I so wish I could read my daughter’s mind. She has always been open with me but there are times this last year or so when she shuts herself up tight, doesn’t want me to ask questions, doesn’t want to share her heart. She doesn’t need help or advice, just wants me to leave her alone. I get frustrated but I’ve learned to think back to the 16-year-old Mimi and try to remember how I felt about things, how I felt about my parents and my increasing independence, the things that were important to me, etc. It really settles me down and results in patience.
We’re at an exciting crossroads for our family but right now. If you could take a photo of our emotions it would look like this: John is elated, Mimi is pretty hopeful, Kimmi and Kaitlin are happy for us and Krissy is sad, angry and withdrawn. Rather than press her right now I’m just praying for her. I remember when I was a teen, my dad told our family that he was going back into the pastorate and that probably meant we’d be moving sometime. That news alone was enough to upset me. I remember turning my head to look out the window as we all sat around the dinner table so he wouldn’t see my eyes tearing up. THEN, to top it off, he ended up trying out at a church across town. That meant that I would have to leave the youth group I loved and go to a different youth group in the same town! That’s even worse than moving out-of-town! I can so clearly remember my thoughts, “They’re probably really dorky.” “This is totally unfair!” “I don’t want to go.” “Why does dad have to change jobs anyway?” “How can he do this to me?”
I don’t remember my parents getting after me to change my mind, we just went to the candidating weekend. Once we were there and I met the lovely people of that church across town, I thought “well, maybe this won’t be so bad.” And after years of doing life together with their loving arms draped around my shoulders as I went to college, got married and had babies, they are still some of my all-time favorite people. I can’t imagine our life if we hadn’t gone to pastor that church and been introduced to all of them.
I’m praying Jesus, who knows the teenage heart and mind better than anyone, will draw her near and she’ll lean on Him since she doesn’t want to lean on us right now. I’m praying through this she’ll learn ever more how He is not only her Savior, but also her friend. I’m praying she’ll learn more about surrender and how it’s tied to our trust in God, believing He wants the best for us. I’m trusting God to bring her through, just like He did for me.
We adults were all teens once. When aggravated, befuddled, infuriated, or annoyed by our teenage kids, it helps to remember.