I am super excited about this guest blog. Leslie is a mother of two older teens which is a first for my blog. I know her words of wisdom and experience and encouragement from the scriptures will bless you like it did me as I read. Thanks for visiting! -Arrica
Just as the Christian’s life is likened to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), motherhood is its own race too. It’s a marathon! And in this marathon, we must map out a plan and pace ourselves. There are no shortcuts!
As a mother of two older teens (17 and 19 years), I can say each stage has its obstacles and challenges. When you think you have “figured it out” – oops, here we go on to a new stage which brings new insecurities or tests or any number of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in your child that you must figure out and then help them through.
All of this can take its toll on you mentally and physically. You may even find yourself overwhelmed. Oh wait, this probably sounds similar to every stage from the time you gave birth, huh? Well, it does continue, and there are times you want to pull your hair out as your tween develops into a teen and your teen is growing into an adult. However, there are definitely some good times too like when you and your teen talk about answers to their prayers and accomplishing life goals. It’s good and fun and makes you feel (for that five minute chat), maybe you are doing something right.
As women, we have a LOT of influence in our home. Whether we are naturally optimistic or lean toward pessimism, we can set a peaceful tone and create a loving, warm environment OR our husband and kids can be on edge not knowing when we are going to blow. Don’t let your “natural” character traits define you. Let the power of the Holy Spirit make you who you are supposed to be (Ephesians 3:16-19).
It doesn’t matter how good of a cook you are or how clean you keep your house, the atmosphere your children grow up in is what they will remember. When your husband comes home from work or your children walk in the door, you want them to know they are in their safe place. This is home. This is love.
Also, remember quality time with our teenagers is so important. Keep the relationship with your kids close as they enter their teenage years. Disciplining teens without having it will cause big problems. A quote I heard recently was “rules without relationship breeds rebellion.” If your teen tries to pull away, keep pursuing them. Find out their love language (The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers) which could have changed from their childhood. I highly recommend this book; it helped me to know how to “love” my teens better.
Pray, pray, pray! Pray for them to have wisdom from God, pray for their future spouse, pray the Lord gives them the right godly friends….pray for them spiritually, mentally/emotionally, and physically. I use a prayer app to help me cycle through all the things I pray for and one of the lists I have on there are prayers I have typed up from The Power of a Praying Parent Book of Prayers. I also keep extras of this booklet to give to new mothers.
At some point you must open your arms and release those clenched fists to let them go. But as mamas, those arms stay outstretched, ready and waiting to hold or hug or help as needed. (I’m not advocating letting your adult children live in your basement here! 😂) My oldest, my daughter, is almost 2,000 miles away on the other side of the country going to Bible college. Yes, there were closer Bible colleges, but this was the one she felt the Lord was leading her. I would rather she be in the will of God on the other side of the country than out of the will of God living at home going to one of the many colleges in our area.
Ultimately, our goal as followers of Christ, who have been entrusted with these precious souls, is to lovingly raise our children with God’s help to become godly adults who have a heart’s desire to love and serve the Lord our God all their lives. It is the most important responsibility you have as a mother. God has given us these precious souls to lead to Him – teaching them to have faith by ultimately demonstrating it in our own lives.
This marathon of motherhood is far from over for me. I am entering empty nesthood with one in college and my other leaving for college next year. However, I will continue all my days to pray and to love and to impress on their lives the importance of following God. I am blessed to have a godly husband who comes along beside me demonstrating God’s love and grace and mercy as well (and teens need a lot of that grace and mercy 😉).
Growing up, I was in track in for several years, but I was not a long distance runner; I was a sprinter. Being a sprinter doesn’t work in motherhood. You must be ready to put in time, effort, and sweat (and some tears too). You must plan and set the pace so you don’t tire out too early. The beauty of it? Your Coach, our God, is right there with you. You can count on Him to help you through it no matter what you face. Once a mother, we are always a mother. Let us use our influence and power in a godly way in the lives of our children to help them run their race successfully for the Lord.
” And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. “Galatians 6:2
Happily married for 23 years, Wade and Leslie are the parents of two older teens, Elizabeth and Andrew. Leslie is beginning to enter the bittersweet phase of empty nesthood and fills some of the extra time writing at My Portion in This Life. She also enjoys all things crafty, organizing, reading, and serving at her church, Buffalo Ridge Baptist (which recently celebrated their 240th birthday!).
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