Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:30-31
All three of my children have managed to inherit at least one of my various traits. They have managed to inherit some of the better ones such as a sense of style, a hearty laugh, and a love for all kinds of music. Unfortunately, each has also managed to inherit some of my not so wonderful traits. A diva-like attitude. Some of my OCD tendencies and then some. The fine art of stuffing feelings.
My oldest, a 16 year old learning how to navigate between the new found need for independence, the acceptance of peers, and still pleasing authority, is the stuffer. Like me, he loves to write. He has a way with the written word, but when it comes to actually expressing the much needed spoken word-he stuffs it. He hides his thoughts, feelings, and emotions with a big, fat “Fine.” Of all the traits I could have passed on, I always hoped stuffing it would not be one of them.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior, and my God. Psalm 42:11
A few nights ago when I entered my teens room to grab a few things from our printer, I noticed something odd. It wasn’t the earbuds that usually hang from his ears. No, I am used to seeing those. I was caught off guard by the fact that he wasn’t also watching TV while listening through said earbuds, and doing 20 other things at once (another one of my not so wonderful, but inherited traits). In fact, he wasn’t doing anything at all! “What’s wrong? You OK?” I was expecting the usual-the hiding of his thoughts, feelings, and emotions. A big, fat “Fine.” Instead of stuffing it this time, my mostly quiet, young man spilled his guts. He shared the deal with his not so stellar grades, and other things teens struggle with-girls, friends, teachers, classes, and the idea of driving.
Maybe it is the fact that he is currently grounded for those not so stellar grades, that he would be so bored to death he would actually want to bare his soul to Mom-you know, the lady who knows NOTHING about being a teenager…or maybe this time, he was sick of telling everyone that big, fat lie. Maybe he was sick of stuffing it and saying “Fine.”
But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13
For some of his teenage burdens, I just didn’t have all the answers. For some of his angst, this mommy of a teen really did know nothing. So, I showed him how to have hope in the only way I knew how-through God. I urged him to pray, and shared with him that as hard as it is to relinquish control, sometimes the only thing we can do is let go and give all of our troubles to Him. Sometimes the only answer is to give everything to God. Admit to Him, that you really are not “Fine.”
I can’t solve all the problems my children will have. I can’t shelter them from all the storms and struggles. What I can do is provide a listening ear, a warm heart, arms ready to hug, and a shoulder to cry one. What I can do is also provide God’s promise of hope. Sometimes this is all the answer we need to truly be a big, fat “fine.”
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12