because middle school is tough…
I recently completed homeschooling my oldest child. After much prayer, he is now gratefully attending a wonderful school. I often find when the Lord is doing something in my kiddos’ lives, He’s using their situation to teach me as well. Probably none of the people reading this blog are middle schoolers, but I felt compelled to share with you parts of a journal entry I wrote to my first born on the eve of his 7th-grade year. Sometimes we all feel like a middle schooler with insecurities, fears, and emotions that we can’t explain…I pray the Lord will use it to speak to your heart…
August 14, 2018
You’re ready…I think I’m ready.
You’re excited…I’m excited and then in a split second, I’m almost sick.
In case I left some things out over the past seven homeschool years…in case I forgot to tell you, my beloved boy, there are things I want you to know…
- Middle school is tough. Not because you can’t do hard things—but a lot of factors are piling on at once. Your body/brain hasn’t fully developed yet and because it still is; your brain, hormones, and emotions will be all over the place… all while your academic expectations ramp up like never before. One day, something said to you might make you laugh and the next make you furious with hot tears in your eyes without knowing why. As your mom, it’s part of my job to not freak out. I will be here for you no matter what. I will listen, comfort, cook your favorites, stay away or stay close. Humbleness is beautiful. Middle school years will humble you and if you let the Lord do it in the right way—it will grow you into a strong, confident, and godly young man.
- You are different. God made only one of you. God gave you specific traits, skills, weaknesses, talents, desires, dislikes, and interests. Guess what?! This is true of everyone on this planet. What’s crazy about this time in your life is how much you want to be seen by others, but simultaneously are desperate not to stand out or be different. (Actually, that may be a lifetime thing because your mom still struggles with that from time to time as an adult!) I pray for a keen awareness of self—that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie so that you will see where God is at work and join Him. I pray He will use you as a blessing and iron (Proverbs 27:17) to others and that He will use others (and circumstances) to bless and refine you. Either way, God is chiseling away at your heart and making you more like Him and that will always be an answer to prayer!
- Girls…because I’m a girl and you’re not, this makes me the expert…so listen!
- Be kind. Any girl you like is also your sister in Christ or has potential to be. Think before you joke, think before you act, think before you text…just think…”Is this treating her with kindness?” It’s the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) I guess the lesson here is, kindness is powerful.
- Say I’m sorry—Because I know you won’t always get it right. Own your mistakes and say you’re sorry. When a man does that, it shows such strength. Also, when you do ask for forgiveness be sincere and serious. Don’t do it with a smile or joke. That will undo your apology and make the situation worse because now she can’t trust you. I’ve said that after homeschooling all this time I may have missed some academics, but I definitely taught you all how to apologize because I had to DAILY. You will always have “opportunities” to blow it and when you do—nothing moves your heart closer to the freedom and healing in Christ-like admitting your mistake and asking forgiveness. (This is a foundational truth in your relationship with the Lord, but it also applies to all your relationships.)
- Friendships…A true friend is indeed hard to find. I pray the Lord blesses you with a couple of life-long true friends to journey with…because being alone is the first thing God named “not good”. (Genesis 2:18) Stasi Eldridge says it beautifully, “A good friend loves you when you are hilarious and when you are hurting. A true friend loves you when you are being kind and when you are [angry]…A friend sees who you are meant to be and beckons you to rise to the higher version of yourself. Friendship is a high and holy thing and a two-way street. Friendships are also messy. They are not for the faint of heart.” I pray you not only have true friends but will be a true friend. When you experience the life-giving freedom of community that Jesus teaches; you’ll find it worth the work and worth the mess. True friends aren’t afraid to get dirty with you or because of you.
- Purpose…you have one purpose with your life son…to glorify God alone. (All the things that make you, you—activities you’re involved in, thoughts you think, words you say, etc.) If your life is about God’s glory, then get to know Him! Hide your heart in His word daily and I promise you won’t live to glorify God out of duty but love for Him. The cool part is, the more you get to know Jesus, the more you begin to truly know yourself and who God created you to be. This life…it’s all for Him and about Him. I pray you always live the bigger story of the gospel —not just the physical one right in front of you. I pray His name and His renown would be the desire of your heart always. (Isaiah 26:8)
I’ve made you read long enough. In the end beloved…love God, love people.