Thursday, October 2, 2014

When It Goes Quiet

If you're a blog reader, as I am, you've probably noticed the gaping hole in blogs that address raising teens and navigating the years of transition from at-home children to young adult, on-their-own children.  There's a plethora of information for singles, for moms of toddlers and early adolescents.  There's much to say about retirement, travel, cooking, crafting, home repairs, potty training, to spank or not to spank, recycling, repurposing, health and wellness, dieting, theology,...but the world wide web becomes eerily quiet on the subject of wisely raising teens - at least from reasonable, responsible people.

I am occasionally horrified at what some will share about the intimate, personal details of their teen and young adult children's lives - clearly without the permission of said child.  But for the most part, things are very quiet.  And even more quiet?  Raising a teen that was brought into your home as a teen - you didn't raise them through infancy, toddlerhood and adolescence...they became yours late.  I've googled it up (as my father-in-law would say) - there's just not much there.

I've been relatively quiet on my blog the last few months.  And there's a reason.

The last couple of years have been difficult. God brought us into some things that we had never considered would be a part of our family or life circumstances. Then, six months ago, our world was rocked again.  A 16-year-old young man moved into our empty nest and began to teach us things we didn't know we didn't know.  It has been a roller coaster ride. It has been beautiful. It has been hard. It has brought great joy. It has brought pain. We, all of us, have learned and grown. We, all of us, have been stunned at the changes we are capable of accomplishing when we are ready to rise to the challenge. In the midst of this, I'm still trying to figure out how to be a mother to adult children: grown, married, independent-thinking, opinions-different-than-mine, problems-I-can't-solve, children.  I have laughed, cried, been exhilarated, been terrified.

But mostly, I've been amazed.  Amazed at the capacity to bond as family with a child you did not have the privilege of raising. Amazed at the beauty of second, third, fourth chances. Amazed at how much a heart can hurt, both from and for other human beings. Amazed at the power of God to heal, transform and make all things new.

I've learned that everything doesn't have to be okay all. the. time. We can live, thrive even, in the midst of the mess. I've learned I can wait for things to change.  I can want them to change, know they should change, but still wait. And enjoy the process (most of the time, anyway). I don't have to fix everything. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not ever.  Because, as I'm ever-so-slowly learning, the truth is, I don't actually have much control. That's God's deal. I can rest.

A while back, laying in our bed, in total darkness, Brian asked me, "Do you ever feel like we're in over our heads?" --- My answer? "Absolutely. Every minute of every day."  BUT...

God is so good. He is full of grace - and His grace is SO sufficient.

Before this roller coaster ride I thought I believed that. In the midst of this roller coaster ride? I b.e.l.i.e.v.e. it. It has proven true over and over and over again. This Truth is my anchor. I need forgiveness. I need do-overs. I need to know I'm still loved and accepted in the midst of the mess. We, I, need that grace - it is like oxygen to my soul.

Many, many, of the things we've experienced in this new family dynamic are deeply personal. We will never share them publically. While I've written volumes privately, I will never blog about them. I think this is the reason this subject is difficult to find from other bloggers. It's individual in the sense that what works for one family may not be right for another - heck, what works for one kid in a family, may not be right for another kid, in the same family.

We, our family, have a deep respect for one another - for where we're at and where we're going. Telling everyone those personal details feels like it cheapens the beauty of this process for our family. It doesn't show the respect my children deserve as they navigate the very difficult journey of becoming independent adults. There may come a time when we decide, together, that it's time to share our experiences in a more public platform. I've read a few that have done it well and with great respect for all involved - they have helped and encouraged me and I am grateful for their transparency. But until that time comes,

This season may continue to be quieter.  But know this - this is a beautiful, hard, exhilarating, ridiculous, laughter-filled, tear-stained journey I'm on.

I would not trade it for the world.


And by the way, Happy six months, Thomas! I couldn't be happier that you are on this ridiculously crazy ride with us!