Parenting Your Children Past the Age of 18

I can’t look. Get down from there this instant.

My oldest daughter is home after a long day at work, actually a series of long days at work and school. I want to hug her and comfort her in some way, but that won’t happen because he is here….the fiance. My time is over and it is up to him to make her smile and comfort her. He is doing that as I type. I hope they don’t notice me tearing up as I type this. I have two adult children living at home now and it has not been easy. Not at all.

My second oldest child turned 18 and got her own car, with her own money, in the same week. So, even though she lives at home while going to community college, I have lost track of her. She still keeps to curfew but has taken up using the basement door for her coming and going. Is she here right now? I think so, but I’m not sure. Should I know where she is? I’m not sure of that either.

Her age is just a number. It legally qualifies her to live elsewhere and go about her business. In real time however, she did not change overnight. She is still too young to know everything she needs to know to function on her own. I know in my brain that the solution to this is learning as she goes, from her mistakes. This applies even more to the newlyweds I will soon be observing from an uncomfortable distance. Mothers can make an awful mess of things when they try to help couples striking out on their own.

Peace out baby!

This is the season of their discontent. Do you remember how painful it got to be living in your parents’ house?  Transforming into an adult is about feeling like they could do life better than I do it. They become my worst critics. Sadly, this attitude is very necessary for them to move on. How else could they face the daunting task of going it alone? They are out on the edge of the nest, flapping their wings. They need to want to go. I need the desire to give them a shove. The frustration we all feel helps with this.

This really leaves me where I have always been; giving my children back to God…again.Years ago, they might crawl off a bed or walk out in the road. Later we have to think about bike wrecks, then car wrecks. Now they may mess up at work or ruin a relationship. They may not find a hotel room to stay in for their honeymoon if they don’t hurry up and call already. The point is, the worries change and our ability to interfere changes, but God doesn’t change. He is still dealing with them directly, not through me. So they could be on the precipice of danger or mistakes, but He is in control of what happens. It is so hard to remember.

Why would someone want to paint this?

This huge concept is what I set out to convey with this blog. It is why I named the blog raising His child. When we can remember that He loves these children and cares for them better than we can, it can bring such peace. At this stage, the peace is coming in drips and drabs. That’s my fault of course. The stakes feel higher and I’m more out of control, or so it seems. So I wrestle with worry and try to take it all upon myself. It’s a strange change that means doing less for them is best for them. God help me.

This is so new to me. I would love to hear from those of you who are further down the path of parenting adults. Please comment and share what you have learned for those of us who are transitioning out of raising His child.

While you were being a good mom 9/9/2011

I need one of these

This week my youngest turned seven and my 3rd child finished up Driver’s Ed. When you have  six kids, the milestones go flying past. Teeth are falling out and people are learning to read. My 2nd daughter is getting real grades – good ones – at college. I say “real” because they are the first ones ever that are not from her mom. I’m still planning a wedding and thinking about starting to plan to lose weight for this event. Daughter number 4 just became a member of the youth group. I’m gathering with friends to learn about being an heiress with Beth Moore. My hands are full, but they are full of what I love. All this and I still found some time to hook you up with some good links this week. Here’s what I found while you were wondering if it was too soon to wear your cute boots. (the answer is no by the way)

What teachers want to tell you – A friend of mine who teaches 3rd grade shared this on Facebook and I stole it. Keep an open mind and check yourself. Do your kids give problems? Are you open to the truth when teachers give it? This is not just a problem at school but amongst friends or in Sunday School classes. Sara Groves shared a link to this site through her Twitter account. Please note that it is satire about small groups, mission bracelets, interpretive dance and more. They are not serious. They are kidding. Ok, now that I have made that clear, have some fun reading some truths about Christians that are so funny they hurt. Or they hurt so much it’s funny? You get the idea.

I found this while searching for "small group images"

Giving your kids the gospel message everyday – This is a blog post from a Pastor. He talks about what our kids learn when you do not live honestly in front of them, warts and all. When we are never wrong, they never see Grace in action in our lives. That would be a waste of God’s most awesome gift.

Penn Jillette – yes, as in Penn and Teller –  Penn Jillette is a hardened Atheist, no doubt about it. I know it is hard to watch this odd camera angle but the words he says will haunt you. He tells about someone giving him a Bible and the impact it had on him. Watch him soften with emotion before your eyes. I think of this often and it reminds me about the need for light and salt in this dark, tasteless world.

Your Growing,Thriving Women’s Ministry

I have always been intrigued by the idea of women’s ministry. What a privilege it would be to hear from God and speak into the lives of women everywhere. I would love to speak that one sentence or write that one paragraph that helps the lightbulb glow for a woman I have never met. To do what Beth Moore or Larry Crabb or Henry Cloud have done for me would be the greatest work in my imagination.
I am often reminded, by helpful articles, books or friends, that my family is my great ministry now and I absolutely agree. Even though I believe it, it has always felt like some sort of consolation job til the dream job comes along. Right now I’m paying my dues in the grunt work of life. Until I typed it, I didn’t realize how awful that sounds, how awful it is to think that way.
So to remind myself, and you too if you feel like you are just biding your time, here are some of the many ways I was honored to serve God in my life for the past few weeks.

Beth Moore getting into it, as always

My family worked together to help a man who fell in the road beside our house. We are one of the few families that are at home during the day. This made it possible for us to help this older gentleman by calling an ambulance and staying with him. The sad thing is, we found he lived only three doors down and we had never met him or his wife. We know them now.

I talked to a mom about homeschooling. She was ready to give up. I have seen this time and time again; moms new to homeschooling who feel so inadequate to do the job God designed them for. She really wants to home school . All she needed is to believe she could. Any of you homeschooling moms out there have this pep talk to give. Don’t hesitate to give it.

I talked to my daughter about anger and forgiveness. God has been showing me so much on this subject through my small group. I’m so thankful I had the words to give when she needed to hear them. 

 I have been able to spend time with my very busy 17-year-old who is about to graduate. She hurt her knee while hiking so we have been to doctor’s appointments  and I have helped her at her job. I got to see how hard she works.

By now you get the idea. To be clear, I am not bragging on how busy and important my life is. Quite the opposite. My life is laid-back and very quiet. Still all these encounters come my way. Add to the above: advising my husband on heart matters, teaching Kindergarten Sunday School, being called on to help a little girl who was showing signs of a problem, teaching my ten-year-old about the formal apology, talking a really mad friend down off an angry ledge, talking through a big misunderstanding with another friend, consulting a newly pregnant young woman on the importance of protein during morning sickness, discussing career plans with my 17-year-old, and talking with my 6-year-old about lying, again.

Women do these things and more every day. We all have a growing, thriving women’s ministry. As women we routinely do things that have eternal impact on the lives of others. God has been calling my attention to each interaction for the past few weeks because He knows I was discouraged. Now I want you to think of your list of tasks you have been blessed to do for the Almighty God and be encouraged as well. Be an encouragement to others and share your lists in the comments section below.