Raising three teenagers requires my entire heart and mind and emotional capacity. Shaping character is as painful for me as a mother as it is for their tender spirits.
Some days the discipline bit is especially challenging, particularly when a daughter’s wretched, mean-spirited attitude toward her sisters escalates at a fun place like Six Flags Great America and the natural consequence is losing out on a roller coaster ride, and not just any ride but (in between sobs she says) her “most favorite ever!” And I miss out too, because we’re both hurting in that moment.
She can’t fully understand: this long-term lesson is far more important than a short term thrill.
And in that moment, watching her sisters ride in youth’s glory and innocence, I can help my angry child realize that I too have hard lessons I’m learning, that we can grow together, and we’re never too far outside of grace.
And then a reconciliation all around. We can offer grace before it’s even presented to us. The four of us found a lot of unexpected grace at the park after that moment of shaping, from free Slurpees to cooler weather, to fantastic conversations along the way.
And on the last ride of the day, the carousel swings, all three were reaching for each other as they flew. They waved and beamed in the wind and the ride fluttered through the late evening sun. And that’s what I hope for these three girls, to reach for each other in friendship and community and grace journeying through life, together.