Beware the Teenage Years, Or Not

It’s funny how the same circumstances can look so different when you take a moment to stroll around the perimeter of a problem.

My daughter turned 13 yesterday. Well, sort of yesterday — she’s a Leap Day baby, so she only gets a birthday once every four years. Don’t feel too sorry for her. With no February 29th, she decided to celebrate on February 28th and March 1st.

So what’s the “problem” in this situation?

I HAVE A TEENAGER!!!!

That in itself may not seem like much of a problem, but a long time ago,

I WAS A TEENAGER!!!!

I know how squirrelly and rotten and rude I was. I remember sneaking out to meet boys and stealing a car for a quick joy-ride and saying “yes” to a variety of decisions that were a clear “no”.

I went from a loving, obedient child with a great big heart for my mom and dad to a rebellious almost-adult who was too big for her britches.

So here is the problem…

WHAT IF THAT HAPPENS TO JORDAN?

What if my sweet girl is abducted by the alien called Teenage-ism? What if she becomes a 13 year old version of me?

I love this girl. I don’t want to lose her.

So the whole time she’s opening presents and eating cookie cake, I’m thinking NONONONONONONO! Freeze! Everyone Freeze! Stay right where you are in these exact ages!

But then, thanks to a short conversation a bit later with a wise friend, I was transported back to Jordan at age 9… and the first time she had “mean girl” drama in her life.

That day is crystal clear. Jordan and I talked through that situation and by the time we went to bed, her heart was light once again, but mine was very heavy.

I still remember lying in bed with tears running down my face, begging God not to make my little girl go through the pain of adolescence that I once so vividly felt.

And then God took me on a walk around the perimeter of the problem. In my mind, I got to see what it would look like if Jordan couldn’t go to school… couldn’t learn the intricacies of friendship and heartbreak… couldn’t participate in life the way other 9 year olds did.

And at the end of the walk, I felt only gratitude. Thank God she gets to be a kid who experiences all of life, the ups and the downs.

Every one of those experiences– even the ones I made that were terrible– make us who we are today: people who are wiser, more compassionate and more able to sit in understanding with a friend in need.

So I guess having a teenager isn’t so bad. Regardless of what it brings. Not having a teenager would be worse.

Do you have a problem that needs a little walk around the perimeter? I hope that when you take the time to look at it from all angles you will be able to see the hidden gems of blessing tucked along the path.

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