Navigating Motherhood Ministry, April 2016
As a mom of quite a few girls, I’ve been told several times, “Just wait until they are teens!” Which I think means, your girls may be sweet now, but teenage girls aren’t always so sweet. And that’s probably true — teenage girls (or teens in general, for that matter) come with their challenges.
But in all actuality, I’m not waiting until the teen years to think about teen issues, I very much think about them now. I’m plenty aware that their child-like flaws may become their exacerbated teen flaws. I realize their childhood weaknesses may become their teenage nemesis.
Without a doubt, what we let slide today, may become larger problems later.
In fact, just the other day, I was asking some friends to pray for one of my daughters, and I stated the request this way: “I’d love to make progress on this area before she becomes a teen!” Thankfully (in God’s kindness) it only took a week of prayer and intentionality to see major progress.
But I learned something very unexpected during that week of progress…
An Unexpected Lesson
During the week of working through the issues with my daughter, I learned that my daughter is not the only one whose character needs to be refined before the teen years hit. I need to be more sanctified before her teenage years hit!
What I mean is: if my kids’ issues get exacerbated when they are larger, louder, more hormonal and more independent (AKA a teen), my godliness as a mom will be more tested too. And let’s be honest, I already don’t respond perfectly when my buttons are pushed. So, if the button pushing will only get more painful, I need to be ready!
Thus I realized, these little lessons for my daughter are actually quite useful for me. Each current parenting challenge is an opportunity to grow in my ability to be a godly mom who can respond in a godly fashion—which will hopefully get me ready for the potentially harder challenges to come!
Just about any weakness we have as adults can be aggravated by our kids, especially when they are teens. If we struggle with trusting God, teens will give us something to worry about! If we struggle with patience, they will test it. If we struggle with irritability, they will get under our skin. Basically, If we have any “buttons,” they will know how to push them.
So the question is: Are you ready?
Are you confident you will respond to your future teen in a completely God-honoring way? Personally, I don’t want to wait to find out. I want to be armed and ready with more sanctification under my belt, I want a longer fuse, I want to be geared up with more godliness so I can be a faithful example to my pre-adult children.
Basically, I want the principles in James 1:2-4 to have already been applied to my parenting. James says,
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Picture the child-sized issues you deal with now as little trials. If you work through them with godliness, you are essentially developing the steadfastness James speaks of… Which leads to more and more maturity, such that our character can eventually be lacking in nothing!
Is that not the kind of parents we want to be? Realistically, we want to be extra godly as soon as possible! But the teen years can be that extra motivation we need — because parenting probably will get harder, so we should use all the opportunities we can to get ready!
My fellow moms of pre-teens, let’s get ready for those teen years now!