My husband and I attended middle school orientation for parents last night. Our oldest is off to middle school in the fall. When I look at her, I see a beautiful 10-year-old in the process of becoming a young lady. She's smart, funny and athletic. But when I look at her, I mostly just see my little girl. Middle school conjures up images of hormone-ridden pre-teen angst. It reminds me of my middle-school years, which may just count as the most miserable years of my life. In my mind, I see cliques and tears and frustration with my parents. But these years open up a lot of opportunities for my daughter, as well -- opportunities to grow and learn and become the young woman God wants her to be.
But I have to tell you, I'm not ready for this. As we stand on the cusp of this new adventure, I feel ill-equipped to handle all that will happen in the next three years. This transition in my life from mom of a child in elementary school to mom of a child in middle school is not one that I'm making easily. I don't know if I have enough wisdom to counsel my daughter through these years of change. I don't know if I have enough patience for the hormones that are headed our way. I don't know if I'm brave enough to start letting go of the decision-making process. I just don't know.
I also don't know how my daughter is going to react to the change. Will she thrive? Will she be frustrated? Will she make good choices? Will she hang out with the right kids? All of these things ran through my brain last night as the middle school principal explained that middle schoolers go through as many physical and emotional changes as kids do in the toddler years. Probably an apt comparison from what I hear.
There are so many unknowns about this middle school adventure. As parents, the unknown is always scary -- both for us and our kids. Stepping out of the space where we feel safe and into the vast unknown requires courage and faith. No matter whether you're standing on the cusp of middle school or the cusp of toddlerhood or the cusp of college, that first step out into the abyss of the unknown is a big one.
The only thing I do know about this time of change in our lives is that God is taking that step with us. While I know I don't have enough wisdom, patience or courage, God does. I simply have to remember to tap into His resources, not my own. If I try to struggle through these middle school years on my own, both my daughter and I are going to end up frustrated and angry. I simply don't have enough of anything on my own to make it through. But if I seek God and let Him fill me up, I'll have what my daughter needs when she needs it.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God is going to provide enough grace, courage, patience and strength to get through every day of middle school with my daughter -- as long as I remember to spend time with Him, letting Him fill me up.
No matter what situation you are facing with your kids -- from the birth of a new baby to the beginning of middle school to sending them off to college -- God has enough of everything you need. You just have to tap into it. Fill yourself up with God's grace today. Then you'll be ready for whatever comes you way.