As Those Baby Birds Leave the Nest, Here’s How We Partner with God through Prayer

As we wrap up this month of “launch strategies” for all the teenagers in our lives, I’ve reached out to another mom with a college-aged daughter so she can give us a peek ahead at the next stage. Guest blogger Lianne Robinson, a friend and fellow-writer from my own college days, shares what it’s like to trust God with His plans for young adult children. Take it away, Lianne, and ROLL TIDE.

Do you ever feel like your prayers aren’t making it all the way to God’s ears? I’ve sometimes felt like I was standing at the door to Heaven’s waiting room, wringing my hands and wondering if I was close enough to God for Him to hear me. I’d like to share a story of when I perceived this to be the case.

Since my daughter, Emma, was nine years old, all she has ever wanted to do was be in the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama. All through high school, Emma took flute and piccolo lessons, marched every fall, participated in many honor band festivals, and excelled as a section leader and award winner. She applied to the University and was thrilled to be accepted.

Emma excitedly auditioned for the MDB in February 2018. It was her senior year and we waited almost 4 months to find out if she had made it. I vigilantly checked her email every day to see if we had heard any news. When I would wake up every morning, I would pray this prayer in expectation: God, please let this be a good news day! If it is your will for her to be in this band, please let it happen. If it’s not, please help our hearts to understand.

It went on like this day after day until the end of April. I was not with her when the email came in. I read it first and was crushed to see the word “unfortunately” in the first sentence. Where would we go from here? Read More

Hand Those Kids Their Crowns!

It’s only fitting as we round out our month of parenting strategies for launching teens that graduation announcements are arriving daily. I love them, but they sort of terrify me as reminders that my first baby will be a senior next year. To my friends letting us share in your joy, thank you! Your babies have grown up beautifully, and I’m in awe of how you’ve gotten them to this milestone. I also have it on good authority that the next stage brings new joys and challenges and that they will still need you in their corner, even if it’s not in the same way. You’ve got this!

The milestones are worth pausing to celebrate, though, because those celebrations are part of a third “launch-minded strategy” for releasing kids into adulthood: empowerment. Along with apprenticeship (the on-the-job-training portion of raising teens) and mentoring (the way we impart wisdom), empowerment plays a role in releasing our kids to become the adults they were meant to be.

Empowerment means fostering and celebrating chances to hand our teens the responsibility for their own lives. It’s how we communicate, “Bravo! I see maturity! Here’s the privilege that goes with that responsibility.” In fact, being a launch-minded parent, one who’s committed to training and teaching “apprentice adults,” means we’re looking for and creating opportunities for growth that will dictate that release into more freedom.

And when we DO see maturity? We’re meant to whoop it up with joy while we diligently hand them more rights to rule their own lives and chart their own courses. I call it “handing them their crowns” because of an Old Testament example from a king who nearly fumbled the launch process (and oh, can’t we relate to that feeling!) but in the end, got to celebrate his son with a big ol’ hallelujah. Read More

Why You’re Still Your Kid’s Best Mentor (Even When You Think They’re Not Listening)

This month we’ve been digging into the hard work of parenting teenagers, knowing that our job is to make them launch-ready for adulthood. Add in the ever-shrinking amount of time between now and that launch point, and it’s easy to feel panicky. Some parents may deal with that panic by reminiscing over baby pictures, laying on extra hugs, and planning special family times.

Me?

According to eye-witness testimony from my children, I’m on a one-mom quest to turn every single moment into a Life Lessons Lecture.

They’ve politely asked me to stop. Or at least rein it in a bit.

So, does that mean I’ve given up trying to get wisdom into my kids? Heck, no! But it does mean I’ve been moving to a more subtle mentoring or coaching style of parenting, one that’s heavier on the listening and lighter on the lecturing. I’ve also brought in some assistant coaches who back me up in beautiful ways. Read More

Are Your Teens Ready for Lift-Off?

Anybody else been both fascinated and repelled by the on-going saga of “Aunt Becky” of Full House fame who, along with others, paid megabucks to circumvent college admissions systems? Pass me the popcorn because I’m following it like a reality show as our family sifts through stacks of college info, schedules campus visits, and nags encourages our son in his SAT prep. Those click-bait headlines should all be grouped under “How NOT to Launch Your Kid into Adulthood.”

But let’s be honest: for all my amazement at the lengths to which wealthy, connected parents have gone to engineer their kids’ happiness, I still wonder if given the means and opportunity, some of us “regular folks” would fall for the same temptation. Yes, our integrity would be in shreds, and yes, our kids would be cheated out of the chance to work hard for their own success. But they’d be at their dream schools, well on their way to brighter futures, right? Would it be worth it? Read More

Houston, We Have a Pollen Problem

Pretty sure this is the worst pollen season in Houston history. I say that every year, but y’all, it’s been going on for 6 weeks now. McLeod worked so hard the other day cleaning the outdoor furniture. Didn’t last long. I broke down and washed my car. As of last night, it’s got a light dusting once again. A teenager looking for work came by yesterday and said, “I’m power-washing for some of your neighbors, and…your…porch…” He just let the ugly yellow truth hang there.

Today, though, the rain is washing some of it away, and I’m hopeful that the pollination frenzy will die down soon. Of course, even then, we’ll always have a certain amount of  dirt, dust, and yes, pollen to clean up if we don’t want things to get completely dingy around here.

Jesus said something similar about how spiritual dirt and grime tend to accumulate, too. So if you’re itching (or sneezing?) through a time of spiritual dustiness, take a moment to hear what he had to say.
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How to Take a Spring Break from Worry

A change of scenery is good for the soul. Last week we took a trip to Mexico and delighted in crystal-clear underground rivers, Mayan ruins, tropical birds and flowers, and of course, lots of sand and sun. Though I’m now busy dumping out that sand from shoes and bags, I’m trying to hold on firmly to the peacefulness I felt when my biggest concern of the day was whether to have the seafood or steak for dinner. For a week, somebody else was in charge of feeding and providing for us and I could rest. (And mamas everywhere just said, “Amen!”)

Of course, get me back home and I once again start to fall prey to a lie that the whole world—at least as far as it extends to my family, friends, and sphere of influence—is somehow resting on my shoulders, just moments away from collapse if I don’t find ways to control everything around me.

Hello, my name is Cassia, and I’m a control-freak.

I’ve been encouraged this week, though, by what Jesus says about how to let go of that nagging need to worry and fuss about our daily lives. Read More

On International Women’s Day, Rise Like a Deborah

For International Women’s Day, I’ve been mulling over the life of Deborah, a prophetess who led the nation of Israel during its “Wild West” period known as the time of the judges. Like another notable prophetess, Miriam (see Exodus 15:20), Deborah was gifted in Spirit-inspired song. In fact, all of Judges 5 is a truth-telling, prophetic anthem attributed to her. However, she was also that lightening-in-a-bottle combination of spokesperson for God and capable, charismatic leader, dispensing wisdom as she decided her people’s civil cases, giving God’s marching orders to the military leader, and rallying the people to fight back against their enemies (Judges 4-5). Here’s what she says about that holy calling:    

“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths [because of attacks and oppression from the Canaanites]. Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.” From the Song of Deborah, Judges 5:6-7

I don’t know if Deborah had children of her own—we do know she had a husband named Lappidoth but no mention is made of children—but whether she had raised a family or not, she stepped into the role of “motherly protector in Israel,” as the New English Translation renders that last phrase.

Let that sink in.

When everyone around her was shrinking back, hiding in fear during a time of turmoil and oppression, Deborah arose as a picture of God’s strength, wisdom, and advocacy on behalf of others. Her womanhood shone forth in its fiercest form, not just as nurturer but as courageous protector. Read More

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