I remember when my kids were 6 and under and I would take all four of them out. People would ask me, "Are they all yours?" It was all I could do to smile and politely say yes, when what I really wanted to do was respond in a most sarcastic tone of voice, "No, I go around collecting random children because I think it's fun to chase toddlers and preschoolers around the clothing racks in stores while wearing an infant in a sling and having one very timid 6-year-old attached to my shirt tail with a death grip." Those few brave souls who dared to hold me up for more than that one question often followed up with this bit of wisdom:
"Wow, you really have your hands full. Just wait until they're teens!"
It didn't take me long to figure out that there will be a 6-month period when I will have four teens, so comments like that made me shudder, just a little bit.
Fast forward a decade and here I am with two of my four kids now teenagers, and one a preteen. The last one is still in single digits, at least for a little while longer, but he learns a lot from his older siblings.
So is it as bad as those strangers warned me it would be when they were little?
Nope. In fact, having teenagers is fun! I think I am enjoying this more than any other stage in their lives so far. I love the humor, I love their friends, and I love that we can have real conversations about real topics.
But there is something that worries me. My children are growing up without a male role model. They are also growing up in a single parent home. How will they know what a healthy marriage looks like? What issues will the divorce and changed family situation produce in their lives?
I also grew up in a broken home, and I know that my two biggest issues were anger and an unhealthy view of males in authority. Will my children have these same issues, or will they battle promiscuity, substance abuse, or other issues common to children of divorce? Will they have healthy marriages someday, or will they end up divorced, too?
I don't have any way to look into the future and find the answer to these concerns. But I do know this: my children are in the hands of a loving God who knows their futures, and I can trust Him to take care of them. In the meantime, my job is to do the best I can with the resources He has given me, and to cover them in prayer. I don't need to worry. My children, my teens, are safe with my Father in heaven!