Parenting is hard. Parenting a teenage girl is like watching home movie reels of yourself and wanting to write a different ending. I was an atrocious teenager. For example, if you thought of the worst kid your kid could hang out with in high school and then look them up in the yearbook, there would be a picture of me. It’s not like I was rowdy or destructive. I was self-destructive. Which is the worst kind. I was a lost girl. A sad girl. I was every youth pastor’s worst nightmare. I put on the best front. Attending mass with my parents. Going on retreats. Holding part time jobs since I was 14. So to some I was the friend you wanted for your son or daughter. But I should have worn a shirt that said “Run away from me!”
The regrets I have are overwhelming and if I didn’t bathe in God’s grace I would drown in them. But the thing is, my daughter is the age that I was when thing started to go downhill on the back of a motorcycle. And the correlations are frightening. She looks just like my sister with the personality of me now. Not the me before Jesus, but the” I want to change the world” traits. For that I am grateful. But I am scared.
I sit and listen to my husband discussing the latest dilemma with our oldest for hours last night and I just pray. I can hear her say how unfair we are. How strict. How we don’t trust her. I hear her plead to be trusted. And then I hear my husband answer we do. We do trust you. But God trusts us to make decisions for you that you may or may not agree with. You don’t have to. That is because we are your parents and not your friends. We will always be your biggest cheerleaders. We wish we could be the “yes” parents. But we know that it would be the worst thing for you. Yes, we do ask for advice from those that we admire as parents and people. We do let you be with your friends and hang out with them .But you know our rules. No dances. No dating. You have to introduce us to them. You are not supposed to be or look like the world and God will honor your obedience. We love you so much and will do whatever we can to make sure that Jesus is evident in your life. Please don’t forget that. We adore you.
I sit on the couch and just thank God that I have a calm and collected husband. Because if I had the chance I would just let her know that this was not my first rodeo and everything she was trying to pull with us I had done. And done it way better. I would also let her know that I had already filled out an application for her to join a convent in the hills of France. I am sure all of that would have gone over real well.
Instead I heard crying. And hugging. And blowing of noses.
I did not say a word. I think God made me sit on that couch and just be a listener. A learner. Teaching me that she is not you. She will make mistakes. She will make decisions that you don’t agree with. I would imagine that Jesus would softly whisper to me… But here is your chance. Here is your chance to show her the waterfall of grace that I have poured over you. Rest in this. She is mine and I adore her more.