From the sublime to the ridiculous--the joys of raising my teenager!

Lovely Joy--There is 11 years difference between Sarah, my oldest and Joy, my youngest. When Sarah was around Joy's age, we had one computer that all of the kids shared. (Clay had his own since he was at our home office.) Each child had an allotted time to spend on the computer during the day and that was all. (Now all of us have our own computers--Joy was in a homeschool expermental Mac class where she got her refurbished one for classes, fully loaded for $500.)

There were no cell phones, at least not commonly and no teens had cell phones. Certainly no texting. Face book was a thing of the future. Girls loved reading Anne of Green Gables and Victorian style was the craze--even in magazines Victoria Magazine flourished. There were no tight, straight leg jeans as many of Sarah's friends wore dresses and especially to church.

Now, Joy is growing up in a different world. We got each of our older children cell phones when they started driving so that we could keep up with them when they were on the snowy highway. Joy got her first cell phone when she was 12 as we had a "buy 5 get one free" offer from the phone company. Because of it not being a big deal to her (she has grown up so much around our older kids) she rarely texts her friends and usually only when she needs to know a meeting time or occasionally a short message when we are out of town. It is mainly so I can get a hold of her.

I have had to learn to change with the times. It would be ridiculous or at least very insensitive  for me to make Joy have the values of her older siblings. (at least when it comes to style--which has greatly changed--the girls hoot and laugh when they see older pictures of all of us with poofy hair, elaborate puffy sleeved dresses and such.) I have had to learn through much thought and prayer what is of eternal value and what is only a "standard" I used to think was a spiritual code, but really only a cultural historical value.

Now things are more natural--no more permed, fluffy hair--straight and sleek and natural is in. Or at least no hair spray look even if you do use hair spray.

One of my older friend's kids said, "Mom, a lot of your friends got off the fashion train at some point in their lives and stayed at that place and never got back on the train again!"I have had to get back on the train again and figure out who the real Sally is--contemporary, or middle aged, conservative or hip, or whatever--as my older kids have lots of opinions about how I should look to reach the "post moderns" and they regularly shop with me to pick out my clothes--they are now the parents and I am the obedient child--at least when it comes to style! Still seeking to be feminine and conservative as my heart dictates.

Music is different, too, especially at church. I still love the old, meaningful words of the hymns. But I have also learned to enjoy and accept many of the new contemporary songs. I try to stay in the world of my children so that I can still speak into their hearts. I have learned to enjoy them so much and I still see good hearts. I have also had to learn to trust them and the Lord in them, so as not to hold them so tightly that they would want to run far from our legalism.

It is difficult to change. Scary. Often, we are fearful of the "culture" and how it might corrupt our children.But, really the important issues are still the same. There might be different wrappings on the outside of teenagers, but the heart is still the issue. The character of kids. Their need for love, affirmation, friends, purpose, and their need for God to guide them in truth and morality. And so, I have changed a great deal and tried to understand the heart of my new teenager--almost 15. Her style and personality are different, but her heart is strong. She is an extrovert who needs friends--even if only a few. And so we go to great lengths to help provide her with a sense of "community" of like-minded kids who also share our Biblical values. And, just as it was with our older children, it is a walk of faith--trusting God, seeking His wisdom and creativity and ideas about how to reach and launch this child just as faithfully.

He is faithful. He is good and He is strong. Joy is much more "contemporary" at this age than a couple of my older ones--but she has had them for a model--clothing, music, discussions, values. She came out of the womb more hip. But her heart is so very sweet and she loves the Lord and she has a good, strong conscience and seeks to have an influence on her own peers.

God has never let me just rest or stay still in my life as a parent, marriage partner or ministry speaker and leader. He always requires new things of me--new lessons, new faith issues. But in the end, as I hold to him and not to my rules, I find He is faithful and true and good and still reaches hearts as I walk with Him in front of my children. So, I trust Him today, that He has access to each of my children's souls, and I seek to cultivate a spiritual life, not based on style or fashion or music, but on heart--that part that never changes in its needs or design.

Joy's poems--reflecting her heart and her daily life with peers in her arena--so very different but still, she walks with Him! And I am so very thankful.

Closer than a Heartbeat
Closer than a heartbeat,
He will be to me.
Every breath I take,
In my lungs He'll be.
Every step I take,
He's close by my side.
Every move I make,
He constantly with me bides.
Every tear I cry,
Splashes in His hand.
When I can't move a muscle,
He'll pick me up and stand.
Every piece of broken heart,
In His hands He's holding.
Breaking my imperfect self,
To create a whole new molding.
I am weak and weary,
But you can make me strong.
You have won my heart and mind and soul,
To you alone I belong.
Teenage Joy
(Upon being at our local coop one day, Joy came home and recorded the conversations she heard.)




I am too short,
And you are too tall.
He is a fatso
And your bod is small.
She has some pimples,
And he's just obscene.
Isn't it fun, being a teen?
That's so medieval,
Those shoes are a bore,
Oh look at that emo!
Ain't she a snore?
That sweater is bad,
but worse have I seen,
Isn't it dandy, being a teen?
OMG (Oh, my goodness?!), LOL, BRB hahaha,
When we texted he said I was stupidly
I wanted to like that cute handsome Dean,
Too bad, oh so sad,
The joys of a teen
This is her new world. God is still in this world and He is good and faithful--and as usual, I am still on my knees.