Go For the Wall

On the way home, 12 year old Matt looked at me and said, “Mom, I don’t want to swim this summer! I’m done!”

“Matt, you’ve always loved swimming! You’ve broken several meet records. Your coach says you have the ability to make it to the top. Why would you give that up?”

“It’s boring. I just don’t want to do it anymore.”

“Matt, remember that swim meet where you were in the lead and then ended up in fourth place? Remember? What did the coach tell you?”

“I know, Mom. Go for the wall and don’t look side to side,” he mumbled.

“Is that what you are doing? Are you going for the wall or looking side to side here? The coach keeps telling you you’re one of the best. We all see it. Why would you give that up?

The volume of Matt’s voice filled the car.

“This isn’t about looking at anything but me, Mom! It’s about me! I spend every day after school in the water and then the weekends are taken up with swim meets. I’ve done it for five years! I want to do something different! You can’t make me keep doing this! I’m quitting!!”

As a parent, these moments make me cringe. I want success for my child.

I want him to find something where he can excel!

 I like the camaraderie of the team.

 I love to watch when my child is at the top!

 My job is to make sure he stays in the game.

Or is it?

 “Of course, you aren’t quitting the swim team, son! We’ve invested a lot of money into this and you have potential for a college scholarship! Your coach has told us we would be crazy to let you quit now! No way should you be thinking of quitting,” his dad lectured. “Here’s what we’ll do. I know that practice starts at 6:30 in the morning this summer. I’ll go with you. We’ll take a thermos of hot chocolate. We’ll do it together son.”

The chilly summer mornings continued. Day after day Matt and Dave got up early to go to practice. Each morning Matt came home looking miserable.

 I shared what was going on with my friends from the team.

 “Of course you can’t let him quit. He’s a critical member of the team.”

“I wish my son had Matt’s talent. You would be stupid to let him quit.”

 And the comments were the same everywhere I turned.

 As I spent time alone with God, I sensed Him saying. “What is the goal, Debbie? Is getting a free ride to college more important than your relationship with Matt? Why do you want him to continue to swim when he doesn’t want to? Is this about what others are telling you is best for Matt? Are your plans for him more important than mine?”

 Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, know that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It Is Christ whom you serve.

As I contemplated the questions that were spinning in my head, I felt a peace that it was time to let the swim team go. Guess I needed to talk to Dave. I needed his buy-in to the decision. “Lord, if this is the right decision, give me your words to change his mind.”

 “Dave, I know that you would like Matt to continue swimming. So would I. But I think we should look at the big picture. You know how you always told Matt to go for the wall and not look side to side? What is the wall? Is it a scholarship or a good relationship with Matt that will last a lifetime?”

 “I think I have been looking side to side too much,” I continued. I’ve been asking everyone else’s opinion rather than figuring out what the real wall is. Would you do me a favor and spend some time asking God what the goal is and then let’s talk?”

 “Debbie, we don’t need to talk. I’ve been praying every morning while Matt is in the water. He’s lost his enthusiasm. I’m almost more worried for you that he needs to quit, than I am for him. These swim moms have become your friends. He’s ready to disengage. You’re the one who needs to be ready to grieve the loss. Are you ready?”

BOTTOM LINE: There are a lot of good activities to be involved in, but are they ones that will help us reach the ultimate goal of relationship that will last a lifetime. Go for the wall, His wall, and don’t look side to sideJ

 DARE YOU to see if there are activities you tweens and teens are involved in that they are only pursuing because of your desires.

 DOUBLE DARE you to cultivate a time to listen to your tweens and teens. Are you giving them choices to make their own decisions on whether they’re still passionate about their activities?

 Learning that I sometimes need to give up my desires for my tweens and teens.

“Let go…and let God.”


Thanksgiving Stress!!!

With Thanksgiving just a day a way, I had no intention of blogging. Then I realized with a bit of sadness that Thanksgiving would be a lot different this year. This year I have time.

Not only do I have time…but I thought in addition to my blog I’d share some expert opinions (that includes me. LOL!) on Thanksgiving through the dating years. http://www.today.com/moms/awkward-or-just-awww-when-teens-bring-thanksgiving-date-2D11655366

Rather than a house full of tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings here for Thanksgiving, it will be the first year there will be just three of us.

Let me share how I am thankful for a table of three (even though I am sad!)

My oldest lives in Germany with his beautiful bride of almost two years! I am thankful that Matt is happily married and living his dream. We’ll Skype with him and Nora during dinner, letting Matt know that we fixed his favorite cranberry sauce in honor of him! Wow! Does it taste good!J. Wish you were here to share it with us.

My daughter is going to have Thanksgiving with her boyfriend in Dayton. I am thankful that Andrea has a great job this year. Her boyfriend has graciously offered to drive her to work for the crazy work hours of the holiday season and Dayton is actually closer to where she’ll be working Thanksgiving eve. It makes sense for her to go with him even though we will miss her.

My third announced his engagement to his college sweetheart earlier this month! I’m thankful that Drew has been bringing Lori to our thanksgiving meal for the last several years. Drew and Lori will be working a soup kitchen in Columbus and eating dinner with her parents this year. Their empty chairs will remind us that things are changing. We’ll miss Drew’s homemade cheesecake he usually brings to the festivities, but I’ve promised Lori that I will save her some of my special mashed potatoes!

As I’ve contemplated what I can do to make this Thanksgiving special for Michael, my 20 year old, it has occurred to me that we won’t change a thing…except the quantity I fix.

  • We’ll still make homemade bread…in honor of Amelia BedeliaJ…and watch it rise.
  • We’ll still make Jello with layers of whipped cream and, of course, turtle pie.
  • And we’ll share our thankful bags…which have turned into stories of why each person in our family holds a special place in our heart.


We’ll plow through the newspaper ads and chart our course for shopping on Black Friday!! No…it is not about the hunt for that special item. It is about tradition! Something our family does for fun! We’ll eat breakfast out after having already shopped for hours…continue to wait in line…and come home exhausted to rest and put up the tree for the blessed Christmas season.

Enjoy the season, even knowing there will be stress…and disagreement…and frustration.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances.

When they are no longer home for the holiday…you’ll remember the good times and traditions!

DARE YOU to be thankful for all circumstances with your tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings!

This year I keep learning how to…

“Let go…and let God”


Lost in the Shuffle

I admit it. I’ve let myself get lost in the shuffle. Me…the parent!

Several years ago, God called me to write and walk beside other people who were doing this thing called parenting with tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings. When the timing was right, (i.e. kids were leaving the nest), I knew I’d have more time…finally…to do what God created me to do.

I put together my blog site…and I began writing. Slowly at first, but I started.

“Hey God, I’m doing what you told me to do!”

Excitement and energy welled up within me. I knew where I was heading and had lots of people rallying around me giving me momentum.

Then it happened. Life got in the way…actually, parenting got in the way.

You may be asking the question. “What? Aren’t your kids practically grown? At least they are all legal adults at this point!”

“Yes, but I’ve let their lives get in the way of doing what God has called me to do.

I actually realized today that it has been a year since I last posted. A sigh of sadness overwhelmed me. Yeah, I’ve been doing all the stuff I’m supposed to do…being a parent; but somewhere along the way, I’ve forgotten that God called me to do more than just parent.

When the kids are young, we pour our lives into them and somehow we’re all entwined. As they get older, they’re doing more on their own and for themselves. If we do things right…they grow up and move away.

But what happens when they come back?

I’ll admit, this past year my focus has been on things other than what God has called me to do. Don’t get me wrong…what I’ve been doing is part of my job description…a daughter who has moved back into town, a son who has moved out on his own, an engagement, several funerals, and the biggest time sink…a son who we brought home from college a year ago in massive pain. I’ve spent more time in doctor’s offices than I would even think possible. I’ve driven a son, who was on prescription medication, to and from college classes at the local university. And I’ve spent days in the hospital playing nurse during his spine surgery.

When I look back, I know I’ve done good and honorable things…but, somehow I’ve lost me.

Today a scripture keeps dogging me.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I admit this past year I’ve just been doing the next thing. Whatever my family brings my way, I set aside my desires and His calling and do what they need. But I need to remember…part of parenting is letting my kids know that sometimes they need to learn to be self-sufficient. Part of parenting is letting your kids know that you need a life too…outside of theirs.

Today something exciting happened…to me! A rejuvenation of who God created me to be. At first it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but then I realized it was! I had an opportunity to talk about parenting during the teen and young adult years on www.Today.Com.

And I was rejuvenated! I realized my passion again! And He showed me that I wasn’t doing what He called me to do. I had lost track of that. I need to put God first…not my kids. Yes, I need to create time for them, but as they grow older I need them to learn to not only depend on Him, but also expand their horizons with others who can meet their needs.

So here you have it…my commitment…to start blogging at least every Monday…and then two days a week…and then three. I want to walk beside you through the tough years of parenting.

Bottom line: Don’t forget yourself during the days of parenting. God has plans for your life. Don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Learning to live the life He calls me to lead.

“Let go and let God…”