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Cultivating Friendship With Your Teen (especially Sons) - Part 2

A full day was behind us and as the sun was slipping away, I wondered when I too would get to slip away for some quiet time. I was navigating new currents of motherhood, having now two teenagers, one at each end, 13 and 19 years. As our eldest moved into adulthood I had made the adjustments to meet the new changes on my time. Teenagers I was discovering, stayed awake longer and longer and were usually up after I was in bed. The tide seemed to be shifting again as our just turned 13 year old son was lasting past his bedtime, and was it that time already? It seemed as soon as we settled into one season the winds changed again and we needed to adjust our sails. Motherhood I was learning, was never a finish line, but a life long journey. There would always be new waters to charter, storms would come but calm seas would also carry us. I realised there would be no final docking until we see Christ and until that day I needed to make the most of every opportunity to come alongside my children.

Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognising and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence],

because the days are [filled with] evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

“I often must sacrifice my own needs and desires for the purpose of giving my children

what they need and modeling for them the depths of Christ's love. "...make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because

I believe it is God's will for me to serve my family through them.”  ― Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity

Motherhood was not what I had expected.

In fact, I had no expectation which was the problem, so when my children acted like children I was shocked, unprepared and lived in constant reaction. 'This is so tiring, it's non-stop; the laundry, cooking, cleaning, messes, squabbles, and they have tastes, opinions, hormones, personalities!', thoughts like these tried to dominate my mind. I had no framework, no pattern to follow. I'd never seen the life-giving model of parenting around me and was left to muddle through. I was lacking in training and as a result fell short in spiritual strength and maturity. I did not understand motherhood would require so much from me for all of my life and not just the time slots I allocated around my other pursuits. I had God, the Holy Spirit and my bible but I'd never had anyone point me to Christ as my example in parenting.

Jesus was my personal Saviour but I hadn't considered how he could save my parenting.

It was mostly a dead letter to me as I reached for books, formulas, lists, all scripture filled yet often 

void of the love and life of Christ. Many voices pointed out what I should be doing to 'train them up in the way they should go' but neglected to disciple me personally. Most advice was pointing at my children and what they should be doing but not encouraging me to look to Jesus and start with pointing at myself, examining and discipling my own heart and relationship with God. I'm deeply grateful to God for his grace over those early years, he filled alot of cracks! Love really does cover a multitude of sins.

Maybe you're here today and you're exhausted, feeling defeated, overwhelmed, lonely, or like a failure? These are thoughts and feelings common to every mother. Maybe you have a child with SEN, physical disabilities, a child who has left home in anger. Have you seen baby Jack Jack in the Incredibles? That's how I feel at times when my out-of-the-box child does something unexpected and new! But maybe they can go on to be 'the most powerful Super ever?' as we prayerfully consider them, seek to understand their hearts and commit to walk alongside them no matter what the cost. As we ask the Lord to grow and mature us as disciples he will help us see more clearly to lead the disciples in our homes towards him.

I hope you found last week's blog encouraging, for me it was so foundational, if you missed it I'd encourage you to go back and read Part 1. You see I used to have high ideals but I wasn't exceeding those ideals with higher grace. Like so many other mums I had a deep, sincere desire to please God, to 

'do the right thing', tick all the boxes, but I was in danger of becoming lifeless and legalistic. This is why lists and formulas can be so harmful, we need to be encouraged to model and follow Jesus not follow models.  This is why I'll include a Caveat for Part 2 :--

There are no magic bullets, we need to walk by faith not formulas because our children are all different, and that encourages us to trust in the Lord. We can ask God to show us keys into their hearts,they're the children which he's entrusted to us and he knows them inside out. Remember no one person has got all the answers or 'arrived' so we're seeking progress not perfection. 

But we can imitate those who imitate Christ, we can follow their pattern of living and learn some 

encouragement along the way. I am so deeply grateful for the right mentoring voices in my life today.