Letting Your Teen Go…A New Kind of Stretch Marks

My family and friends were at a restaurant playfully bantering, as is our custom. We are a lippy sort of crowd with (mostly) good-natured jokes and jabs flying often. After one such mother-daughter volley, my Very-Ready-To-Go-Senior turned to her friend and said, “Only six more months. I only have to listen to this for Six. More. Months!”   The whole table erupted in a knowing laughter. Including me. Except as suddenly as we laughed, tears started falling from my eyes. I mean, falling. Like rats jumping from a sinking ship. The laughter turned into this weird, awkward “Mom are you okay??”

I looked to Chuck for rescue. I didn’t even know what had happened in this blink of a eye. His eyes softened and he put an understanding hand on my arm. “Mama,” he said in a tender voice, “you gonna be okay?”

Oh, now I see why the rats were jumping!  The ship WAS sinking. Sinking.  “Sure, sure,” I choked out and immediately excused myself from the table to go cry in the bathroom.

Six months. My girl was going to be gone in six short months. I sat in the stall snorting and snotting and tried to remember the last time I felt this out of control of my own body. Oh that’s right. When I was pregnant.  Then, like now, there was a human being inside of me wrestling to get out, and I was trying to maintain my own mental stability while someone else was literally trying pull the life out of me.IMG_6854

I just want to say, very kindly for the record, the parenting books lied. At the very least, they lied by omission. They never forewarned us of the painful parallels. No one ever explained how the birthing process didn’t end at delivery and this grown up launching hurts every bit as much as labor. Liars.

They neglected to tell us that the incredible tension between “within you, a part you” and “outside of you, a part of you” never leaves. Did you hear me? It never leaves. Remember the internal battle?  How the warm fuzzy “I love creating new life” feeling warred against the “get this kid out of me” reality. I experience this same supercharged battle every day with my woman-child who is now kicking at the wall of my heart and home the same way she kicked at the wall of my womb.

I catch myself just looking at her like I did when she was a newborn. Of course she won’t let me hold her like I did then. But I try to soak her in, to capture every detail of how she has grown and changed, fully aware she is not done growing and changing. Only from here on out, I won’t have a front row seat.

Whew. There is that lump again. The out of nowhere lump in my throat that keeps catching me off guard. It beckons just like a contraction, a painful reminder that an inevitable life-change is on the horizon. And we are never going back to the way it was.  The other day, I was making work plans for the fall when the “contraction” hit. I had to stop and swallow down some maternal wail because, for the first time in 18 years, my plans would not involve my daughter.

Gulp. Sniff.

Here are a couple of God kisses for you mamas on the same heartwrecking roller coaster I am, and a little heads up for you mamas following close behind.

“There’s No Magic Formula.”

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It Leads Only to Evil

Talk about a wake up call. I was reading Psalm 37 and although I have read this Psalm a hundred times, I saw a line I had never seen. But first a little background. I was stressed out, striving and sick about it. I needed help and wanted answers, NOW!  Guess what? God doesn’t always have “NOW” on His clock, so I was really upset. I went to the scripture for comfort, for perspective. And sure enough Psalm 37 delivered both.

 “Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness
shine like the dawn
the justice of your cause like
the noonday  sun.

So rich is the word of God. Trust, delight, commit, shine. He will do this. The next passage is about being still and waiting patiently for Him. Yes, it was a comfort. It was a God perspective that I needed.

But then came the cold water splashing in my face. “Do not fret — it leads only to evil.”

Just look at those words. Say them out loud. Do not fret. It LEADS only to evil. It leads ONLY to evil. It leads only to EVIL.  I have never considered it before, but it’s true. Fretting leads to gossip, manipulation, deception, stealing, striving, quitting, settling, doubting, coping, addiction, etc.

This is not what God wants for us. Honestly it is not what we want for us but it is what our minds lead us to if we are not centered on trusting God. He promises us rest and hope, “For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Focus on the face of God and not on the circumstances. Allow yourself to feel His hands holding you instead of wringing your own.  Be mindful of your mind. Ask the Lord to keep you.

Delicious Deception

There is a lot of effort, advice, and energy surrounding our issues.  I am thinking of food in particular. It is a tragic trend to study.

Chuck and I have seen the odd parallel rise among the sexes. As men turned to porn for relief, excitement and comfort, women turned to food for the same. For both there exists a deception of love and acceptance.  We form “relationship” with an object. We turn to a seductive picture of a body and how it promises to momentarily makes us feel. We turn to a seductive picture of a food item and how it promises to momentarily make us feel.

I kid you not in Walmart last year, there was a calendar display that stopped me suddenly. Side by side. Maxim and Desserts. It was such a telling moment. Two different calendars, one simple lie. A year full of fantasy.

What flavor ? Red head or strawberry? Brunette or banana split?

For both sexes, the compass of True North is broken.  Or maybe instead of True North, the compass of Truth is broken.  We turn to something other than Truth to define, comfort, heal us.

Sure, sure we know that. We only have to look at our out of whack minds and bodies to see this doesn’t work. But now what? Is joining another “don’t touch, don’t eat” group going to really heal the hurt and hunger inside?

For today, I want to suggest you begin a conversation with God and ask Him: Where do I go when I hurt?

It is not a quick conversation. But a slow dawning. Like the sun coming up, the sky goes from black to gray to full light. Ask the Lord to bring you revelation. Before you tear down idols, you have to know the Truth. So let’s begin there.

by Shane Barnard and Shane Everett

Clean I call you clean
I came to clean you and it’s done
Here’s a call to all who’ve
Felt disqualified to run
Pleasures flowing here and there
From my right hand
What’s mine is yours
Come behold all of who I am

You and I will run
You and I will run forever
All is done
You and I will run

Come with what you do not have
And buy what’s undeserved
Feast and drink, the bounty’s great
I know you hear
But have you heard
Have you heard

I’ve called you clean!
“I am dirty”
“So unworthy”
That’s what I’m wanting

You and I will run
You and I will run forever
All is done
You and I will run

“Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
(Is 55:1)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)