By Annah Matthews
Friday, September 22, 2017
“But wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18 ESV
It came in the mail yesterday. His middle school schedule. My heart broke just a little. Middle school is not an easy time. Everyone around you is awkward, growing, insecure, trying to find their identity.
Kids can be mean and at the same time, some of your truest friendships are formed. It's a little bit of a landmine. Say this, wear that, do this, definitely don't do that. It's scary for both of us.
He's growing into such a wonderful guy but he's still a kid. A true in-beTween. I'm teaching him how to do his own laundry and dishes. I still have to remind him to brush his teeth.
I'm teaching him what it means to be a good friend and how to stand up for what's right. He's not quite ready to get rid of his Legos but his social network, his squad, are quite entertaining. He told me last week that he gets all his news from Instagram now.
6 months ago he got his first phone. I watched him like a newborn. Instead of checking the rise and fall of his chest while he peacefully slept in the crib, I stood slightly over him while he lazily reclined on the couch and watched the messages he sent. I asked him a lot of questions. He told me I was acting like a stalker. I told him to get over it, I was his mama.
We've had a lot of conversations in the last few months about integrity, safety, kindness, and respectfulness. It's all new training ground, and we're learning it together. I’m praying even more fervently now. He wants me close then he pushes me away.
Our house is a revolving door for his friends. We frequently have a houseful of boys playing basketball in the driveway and hide-n-seek in the woods around us. They are all in this same stage together. Figuring out the awkwardness of life, spreading their wings a little more, while staying close to the nest at the same time.
I pray for them all the time - for their friendships, for their choices, for their integrity and faith. I'm glad for our home to be their base camp. A safe place to hang out, to share life, to eat and play, to build memories. We recently started a Sunday night bible study for all the middle school boys in our neighborhood.
We have the prime opportunity to speak some truth into their lives since they are literally in our backyard.
I've been a stay at home mom for 12 years now. My youngest is 4 years old. I'm still in the preschool years with her. I feel like a veteran preschool mom. But I've realized that my role in being here and being available for my middle schooler is just as important.
He wants me around, to be available, and he needs me to be involved in life, in conversations, in his friendships. He wants me to know his friends. He wants me to be here so that they can hang out together.
I still have plenty of parenting to go with him. In some ways I feel like I am starting all over again. Just like a first-time parent who really doesn't have a clue what they are doing, I am charting all new territory. I remember when he was a baby I would tell him, "I've never been a mama and you've never been a baby so I guess we're going to learn together.”
I can’t do it alone and I am grateful for a husband that loves our children and parents with me.
Some of you don’t have that in your lives and being a single mom is your norm. But neither of us can do it without the wisdom that comes from God.
Pray daily for your children. Know who their friends are. Keep open lines of communication. Invite his or her friends into your home. Laugh with them. Play with them. Enjoy the next season of life as they change and grow.
I've never had a middle-schooler, he's never been in middle school. We're teaching each other. We're going to make mistakes. We're learning together. I'm watching him walk all over again. I'm praying for him and for God to help me know how to guide, parent, and mentor him.
He is God’s kid anyway and when I want to hold on tighter, I have to relinquish my fears and give Him back to the Lord. Easy, no, but it is possible with the help and wisdom that comes from above. It is scary, but together we’re going to figure this thing out.
Dear Lord – The children that You have entrusted to us here on this earth are Yours. Help us to give them to You daily and pray for them. Give us wisdom, direction, and discernment as we parent them, grow them, and love them like You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
© 2017 by Annah Matthews. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Friday, 22 September 2017.