“The whole world is not a conspiracy to make you unhappy.”
It seems like I’ve had to say that more than a few times since last April. That’s when my baby girl turned 13 and her whole worldview seemed to shift overnight.
Most recently I said it to her this morning as she was quite dramatically going about getting ready for school and absolutely ranting about the weather, her brother, the choices available for her lunch… pretty much anything she encountered wasn’t right and was the way it was just to knock her off balance (at least in her estimation from the center of the universe). Nothing is “fair” to her… no one “understands” her… and her new (and most hurtful) outburst – you say you understand me, mom, but you don’t – is her latest version of the pre-adolescent ‘I hate you.’
In spite of her harsh words, she is quite understood. When you’re 13 in this world, it really could seem like it’s all a conspiracy… like it’s all unsteady and unsafe and scary. It really is unsteady, unsafe and scary out there – it would be hard to miss that reality as it swirls around her in the form of the ever-difficult middle school friendships, in violence locally and globally, clashing worldviews on everything from the surface (what to wear) to the heart (what to believe), not to mention her struggle to just grow up and become who she was created to be. Goodness, I’ve had lots of practice struggling with the very same stuff!
It’s important for us both that I be the calm in the storm that rages around her. In know how important it is by its absence in my own young life… it was hard to go it alone. So many of my own mistakes came from trying to gauge the danger of the path reletive to the neighboring path, having no guidence from beside me or inside me through some physically and spiritually dangerous places. I have those healed wounds to remind me, just in case I would ever forget, that God has put me beside her. She knows Him, and my most important spiritual responsibility is to help her discern His voice… the one who truthfully speaks peace in the midst of the storm… the one who keeps our feet on the right path as we acknowlege his leadership with our ways… the one whose peril rescues us from death by showing us how love covers a multitude of sins.
I pray hard for my (not-so-baby) girl. My prayer for her is that she learns what voice to trust and what voices to question; that she learns from Whom to seek approval and whose approval is based in other motives; that she learns to appreciate the good in herself and others. Above all, I pray that home is the place where Jesus speaks “peace be with you” to her heart so that she’s stronger and more grace-filled out there in the unsteady, unsafe and scary world.