We will be hitting a milestone this Sunday with our eldest turning 13. As I have been anticipating this new, adventurous stage in life, I am met with varying responses from people. From excitement and wonder to warnings and ominous admonitions (thankfully, more people are encouraging than discouraging). I want to share with you some truths in What I Have Learned Between Toddlerhood and Teens.
When She Was So Little
When Sarah was about to enter toddlerhood, I contemplated the concept of the “Terrible Twos” philosophy. I never felt comfortable referring to my daughter as a “Terrible Two” year old. I wondered if seeing her that way would be helpful to me as a mother or to her as a rambunctious child. If you didn’t know Sarah when she was little, then you don’t know that I’m not talking about a child who sat for more than 5 minutes with any activity. This little one would have her legs going in a full out run BEFORE her feet hit the floor.
In Walmart, she would struggle to get out of the cart. She loathed any kind of restraint. So, to stop her from making a scene, I would let her loose. She took off as soon as I released what I thought was my best death grip. And off she’d go…I’d find myself chasing after her, trying to grab her before she went too far. Then I’d go back to find my cart. I even tried one of those harnesses…you know the ones that look like your kid is on a leash. She’d have it on and I would release her from her jail cell (AKA the shopping cart). Her legs were still on the move so that when her little feet hit the floor, She’d be off. But this time, she could go only so far before her ‘leash’ pulled her back. I guess it was more like yanked her back and she landed on the floor on her bum. When I recall these times, I am reminded of that one SNL skit with Mike Meyers and Nicole Kidman.
You would think that this would stop her from running. But it didn’t. She’d just get right back up and try again. I was scared that someone would call social services on me, so I stopped using the leash.
This is the kind of toddler that would pull all of the books off the shelf right after I put them all back on – day in and day out, hour after hour. I finally just left the books on the floor until company would come.
Sarah would also deliberately throw her food on the floor. Not so bad at home with a vacuum cleaner dog to clean up the mess. But out at a restaurant is another story. Then, of course, she wouldn’t want to be restrained in her high hair. She would fuss and cry. We’d release her and off she’d go, running about the restaurant. It was HARD! She’d almost run into the servers with plates full of food and we’d get horrible glares from other patrons. We just stopped going out to eat.
Then there was the time she broke her arm and I was VERY pregnant with our son. I am 5’3″ and I wasn’t that big when I was pregnant with Sarah. But with our son, I was HUGE!
Sarah’s cast was plaster and very heavy. We’d have to go to the hospital for X-rays on her arm and appointments with the orthopaedic surgeon. And we’d wait…and wait…and wait…and Sarah would run…and run…and run. Up and down the halls; with her very pregnant mommy running after her. Since her cast was so heavy, it would propel her forward and she’d fly through the air and SPLAT on the floor. She’d cry and I’d pick her up to comfort her and then it would start all over again. I was so exhausted going to the hospital for these appointments that when the X-Ray showed her arm was completely healed and the surgeon confirmed it was healed, I waited another week and took her cast off myself. I was desperate and I’d had enough of waiting in that hospital.
I could have easily say she was in her ‘terrible twos’ stage, but really, what would I be saying over my child? What kind of curse would I be putting onto her?
Terrible Twos? Rebellious Teens?
So, going back to the “Terrible Two” philosophy……now you know my first born was very active. I just didn’t want to speak something negative over my child. I didn’t want her hearing that she was “Terrible” – that I thought she was terrible.
The same goes for the adolescent years. I don’t expect rebellion.
Will there be bumpy times?
Will we struggle?
Yes, we will have our challenges. I am not naive enough to think that these years will be candy floss and hot fudge sundaes. However, we will continue to do as we have always done, take issues to The Lord. We will seek His wisdom. We will bless Sarah. I am confident that her trust is in her Saviour. I know that Jesus is Lord of her life. She knows His word. She knows Him. I know this and I am confident that God holds her in His mighty hands. In hindsight, I am so thankful that I did not hold on to a philosophy that is damaging to a child. I held on to Christ.
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My house is covered in scarlet…the scarlet blood of Christ. My daughter has been covered by His precious blood. He’s got her covered. I can trust Him with her.
I laugh at the future! I delight in the days to come! I know who holds my future! I am clothes in the strength and dignity of my Heavenly Father – and this will be passed on to my daughter.
A Letter Of Love and Hope For My Daughter
Now, to my beautiful daughter, I write this…
Always run to the cross. Always have the cross in your sight. Stay close to Jesus. Don’t leave His side. He has already proven Himself faithful to you. You know the times I am speaking of, my SarBear. Never forget how He has come in to rescue you. He loves to rescue us. That is what He lives for! He is not diverted by our enemy. He tramples the enemy for us, so we may live in freedom and ultimate victory.
Never become self-reliant. We can’t do this life on our own. The moment you begin thinking you can do it all on your own, that is the moment you lose sight of the cross. People may call the cross a crutch. I am fine with that, I can’t stop limping anyway. I need that ‘crutch’! Be proud of that ‘crutch’. Those who don’t use it are limping so badly, they don’t even recognize it! This life is hard enough as it is. Why make it more difficult by trying to do it on your own?
Some may accuse you of having such high standards when it comes to guys. You may begin to wonder if you should lower your standards. Yes, it is true that the good, godly men are few and far between, but that doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards! If he isn’t showing the character of Christ, keep moving on! It is better to live a few years as a single, godly woman, than for the rest of your life in misery with an ungodly man. Protect your heart fiercely; it is the wellspring of life.
Try to not worry about finding a husband. Live for God. Do His will for your life. Be obedient to Him. God will bring in a godly man when the time is right. Focus on your relationship with God – live courageously! Do daring things for Him, be BOLD!
Go easy on yourself. We tend to think the worst of ourselves when others don’t – especially God. Remain humble, keep a soft heart, and forgive yourself when God forgives you. Learn the lesson and grow from it.
Keep producing good fruit even when others don’t see it or recognize it. I have such an incredible marriage to your daddy but not everyone sees it, not everyone appreciates it. And that’s ok. Your daddy and I have 3 wonderful children – we intentionally disciple you. Many people disregard the good fruit. They don’t understand that maybe we have the key to bearing good fruit – and that is following Christ, walking by the Spirit. And that is OK that they overlook this wonderful fruit. God sees it and He is glorified no matter what. So, keep going!
Know that we all make mistakes and understand that Jesus redeems any and all blunders. He LOVES to redeem! It doesn’t matter what you have done, He can fix it, He will restore. Sometimes we are wounded deeply and it isn’t our fault. He redeems that, too. We just need to let Him. Lay those things to rest at the foot of the cross.
Esther went boldly into the throne room of the king. She could have been put to death for this. I wonder if she was terrified. The king received her. Just like Esther, we can go boldly to the throne room of our King. We don’t need to be terrified. He welcomes us. Make sure you are familiar and comfortable in that throne room. It is so full of grace and mercy. Stand in awe and wonder, but be confident in knowing that you belong there.
I love you, my precious, beautiful daughter. It is so bittersweet to watch you grow up. But I know God has AMAZING plans for you. Plans so incredible no one can even fathom. Trust Him. Live for Him.
All my love,
Are you dreading the teen years? Are you complaining about the toddler stage? Are you blessing or cursing your children? Maybe you are in the midst of the teen years like I am…can you add to What I Have Learned Between Toddlerhood and Teens?
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