The Best Gift You Can Give Your 20-Something

Having had four teenagers under one roof at the same time, I know what it was like to literally feel as though every second was accounted for. I took my role as Mom seriously having given up a corporate job when my kids were little. For me, motherhood became a passion, a calling that I was going to strive to do to the best of my ability. I’ve packed lunches, driven to more sporting events than I care to admit, sat and talked until the wee hours of the morning with an upset teen, attempted to keep the house clean, tried to keep food on the table (that’s hard with three boys to feed!) and, well, you get the picture.

Then all of a sudden, the house got silent…deathly silent. The house stayed clean. There were only two sets of dishes. Laundry could be done in three loads once a week instead of being a full-time job.

I was lucky! I got an inkling of what goes on in those 20-something heads when they first started to leave the nest.

It all began with my oldest, right before he moved out of the house for that permanent transition.

“Mom, what are you going to do with all your time when we’re all gone? You’ve spent your life doing for us. What are you going to do for you?”

It was an innocent question that I thought was so endearing. He was worried about me? I gave him a laundry list of all the things that I needed to catch up on. You know, that list of things you wish you could get done but never have time for while you have kids in the house.

He called me one day about a month or so after moving out. We spent most of time talking about his new job, his apartment, his friends and all the other “new” in his life. After he caught me up on everything that was happening in his world, he asked me, “So, Mom, what did you do today?”

Even though I had accomplished quite a bit by my expectation: cleaned out the closet, paid the bills, fixed three meals and cleaned up the kitchen, had my quiet time, talked to a friend, picked up his brother from school…I could tell he wanted more. He was looking for something exciting in my life.

As I contemplated the conversation later, the light bulb went on! “Oh, I get it! He wants to be free to go live his life now!”

By the time my fourth was leaving for college, I was prepared for the conversation that took place.

“Mom, what are you going to do with all your time when I’m gone? It’s time for you to do something for you!”

I had a plan in place. “I’m going to work for a ministry, Michael. I’m going to do what God is calling me to do.” And I excitedly started sharing my anticipation of the days ahead when he left. His shoulders relaxed–and a smile came to his face–he seemed content.

It was okay to leave.

Now, on days when my kids call, I can share with them how I’ve spent my time. I share with excitement…because they are interested! They want to know that I’m passionately living my life!

What I’ve come to realize is that most kids need the freedom to “fly from the nest” knowing that we’ll have a life outside of theirs. While they are flapping their wings, they want us to soar too. If we are happy and busily engaged in our own lives (of course, still leaving room for them), doing something productive, we’ll still have lots to talk about even though we aren’t intimately involved in the daily activity of their lives.

One of the best gifts we can give our 20-somethings is the assurance that we will thrive even though we aren’t part of their daily lives.

Proverbs 31:28-29

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

“Let go…and let God,”


 

The Respect Dare – Dare 18 – Does Fear Have a Grip on You? – For Parents of Tweens & Teens

“Cassie, you’re not going to that party! You know how we feel about these high school parties. We don’t know the parents or the students,” Marsha responded. “We’ve got plans that evening anyway.”

“Why is it we always have plans when I want to do something? What is it we’re doing?”

“I’m waiting for your dad to let me know. I’m guessing we’ll go to eat after the game. You’re welcome to invite a friend to go with us.”

“Mom, everyone in the band always goes to the party. All my friends will be there. They are always chaperoned by band parents so what’s the big deal? You act as if something bad will be going on! It’s like you always plan something so I can’t have any fun with my friends!”

And with that Cassie stormed to her bedroom and slammed the door.

A couple of hours later, Brandon, Marsha’s high school junior, came bounding into the laundry room. “Mom, I’m heading over to Adam’s for a few hours to work on Chemistry.”

“How are you getting there?”

“You said you were going to be doing laundry the rest of the afternoon. I thought I would just take your car since you won’t be driving it. Is that okay?”

“Where does he live?”

“Not too far. He’s about 10 minutes away toward Saltair.”

“I don’t know, son. Maybe I should take you. Those roads are pretty narrow and that bridge at the bottom of that curve scares me. I’ll just grab my purse and take you over there. I might need the car anyway.”

“Mom, you’ve got to be kidding! I’m 17 for heaven’s sake. Why can’t I just drive over there myself?”

“Brandon, my job is to keep you safe. I need to pick up a gallon of milk anyway, so this way I can get it on the way back.”

“Mom, I’ll just bring some home when we’re through studying.”

“Honey, I need it to fix dinner.”

“I know you are just making that up so you have to drive me!”
he flung the words at her as he grabbed his book bag.

As Marsha and Ron were climbing into bed that evening, Ron asked, “Honey, what was going on at dinner tonight? Both Cassie and Adam were in such foul moods. Anything I should know about?”

“I’m just tired of both of them asking to do things that are just not safe!” she mumbled. I feel like I always have to be on guard to make sure I have an alternative to their request. Cassie wants to go to one of those high school parties after Friday night’s game and today I had to drive Brandon over to a friend’s house because he thought he could drive on that narrow winding road down by the river! It just exhausts me! They just don’t understand all the horrible things that can happen to them.

“So I’m assuming both of them were upset because you told them both “no” to their requests?”

“Yes! I always have to be the bad guy.”

“Marsha, Adam is 17 and Cassie will be 16 in a couple of months. When are you going to let go?”

“So you think I should have said “yes”! You’ve got to be kidding! I’m not going to let my 15 year old daughter go to a party after the game where I don’t know the parents or the kids! And Adam needs more driving experience before he drives on that road!”

“Honey, so when are we going to let go?”

I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

As parents, some of us have more difficulty than others of letting our children grow up. Part of it could be our upbringing if we grew up in a home where fear was passed on to us by our parents. Others of us struggle because of something horrific that has happened, so we constantly have a nagging sense of fear that is hard to get past. Whatever the circumstance, I would encourage to ask yourself if it is time to start letting go. Our tweens and teens need to know that we trust them. They need to know that we want to protect them…but beware of holding on too tight.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dare you to assess whether you respect your tweens and teens enough to loosen the reins if you are holding on out of fear.

“Let go…and let God,”


Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.

 

 

 


Emotional Relationships—Ready to Ignite!

I didn’t blog Friday…and that’s probably a good thing.

Oh, I had my blog written in my head. But the more I mulled it over, the more I realized that my emotion was getting in the way of truth.

I had even given voice to my frustration to my husband the night before. Being a good listener, he empathized with what was happening to me. He agreed…it wasn’t fair.

The anger came tumbling out…

“How dare these people I love take more and more of me…I feel used up by them!”

“Why does my twenty-something make choices that don’t line up with what we taught them. And then it is Mom who has to come to the rescue. Don’t they realize how embarrassed I am by their behavior? Don’t they consider how I feel? Do they even take into consideration that my time and resources aren’t something I owe them?”

Then there was the friend who made a decision that hurt terribly! No thought to how I would feel in the circumstances she was putting me in. “I do so much for her!”

Those emotions of the week continued to trigger a barrage of “woe is me” feelings.

Like the feeling from unresolved conflict with a brother who chooses to avoid rather than deal with the situation…

Like the memory from childhood where my family ignored my feelings and let me suffer…alone.

And before I knew it…I was having my own pity party.

I’ve learned to no longer take action when my emotions are raw from anger…hurt…and sadness.

Typically, when I get to this point I start having a dialog with myself. I’m sure you can relate — the logic versus emotion conversation where I finally can get my brain to focus on finding truth. What would scripture say about this situation? Should I hold my tongue or speak truth in love? To simplify…what would Jesus do? Or more specifically, what would Jesus have me do?

Sometimes my emotions are strong…they run deep…but luckily, in addition to going to scripture and having dialog with God who gives me strength in these situations, He has blessed me with a wise friend. She knows me well and is willing to walk beside me giving me outside, non-emotional perspective that allows me to think. She helps me to put truth to my emotion.

Friday was no different. My friend was there, ready to provide prospective. “If you take that action, what do you think will happen to the relationship? What other options could you take?” Then the final question… “What does God want you to learn from this situation?”

Ouch!

If I truly believe that God works all things together for our good, (Romans 8:28), then what is He trying to teach me here? How does He want me to grow through this situation?

As I continue to ponder all the emotion, scripture, and my friend’s questions, I remember Jesus’ words to Peter…

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Duh… the world doesn’t revolve around me.

Hopefully my reaction to my twenty-something’s behavior will show a maturity that comes from my walk with Him. My friend may have done something that upset me, but I need to understand that she has been under a lot of stress. She didn’t intentionally try to hurt me. My brother is on a spiritual journey just like I am and I need to extend him grace for where he is. And in my role as a wife, a daughter, or even an acquaintance, I need to allow others to do and say things without being ready to detonate the emotional bomb sending shrapnel to whoever is in my line of fire.

Dare you to learn what triggers your emotions to ignite.

Double dare you to share with us what steps you take to move your emotion to a logical conclusion.

Learning that it is up to me to control my emotions.

“Let go…and let God.”

Debbie

Matthew 18:21-22 in the new King James version of the Bible reads: Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? U

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