“Stay with Lord and treat folks right” and “Make good choices” are two phrases that my soon-to-be-17-year-old daughter hears on a regular basis.  I am usually yelling these to her as she hops out of the car, rushing to get to school or wherever I am dropping her off to hang out with other soon-to-be-17-year-olds.  She invariably gives me a look that says, “Whatever lady” and goes about her day.  I refer to her as “The Teenager”.  Her name is Kristin, which means, follower of Christ.  Her name destined her for my intentions for her life.  She is a quirky, non-conformist who goes against the grain.  She challenges the absurd.  She is brutally honest and asks question on top of question.  These are the things that drive me bonkers about her, but these are the things that I love about her.

Raising a teenage girl brings daily questions and situations.  As I write this, I realize that there are so many negative things that could easily fill up pages and pages when it comes to teenage girls.  There is never a dull moment.  Teenage girls change often so there is always something new and interesting to deal with.  But, I decided to focus on the positives of parenting instead of the eye-rolling, bad attitudes, slammed doors, yelling, crying, disobedient, whining, look-at-me-when-I’m-talking-to-you and stop- texting-when-I-told-you-to-put-that-phone-away and generally irritating side of parenting a teenager.  

There are so many things I want for the teenager.   There are days when I wish I could open up her head and pour in the knowledge.   I wouldn’t stop there.  I would open her heart and pour in all the Christ I could!  As a mom, we just want our kids to “get it”.  As she gets older I can see her moving further and further away from me toward her own independence.  I’m not ready to let go.  However, I realize I am letting go every day when I release her into the world.   I pray daily that she has a lasting faith in the Lord.  I know her faith will be challenged by the influences of friends and circumstances. 

Speaking of challenges, boy do we have ours!  There are days when I feel like the worst mother in the world and I second-guess myself.  Surely a Christian mother would never lose her temper.  A Christian mother prays about everything and seeks wise counsel from the Lord and always has a biblically-based answer for everything.  Ah…..if only that were true.   But, by the grace of God I’ve managed to keep my sanity intact and learned some very valuable lessons on this journey.  I never thought a teenager could teach me anything except the all the latest slang-so-I-can-sound-cool-language and how to use all of my electronics.  Here are just a few things I’ve learned from parenting a teenager:

The teenager has taught me to pray.   And I don’t mean “Jesus keep me near the cross because this child is gonna make me lose it” prayer.  I mean really seeking Him for His wisdom and direction in raising her to fulfill the destiny and purpose that God has for her.  When I’m at my weakest, God renews my strength and my mind so I am able to shake off yesterday’s parental mistakes and keep going.
Tracie McClinton, mother of a Teenager
**Be on the look out for the conclusion of this blog, tomorrow, 11/5/2011!!** Thanks

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