Dreaded Teenage Rebellion

Teens. Teens. Teens.
With all girls, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I feel sorry for you. Just you wait until the dreaded teenage years.”

I always respond under my breath, “I rebuke that in Jesus’ name.”

I seriously never believed I would go through some of this teenage junk. 
I know. I know what you are thinking. 
Are you stupid? 
Hello, naive mother, every teen talks back and rebels. 
Thanks for that. 🙂
No, I am not stupid. I just refuse to believe that every teen has to go through it. I believe there is a better way, and I am trying to learn it.
Key word: TRYING! 
This is how it went in one instance (and most every other day in the sweet year of 2014).

“Did you go through the blah blah blah [you know that’s what she heard] like I asked you to?”



She continues doing the same thing. 
No movement toward the thing she was asked to do. 
Music volume increases.

My head voice:


Big eyes.
Foot tapping.

Hello! Wake up! See the body language?




Mom’s plotting thoughts:

Hmmm … what’s the consequence for this delayed obedience?
No more iPod for the next 10 years! 
I guess that’s not a natural consequence. Get real. 
You can do this, mom!
Well, that’s it. I’m going to have to swat her.

Okay, deep breath …

Wait, I know! I will pray.
I have not because I ask not, right?

Father, whhyyyy [whiny voice]? What is wrong with her? 
How do I get back to her heart?

Sigh. This isn’t helping. The music is too loud to pray. 
Why is she ignoring me and my request?

Don’t forget to breathe out, Sheri. 
Okay … 

 just walk away. 

Oh nelly, the music stopped. 

What does this mean?

Oh, wait … wait! 

Hallelujah! She’s back. 

“Oh hey, 

Mom, I was just taking a short break because I completed three math lessons. That was exhausting.”



Humiliated Mom:
“Oh, great! Good job. I knew you were a wise time manager.”
What is wrong with me? Shut it.
Help! I am an idiot.
Have you ever been an idiot like me?
Maybe the dreaded teen years aren’t all the teenager’s fault. Maybe it’s partially our fault (along with uncontrollable hormones, appetites, and growing pains) 
for not transitioning our role from commander to coach.
Parents need to transition gradually from controlling our children (“You’d better or else!”) and requiring immediate obedience to waiting on the teen’s will to catch up to our request. We have to let go a little at a time, or we will find ourselves quickly losing ground and all of the influence we have with them. That’s when it’s just too late. 
I am in the influence stage.
All I have now is influence.

Every day that I choose to voice my frustrated words or body language is a day that reduces my influence.

Oh Father, teach me to remain silent. 
Help me to understand that I am not her army commander any longer. I have the privilege of coaching, mentoring, and influencing. Help me to embrace this incredible new season.
In love,
P.S. I wrote this in the middle of this battle yesterday.
P.P.S. I am still growing and learning. You too?

Mama Bear’s Cubs Face Rejection

I never really expected my girls would endure friendship rejection. Most definitely I expected to raise my kids in a Christ-centered home and community. Surely, they would not be subject to the God-less relationships similar to my childhood.
I should have known this was a terribly incorrect assumption when my oldest was in the first grade. I hung out with her teacher one day at lunch and observed. While all the other children were playing, my daughter meandered around the two-foot-high timbers bordering the Christian school’s playground perimeter. She repeated this lonely walk-a-thon daily. She rarely played or engaged with the other kids. The teachers never said a word, but I should have noticed the early piercing of her heart. Throughout that entire first-grade year, my little six-year old would beg me to homeschool her.
So, that’s how I came to homeschool my kids. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. We noticed and took decisive action to right the wrong in her heart. Friends had broken her spirit.
But the wisdom of the Lord would prevail. My oldest daughter, now almost 17 years old, has enjoyed many friendships and rich community time since our homeschool journey began. However, even with close friendships, a single rejection can break her heart and impede her ability to be thankful for what she does have.
Have you or a loved one been a victim of the negative power of rejection?
Why do friends stop texting, inviting, or including? My child and other teens I know can be surrounded by a multitude of friends, yet completely alone. I have overheard some say, “Never alone. Forever lonely.” There is an epidemic of hurting teens who appear included and well loved on the surface. The signs of hurt and loneliness are evident, though, in other areas of their lives, such as strife with parents and siblings, sudden withdrawal from friends and family, or lashing out in anger.
I want to pause and acknowledge that even my own children have sometimes been the rejecters instead of the rejected. I ask you, please forgive us if you have been that friend we unwittingly excluded or denied.
What’s a mother supposed to do about this deep and wide issue of heartbreaking, repeated rejection?
We leave it to these young girls to solve their own relationship problems while we consume Christian books learning how to help our kids marry and protect their purity. However, the way they live in relationships today is a great picture of how they will live them out as a wife and mother.
In the name of privacy and (unearned) trust, are we truly expecting these little self-centered hearts to work it out for themselves?
I have this sickening feeling that many of our children could be developing a pattern of quitting or divorcing things that no longer thrill them. Like me, I am sure you desire your children to be finishers, faithful to the end, to forgive and forget quickly, and to demonstrate endurance with people.
But how will our daughters learn to be good friends if we don’t teach them along the way? How will they be faithful wives if we don’t teach them to have endurance now?
I submit to you that it’s time to help this generation lead their heart while learning to be a good and faithful friend.
First, we must be acutely aware of how our daughters operate in friendships. We consistently need to be sitting on the outside of their social circles, listening and asking tough questions like,
“Why are you not spending time with this friend anymore? Tell me what’s really going on. Don’t withdraw your friendship just because an issue came up.”  
We need to teach them: Friendships require open discussions, even if it’s embarrassing, because working through difficulties creates deeper, stronger relationships. Don’t kill friendships with walls against intimacy simply because someone hurts you. Deal with the adversity. Run straight into it with truth and love.
Secondly, we need to teach our kids to love without expectation. Even if someone starts to dislike them or even hate them, they should choose love, and the source of love lives in us. We are called to practice forgiveness at least 490 times. Do you really want your kids to practice un-forgiveness or divorce with their friends just because they can’t work through a challenging moment? Let’s encourage our children to chooseto be a good friend to have—how to be a “stayer” and not a “player.”
Thirdly, we must teach them to lead their own heart. The truth is that I can’t keep my daughter’s heart from breaking and I have limited control over how other people treat her. However, what I can do is teach her how not to have an easily offended heart. I can teach her to lead her thoughts by taking them captive.
Lastly, I ensure my daughter knows who she is in Christ—that she is trademarked by God. Period. A trademark is legally protected; your brand is legally yours. Likewise, your identity in Christ is yours and cannot be changed by any other person’s choices or opinions.

Ultimately, the ability to be a steadfast friend in Christ speaks to the way we measure success in home education. I would venture to guess that if you raise a person who is a faithful friend to others, your child will grow to be a good friend to you. Someday, your positional authority as parents will fade into the sunset and what remains in your child will be a brother or sister in Christ whom you have taught, hopefully, to love with His love. When our own children are good friends to have, they reflect the love of Jesus, which amounts to a greater accomplishment than any ACT, SAT, or MBA.

To the Heart That Feels Too Scared Thinking about Hardship

Tonight I was rubbing the back of one of my daughters. She hasn’t been feeling very well. I started to think about how there will be a day when she has to go through a battle for health or life or experience sadness or something negative and I won’t be there. I started to weep and wondered, “Am I praying enough? My prayers today are eternal. Am I training these girls up well so they will be able to stand their hardship and pain when I’m not there to guide and direct them?

I want to do right by the gifts God has given me. I want to train up my childrens hearts in the way they should go and give them a solid foundation in who God is and who they are. I want to teach them not to define themselves by worldly standards or comparison—even comparison within the church. I want to teach them not to let their own ugly opinions of themselves have any weight in their hearts. 

Romans 3:4 says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” My heart’s desire is to teach my children how to let God’s word reign above how they feel and what they think and what other people say. I want them to know they are not defined by what happens to them.

To the heart that feels too scarred thinking about hardship

Tonight, I was rubbing the back of one of my daughters. She hasn’t been feeling very well. I just started to think, there will be a day when she has to go through a battle for health or for life or for sadness or something negative that I won’t be there. I just started to weep and think like—
My prayers today are eternal forever. Am I praying enough? Am I training these girls up well so they would be able to stand their hardship and pain when I’m not there to guide them and direct them?
I just wanna do right by the gifts that God has given me. I wanna train up their hearts in the way they should go; give them a solid foundation in who God is and who they are. Teach them not to define themselves by worldly standards or comparison—even comparison within the church. Teach them to not let their own ugly opinion of themselves have any weight in their heart. Romans 3:4 says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” My heart’s desire is to teach them how to let God’s word reign above how they feel or what they think or what other people say; and to not be defined by what happens to them or anything else.