Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tween Bible Study: The Initiation

Last spring, I felt a heavy burden on my heart to do all that I could to not only build a positive relationship with my 8 year old daughter, Alex.  Our strong willed, fiercely independent, energetic girl and I were butting heads, a lot.  For those who know Alex, you know that she is extremely social, gregarious, and a bit all over the place; she's either hyper focused on something or a million places at once.  I have always said that Alex is my teacher.  She reminds me that I, in no way, have this parenting thing all together.  Steve and I have some principles that guide us, but to be honest, when the rubber hits the road it's hard to see these principles that we believe strongly in carry out.
As we were preparing for our TJ (our first referral in September who passed away in November) and then Jesse last year, we thought a little family counseling wouldn't be a bad idea.  Yes, we are one of those families.  I have no problem reaching out when I feel a bit lost!  Our goal was to make sure our lines of communication were open w/ Alex as she transitioned from only child to big sister and to prepare anyway we could.  We talked about as much as possible and got some great tips from our counselor; it was time and money well spent for us.  It especially helped us with Alex when TJ unexpectedly died.  I wouldn't trade that time in her office for anything; it really put my mommy heart at ease as we were grieving.
Heading back to the spring, I felt called to try to build a better relationship with Alex by participating with her in a Bible Study of some sort, something appropriate and fun for her, but also meaningful to help her walk with God.  The burden came from a bit of fear: What if I miss this opportunity to really connect with her before she hits the teen years?  Also, I didn't want to look back and say that I could have done this or that, but I didn't.  
For those of you who know me, I'm a secondary English Teacher.  I heart teenagers.  They are funny and figuring it all out.  I love to just help them to not take themselves too seriously and yet encourage them to find their voice as they are entering this crazy world.  My big questions are:  Why are you here? (i.e. What do you think you've been put on this earth to do?) My challenge is:  Do it if you know what that is or explore what's out there to see if something ignites your soul!  This is a little deep for my 8 year old, although we are all about exploring to see where her talents and passions are right now.  This stage of her life is a bit goofy; I called this time in my own particular life "the uglies," (I hate to put a negative connotation on it, but it's honestly what I grew up calling it.) because I was so awkward and unsure.  As a result of this, I'm doing all that I can to appreciate a stage in my kiddo's life that I particularly didn't enjoy in my own.  Whew!  Sounds a bit self centered, I admit.
So, I organized a tween Bible Study for my crazy girl and some of the other girls who go to our church.  Last night was our first meeting chez moi.  I had my many magic markers and Bible Study books ready to go.  We sat in our only picked up room in my house, girls and moms together and discussed meditating on God's Word as it was laid out in Psalm 119.  I gotta tell you, this is deep stuff.  I'm praying that I didn't sound like a babbling idiot.  I was SO happy the other moms were there to be there in the conversation with our girls; they are a God send!  My biggest fear is confusing our girls or saying something that's wrong.  It's such a huge responsibility.
Anyway, I ask for your prayers as we continue on this journey.  I've been asking for the Holy Spirit to guide my words, etc.  My kid was the class clown in the group; are you surprised?  So, now my new prayer is that she focuses a little more (surprise, surprise!) and listens with her whole heart.  I'm grateful to have this time with her, and I hope we can look back one day and say, "Remember when..."  I want as many of those as possible.  

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