I’m putting on my make up in the bathroom and you come in wanting to talk. You look frustrated and tell me how hard it is to be caught between being a teenager and a little kid.
Today you turn 11, and you say there are so many changes and the process is emotionally exhausting and it feels like you’ll never get there. We’ve been through it before and I have my go-to encouragements, but this time God strikes my heart with a new compassion because I realize I’m there too. My circumstances are different but I’m still caught in between.
When I see myself in the mirror of the Word, I feel the tension between the already and the not yet, and I think I’ll never be what I should be and I can relate to all the awkward in the process of change. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, growing into what God is making me, not feeling at home in my own skin (or feeling too at home there) when my spirit is (or should be, depending on the day) pulling toward heaven.
So I look at your big brown eyes so full of the complexities of where you are in life and I tell you I know. I know how hard it is, sweet girl. I know the growing pains and the long path to change that feels like one step forward and two steps back. I know the frustration of day by day wondering who you really are and what you’re really becoming.
And once again, I find myself almost out of words, out of pretty bows to tie up all those concerns and sadnesses and overwhelming feelings. There are fewer quick fixes the older you get. No more just kissing boo-boos as you skip off happily. But really, that’s a sign you’re right where you need to be, feeling the tension, feeling God forming Jesus in you, feeling God pulling you toward him, and seeing God change you into the woman he wants you to be.
So I tell you that we will struggle together to get where God is taking us.
We have a saying as the teenage years approach, looming before us like a necessary but unwanted rain storm. It’s not becoming a teenager that could make us grow apart. We remind each other: the only thing that can make us grow apart is sin. Only sin can create a wedge between us.
So as you’re stuck in the middle, between your teenage years and your childhood, make a habit now of fighting sin. Don’t let others tell you how you should look, act, and talk. Don’t let others tell you what you need and how you should feel. Don’t listen when your peers say we don’t understand, are old-fashioned, and unloving.
Instead, I’ll take one side of that shield of faith, described in Ephesians 6, and you take the other and together we’ll help guard our hearts against the devil and all his schemes we are so prone to follow. We’ll oppose those fiery darts of well-timed temptations that he’s hurling at us. And I’ll keep teaching you to use that sword, which is the Word of God, to combat the lies your generation and mine are screaming in our faces.
One day, Stell, we will be what we should be. And because of the difficult journey there, it will make our arrival all the sweeter. But until then, if we have to live between where we’ve been and where we’re going, I’m really glad that we’re caught here together.