A Mother’s Response | A Teen’s Journey Begins
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“I am not alone because I have no one; I am alone because I don’t allow myself to believe that I am not alone.”
My mother’s heart beats double time for the emotion expressed in my daughter’s outpouring. Her agony, doubt, fears, and desires poured forth in waves of powerful questioning and it was all I could do to see through my own tears to the computer screen. What came next was a bit shocking …. pride. As her mother, as a woman approaching forty, I read and absorb her words and think to myself; blessed even is the thirty year old to have such revelation. To dig deep down inside of your truest self and beg the question of purpose and passion exudes wisdom and maturity. I was not worried for her in those moments in the early morning as I cleaned up the used Kleenex and re-read her words for the third time. Not worried at all.
As she wakes an hour later I hold her in the early morning light and whisper, “I am so very proud of you.”
She wipes sleep from her eyes, “For what?”
Cupping her beautiful young face in my aging hands, “For the courage you garnered to write what you did last night.”
She pretends to be shocked that I’d seen it, but a mother’s heart knows that she’d left it up for that very reason and I respond with, “Samantha, it’s good. It’s a very, very, good thing.”
We sit to talk. I replay her words across the screen in my mother’s heart and do not wish to replicate her not needing me to tell her I’m proud of her without reason or that she will eventually move past this phase. I look at her and pray in my Spirit for my God to give me the words that will minister to her soul.
“You are exactly where you need to be right now, ” I tell her.
Remembering a conversation I had earlier with my own father I tell her the very story he told me, “When you were three years old you once asked me how a car worked. I told you that a car was something you got into, turned the key, and it drove. And, that was good enough. You understood that, it made sense, and you could go out and tell your friends that you knew how cars worked. Right?”
She nods her head yes, but is clearly unsure of where this is going.
“Well, if you asked me today how a car worked you’d ask me harder questions. Like, what was it about gas that made it run, and how can it be that so many cars have different keys that are never the same, and what about hydraulics and brake systems and what makes a car have good gas mileage? Right? You’re smarter, you’re more advanced … you need more information for something to make sense. Right?”
She nods again, “Yeah … I suppose that’s true.”
I smile, “Well Sam …. it’s the same thing with who you are. Before, when you were younger I could, as your mom, tell you exactly what to do and what the outcome would be and how wonderful and beautiful you were and that was everything you needed. Now, you need more. You need to figure out why, and how you work, and what it is about you that makes you; you. This is the time in your life when you ask the hard questions. It’s going to feel uncomfortable. It’s going to cause you to doubt what you’ve been told in the past. You’re going to have to determine … what makes Sam … Sam. And baby girl … it’s a great and wondrous place to be.”
She thinks for a while and then says, “But what about the regrets that I have, the things I know I should have done that could have changed the outcome?”
I tell her, “But who are we to know that we really could have changed the outcome of something? Maybe we could have. Maybe we could not have. What are you upset about that you didn’t do?”
“I could have loved my sister more.” She begins to cry.
This is hard for me. I press on, “The could have is gone Sam. But, the beautiful thing is … the can is still here. With anything you feel that you regret …. there is always an opportunity to take action. In life, there is never such a thing as too late. ”
We talk about forgiveness. We talk about God. I listen to her in those precious moments and hear her try to make sense of what will inspire her to become who she was created to be. I remind her of when she was in Sunday School and how she felt when she first learned “Jesus Loves Me” and how she felt when she went to her last Christian Teen group and the difference between the two. The search for more. The ache for understanding. Her heart out-cried and I saw, before me, the very light of Heaven on Earth. A young woman seeking the inner truth that God lives within her. Within HER. She wonders. She has questions. She hungers.
“If you’re looking for a loud booming voice or a big red flashing sign, you might not find it. But, dear daughter, if you’re looking for God … God is love … and love is within you. Start with that. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Let go of the lie that you have to measure up to something or be perfect and live in the truth that you already have, right now, everything you will ever need.”
She smiles, “I have a plan now,” and she tells me how she’s going to start. She becomes full of energy and the tears dry up and she stands to embrace me.
“So, the car analogy didn’t freak you out?” I laugh.
She grins, “Mom, If I know anything about cars …. they always get upgraded.”