and quite possibly the only thing that will keep you sane.
keep pouring into them. they will roll their eyes and look away and mumble things under their breath when you have another "teaching" lesson. do it anyway. relate everyday thing back to the bible and stories from the bible. like, david, or paul, or esther. they will get tired of these stories, but tell them anyway. they are sponges and they will soak it up whether they want to or not.
walk the walk, and don't just talk the talk. this is by far, hands down, the hardest to do. our kids are always watching. soaking things in. how do we treat people? how well do we serve others? how do we speak of our parents and to our parents (their grandparents). be careful, they will speak about you the same way you speak about your parents one day. so, make it wholesome and good. point out the good in all people, and stay away from insulting others in front of your children. they will repeat your actions and it just may fall back on you. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
take advantage of any time you have with them. when they are little, try not to give them headphones and an ipad all of the time in the car. use that time to talk to them. tell them stories. learn scripture and make songs out of the scripture. my kids and i used to do this every day on the long car ride to school. we lived 22 minutes from the school. yes, i wanted to just have some peace and quiet without having to talk, but i KNEW it was precious time to pour into them. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17
get to know your children. ask them questions. check their devices. REGULARLY. let them know that you check it often. this will create accountability and make them think twice. know their social media accounts. check to see if they have accounts that you don't know about. this is not being nosey, it is parenting. check to see who follows them and who they follow. be vigilant about this. kids want a lot of followers, so they often will pay to get them. this creates a very big breach in their privacy. Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2
we have had a family rule since phones were introduced to our children. they do not go to sleep with their phones in their rooms. at a certain time each evening their phones have to be "turned in" for the night. no child or teenager needs their phone while they sleep. it will only create sleep disruptions and can also create temptations for our kids. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
side note--a dear friend of my son's joined our family at the beach one summer. the boy was 16 at the time. his precious mother called me to request that I take her son's phone up at night. i told her i certainly would, and in fact we had the same rule. your teenager is never too old for rules and safety.
listen to your own parents. when they notice things about you or your children, listen. we often think we know more than they do, but we really do not. they love you and your children more than anyone else on this earth. heed their wisdom and advice. they often notice things before we as parents do. years ago, my mother told me that i was on my phone too much when i was with her. i was defensive at first. i told her i had "important" things to do. she looked at me and then looked back at my children strapped in their car seats and said, "are we not important?" i will never forget that day. it made an impact on my heart and i heeded her wisdom. far from perfect in this area, i strive to be present. limiting phone time dramatically when with my loved ones. “ . Then you will live a long, full life in the land the God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
These are just a few thoughts I am having today. I am sure this will not be the last time you hear me trying to share what I am learning through mothering.
Keep in mind, precious mothers, motherhood is a calling. A very high calling. Nothing on earth, besides Jesus and your marriage, comes before this incredible duty.
Guard your nest. Pray over it daily. Protect it. Love it. Nurture it. Take care of it. Defend it.
back to the birthday fun,