The Dramatic Pause: Life With Teenagers

I had such a busy day sprawled out ahead of me. Staff meetings. Orthodontist appointments. Rehearsal. Dance class. And the little thing we like to call ‘work’ was mixed in the middle of it all. Praise God for whoever invented the crock pot.

I rushed out of my staff meeting early to pick my teenager up for a routine orthodontist appointment. I expected to drop in and drop out and be done in under an hour. But, of course they were backed up with patients today. No worries. More time to waste on social media.

When my daughter finally emerged from her good old-fashioned tooth straightening, I was ready to send her straight back to school. There were still miles to go before I could sleep.

But she said, “I’m hungry and I’ve missed lunch at school.”

“So, eat the lunch I packed for you this morning. You can eat it in the car.”

<Enter dramatic pause>

“You were hoping I’d take you out for lunch weren’t you?”

Teenagers always seem to have a way of planning everything around food. It’s never “Who will be there?” or “What time should I be ready?” It’s always, “What will we have to eat there?” I am very certain that my children ask me, “What’s for dinner” more than any other single question and at multiple times during the day. I suppose they think I may change the menu or worse yet, forget to feed them.

But she got lucky today. I was hungry myself and there was nothing waiting for me back at the office. So, I let her choose a place that I could drive through and send her on her way.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I was gently reminded that these times are fleeting. I will not have many more precious moments and requests for a lunch date before my beautiful girl goes off to college in a couple years. So, I seized the moment and offered to dine-in. She gladly accepted the invitation. I know it was more to avoid returning to AP History class, but a mother can pretend that her company is appreciated even by her 15yo daughter.

I am so glad she accepted my invitation. We are both so busy. It felt so good to spend an uninterrupted moment with her. It was there sitting across from my baby girl as she dove into a pile of greasy french fries that she took my breath away. I had forgotten how gorgeous her eyes are. God gave her the most amazing colored eyes speckled with greens and blues, all trimmed with a deep indigo rim. One day some undeserving boy will look into them and sweep her off her feet.

But not today. Today when I asked her how she was she answered with the generic, “Fine.”

And then followed it with another dramatic pause. She’s good at that.

Whenever she starts a sentence with, “Soooo….” I know I am in for a very long discussion.

She was very troubled by something a friend of hers had trusted to her. It was between sips of her Dr. Pepper that she spilled some very heavy information to me. She kept telling me about the situation and I just listened and tried to offer advice when she asked for it. I couldn’t help but think how very lucky I am to have a daughter who is a). Willing to be seen eating french fries with me and b). Still seeking advice from me in her teen years.

While she was talking I remembered back to when she was a doll-baby and she’d talk and talk and talk to me about the most random things. And I think because I listened to her when her biggest problems involved imaginary friends, she can trust me even more now when her friends are very real.

Let us never discount the importance of even the smallest things in our children’s lives. For if they can trust us with the small things, they will be more likely to trust us with the big ugly things later. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather my kids trust me with the big ugly stuff than to trust the rest of this world.

I am so very glad I took a few more moments in my day to eat lunch with one of my most favorite people. It eased a bit of her burdens to talk some things out. And if the truth be told, it eased some of mine too. I’m not a perfect mom. I mess up a lot. I yell at my kids and forget to sign permission forms, etc. But I like to think I got it right today. In the middle of a crazy Tuesday, I took the road less traveled by way of a fast food restaurant and it made all the difference.

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Three Reasons Why Failing In 2018 Will Be Ok

Raise your hand if you have already messed up on the changes you decided to make in 2018.

Really?! You too? I thought I was the only one!

I don’t make resolutions anymore for this very reason. I make things easier and choose just one word or theme to focus on to improve my life. Seems so simple.

Turns out, I can screw that up too!

So here I am, being so very human and feeling like I can’t do anything right. I can’t even go a couple days without slipping back into my old comfy place. The place where nothing grows. I’m beating myself up about how much discipline I lack.

“Lord, I’m such a failure! I can’t even make it a week without failing!”

I felt like giving up. Already.

What’s the point? I set out to do something and I didn’t do it. Barely even a week into the New Year and I wish I could start over. I wish I didn’t have a blemish already.

That’s when God reminded me of three things to make a do-over not only possible, but Biblical.

God Doesn’t Work On A Timeline

He’s eternal. There’s no 2018 on God’s time. There’s no New Year to celebrate or agenda to keep. Sure, he separated the day from the night and set the Earth into a rhythm of 365. But that was for our feeble little human minds to help compartmentalize our lives.

If we’re living for eternity, then a couple days in January when life got a little nuts and we lost focus of our goals is a mere speck compared to God’s grand scheme of things.

And since He doesn’t have a timeline, anytime is a good time for a fresh start.

Psalm 102:12

God is Omnipresent

It doesn’t matter if you’re at work or in the car on the way, God is there for your turn-around. I used to tell my kids that God is everywhere, even in the bathtub. They used to think that was silly, but God has shown up in big ways many times while I was in the shower.

There’s no place like the present to get a do-over. Don’t wait to get home from work, vacation or even to finish reading this paragraph. If you need a fresh start, take it now! God’s here. And He’s staying here. He’s waiting for you to make the move.

Psalm 139: 7-10

God’s Mercy is New Every Morning Not Just On January 1st.

This one is my favorite. Nothing screams “fresh start” like a beautiful sunrise. Early morning dew.  Crisp, clean air.

And, oh so many nights I have gone to bed feeling deflated, defeated, exhausted and discouraged only to wake up feeling refreshed and hopeful for a new day. I am not a morning person and I never will be, but I have found myself clinging to the promise of a new day more times than I can count. It helps me to know that however I failed today, I get a clean slate in the morning. Every day of the year.

Lamentations 3: 22-23

So, we’re only a few days into a brand new year and I am bound to screw up another 364 times. But I know that our God is always there ready to give fresh mercies whenever we need them.

Forever and ever. Amen.

 

I’d love to hear from you. Check out the comments and let me know how God is working already in your life in 2018.

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