Thursday, November 13, 2008

The heart

Lately, I've been "butting heads" with my 15-year-old daughter. Some of it has been silly stuff, like disagreeing on how much t.v. she should be allowed to watch during the week, or when she should send thank-you notes to her grandparents for birthday gifts. Some of it has been my expectations have not been met in certain areas. There were a couple of decisions she made that I was disappointed in. Lessons I wanted her to learn but was not sure she was learning them.
Part of this is that I've been agitated lately. Stress causes nerves to be rubbed raw, and things that are normally hard in ideal situations, become much more challenging to deal with. I take things personal, and I'm impatient. I ask for lots of mercy and grace because of this.
So, this morning, I walked by her room and saw a huge pile of clothes on the floor. My first reaction was anger. What a complete MESS this is!! She only cares about herself! Doesn't she know that I am vacuuming today? With all my pent-up frustration with her, I scooped her big pile of clothes up, (were they clean or dirty? I have no idea, and I didn't care.) and threw them in her closet. Oh, I was steaming. Who does she think she is anyways?
I'm not enjoying sharing this with you all, just so you know. =) 
I meandered over to her bed, getting ready to clear more clothes off other areas. My eye caught her journal, a pen, and a book that frequents her bedside: The One-Minute Bible. My heart softened a bit.
But what got me was her "to-do" list. A scrap of paper at the end of her bed, held up with a hair clip:
To Do List:
1. paint nails
2. clean room
3. rehearse presentation
4. make ice cream (her new favorite thing to do)
5. get new songs on ipod
6. make cd for sisters/do something with them (could you just cry reading that?)
7. get outfit/take shower/do hair
8. get test signed
and the last, in bold letters:

Like I said, couldn't you just cry?
Needless to say, my heart softened big time after reading her heart here in a to-do list. If you know my teen, please don't tell her I posted her to-do list on my blog. =) She would be horrified. =)

My heart softened, and I immediately thought of the verse:

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7

So, I asked the Lord for forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Oh, how I need these things on a minute-by-minute basis.
I looked at the pile of clothes I just moments ago angrily hurled into her closet.
Wanna guess what I did?


Katrina said...

You put them all neatly away?

Thanks for being so open. Us mothers need to know we're not the only ones who struggle at times. :o) And the verse was just what I needed.

Billy Coffey said...

Though my children are still a few years away from teenagers, I struggle with this sort of thing too. Thanks for speaking not only for all the mothers out there, but the fathers as well...

Aimee said...

I DID cry reading this...oh Andrea, that is a true treasure and the Lord encouraging you that He is at work in her and in you...a visible tangible sign! This post just warms my heart b/c I feel your feelings and have blown it way too many times with my quick temper.

Stacey said...

Thanks for living authentically and being real. I needed to read that scripture this morning.

by...K@ Ashcroft said...

I am reading this at work because I didn't think I was going to read something that would make me cry. But here I sit, a lone woman in a room of men and I cry. I too have a teenager with whome I butt heads on many occasions. It was my bday this week and although I had many many more well wishes than I have ever had in the past, it was my daughter to went to the store and picked out a gift especially for me. Something she knew I would love even though it broke her piggy bank so to speak and it was she who sent not one but 3 different bday wishes, making sure I knew she was thinking of me that day.
Aren't teenagers really awesome and special?

tonia said...


you are speaking my own heart today...i don't butt heads with my daughter, but there's this son...and i have been so convicted about looking beyond the surface to his heart.

thank you so much for posting this. i really needed to remind myself before the day begins.

you bless me!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Oh Andrea, I am butting heads with my tween daughter a lot too. I hate it and she hates it.

I often think about how God's kindness leads us to repentance. When I am kind, she responds. When I am demanding (which I most often am), she rebels.

blessedmommie said...

Thank you so much for writing this very honest post. I am crying as I read this. This is an area I am working on as well, and I think it applies to our husbands as much as our children. Oh, for me to learn to let grace freely flow through me and think the best of those around me...

Monica said...

Wow. Now I'm crying.

I've been trying REALLY hard lately not to judge my kid's motives. I'm just sure that they are out to make my life hard and I need to remind myself that it's not about ME all the time.

May God continue to bless you as you parent and love your daughter. What a precious look into her mind and heart.

I gave my daughter for her 12th birthday a blank notebook. We are going to write to each other and pass it between ourselves. I'm praying that the Lord will use this to cement our relationship in these final years at home. I so long to know my children and for them to know all that God has to impart through me. Hopefully, they'll be able to forget the rest.

kelli said...

Thank you so much for your transparency. My temper so often gets the best of me, and this was a beautiful reminder of what is real and true.

Anonymous said...

oh, i'm so encouraged.
so encouraged.
betsy listened to me pour out my heart today about my oldest.
i love that you two (and fam's)
are going to spend tgiving together -
what a group!

Rebekah said...

Minute-by-minute mercy and grace...I'm in constant need myself!
Thank you for sharing you heart!

Heather said...

You must be doing something right. She sounds like a really good girl. And the world DEFINITELY needs good girls now...

Goodlikeamedicine said...

That did make me cry!!! Reminds me of my post Toothpaste Tears!

I have been having such a hard time with my oldest, Lydia, lately. Thanks for the encouragement! Now, please tell me - how do I get from here (5 years old) to there (15)??? :)

payton said...

I'm crying in Macon.
So encouraging!
Thank you for sharing this.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

I love it when I find something that reveals the heart in one of my children.

The Lord knows exactly what we need sometimes as moms.

Love this post!

SuzyQ said...

Just Beautiful.
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7
I have been contemplating this so much today since reading your post.
How easy it is to simply look on the outside. See the behaviour before the intention.
I will keep this close to my heart :0)
Thankyou for sharing from yours.

Pink Slippers said...

You are a good Mommy.
And a normal one.
God is always teaching and changing us.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for sharing! Although I still cannot believe you were brave enough to post your daughters journal entry. Yikes! I would have killed my mom:) I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I meant to do list not journal entry. OOPS

Kristy Howard said...

Thank you for sharing, Andrea... it's good to know I'm not the only mama who needs an attitude adjustment from time to time!

Check out my blog- you just won The Marie Antoinette Real Person Award. :o)

~Kristy @ Homemakers Cottage

Kristy Howard said...

Sorry... left you the wrong link... try this one!!

~Kristy @ Homemakers Cottage

Debi said...

You don't know me, but I'm a mom of 4 boys...2 teenagers (18 & 15)...I have NO idea how I happened to find your boys think it quite strange to read a stranger's blog...BUT, you are a sister in the Lord, nonetheless :) Anyways, I wanted to thank you for your's quite refreshing and I will be praying for you~ God is so faithful and uses even our weaknesses in our children's lives. The Lord bless you~

L.L. Barkat said...


loved this entry.

SageGreen said...

Isn't this whole blogging thing great for us. I have a 15 year old son who just today was making me feel like a bad parent. Long story short, I saw that I was causing much of the problem and apologized to him. Trust is so vital.

I don't have a good relationship with my parents and feel so disadvantaged about how to create a better life with my kids. I find myself doing the same things my mom did, i.e. not really listening, not truly coming to know who my children are.

Thanks for the reminders.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, Been thinking of this one even with our young ones. I don't want to be so jumpy with them about their outward habits, esp. when they are meaning well and not being defiant. God Bless you all, Mary Brooke PS we love to put some canned pumpkin in our pancakes in the fall...I still mean to try the buttermilk ones.

Trinity Mommy said...

How Precious!

Beck said...

That is just lovely.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

What a beautiful peek into the world of a teenage girl. I don't think I would have had a clue that my mom "needed" anything when I was 15. You are definitely doing something right.

Love to you!


Jason and Mari Rowell said...

I'm new to the blogging world, and in reading Nie Nie's old posts, I came across your blog and clicked on her link. WOW, I guess we all face similar situations with our children. I have a daughter, who will be 14 this month, and this sounds just like our situation. Thanks for sharing.

TheFiveDays said...