I’m sitting in the waiting room while my daughter is in with dermatologist discussing her acne. While not life-threatening, teenage acne, the kind that requires much more than a little benzoyl peroxide wash and cream, is a hard problem. She’s embarrassed to be seen without makeup. Her confidence and self-esteem have taken a hit. And due to her insecurity she’s become extremely sensitive to any comment about her appearance.
Do you remember those days? I do. They were brutal.
And I’ve been here before with another daughter. We tried lotions, potions, doctors, medications, extreme hydration, and food adjustments and yet we were not successful at eliminating her acne. It was heart breaking to watch something as seemingly innocent as acne steal her sense of her own beauty no matter how much I encouraged her.
And that is one of the hard things that I find as my kiddos age, I am less able to fix their problems
What happened to the days when I could repair their toys, mend their scrapes, and offer wisdom that would solve their problems? Those days were fun because I felt like Wonder Woman righting the wrongs that assaulted my children and restoring order and justice wherever it was needed.
But not so much anymore. With lots of teenagers in my house I’ve come to understand that I can’t solve their disagreements with friends. I cannot overcome their hitting slumps in softball. I can’t make them stop their bad behavior. I can’t even help them with their homework although I swear I went to college. And I can’t keep them from illness, accidents or acne.
I do try and support them with needed resources like doctors, tutors, or coaches as I am able. I provide pep talks, consequences and discipline when appropriate. I speak truth and apply grace as often as I can, but I feel helpless a great deal of the time because clearly, my super powers have expired.
But the good news is that my mere human ability as a parent leaves lots of room for God to demonstrate His divine abilities.
While it’s not perfect and it’s not always consistent, my children are praying more and asking God to bring His healing touch into their lives because I as their mom cannot do it. They are seeking to understand His ways of relating to others by reading His Word instead of just relying on my advice. And they are learning to ask questions of God, the One who knows their future, so that they might hear His voice rather than depending on the limited knowledge found in my voice.
And it humbles me because honestly, I still want to be their superhero. I wish I could take away their pain, their hurt and their losses. I wish there was a way to erase some of the damage that has been done. But if I did, they would not be learning how to handle the disappointments that life brings. They would not be developing skills for coping with the things that cannot be fixed. And they would not be discovering a richer and deeper relationship with God.
My success as a parent isn’t tied to whether or not I can always fix my children’s problems, but is instead secured to my ability to support them and point them to Jesus.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus,
“but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach