What Advice Would You Share With Today’s Sixteen Year Old?

Advice to my 16-year-old daughter

Today, our third daughter, the “baby” of the family, turned sweet sixteen.  Birthdays are a BIG deal in our home and sixteen is no exception.  However, the reality is that every day should be celebrated as it is a unique gift given to us to be performed on the “stage” of life as we choose.

In my musing of late, I have decided that the next few years of my supporting role should be more intentional and loving.  My heart aches for today’s youth as they seem to be growing up much faster than those who came before them.  Maybe it’s my unique perspective of having a decade between Cayley and her older sisters but I feel today’s teens face choices, stress, and problems that are unique to their generation.  

Cayley enjoys singing and acting.  She is part of the musical theatre program at her high school allowing me to observe and learn a few lessons that I feel might benefit others.  Life is an ongoing drama we all get to participate in. The life stage that we perform on is not a one-person show.  We all have parts to play and every role is essential for the overall performance.  The more we support each other, the better life will be for everyone.  

As your mom, Cayley, I will always be here to support and cheer you on.   Below are sixteen things I hope you always remember.

  1. Savor this moment in time.  You are only sixteen once. One day you will wish you were sixteen again as life is so much easier looking backwards. Ask your sisters as adulting is hard stuff.  
  2. Play your given role and have fun.  Always be yourself.  There are so many wonderful things about your life. You are unique. One of a kind! Discover and lean into your strengths and embrace your differences.  Also, appreciate your height. It is a good thing.
  3. Perform for an audience of One.  Spend more time cultivating your relationship with God; the more time you spend in that relationship, the better your relationships will be with others and you will have more peace.
  4. Support others. Look for ways to make others shine.  When you give 110% you make not only yourself look good but the entire cast. Don’t waste your time on people who make you feel worse after you spend time with them. Just don’t!!!
  5. Eliminate comparisons. Nothing good comes from comparing ourselves to others. We either feel better or worse than the person we are comparing ourselves to, thus leading to pride or low self-esteem. Thereby regretting what you aren’t, rather than allowing you to appreciate who God made you to be.    
    1. Social Media is comparison on steroids. Don’t be fooled by what you see on Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram as I guarantee you that those people aren’t always happy. It’s human nature to share mostly the good things. Rarely will you find people posting about family drama, being rejected, insecurities, or the hard stuff ?  Limit social media and increase your joy while eliminating a lot of stress.  
  6. It’s OK to say NO!!!  Every yes is a no to something else. If you try to do everything you will wear yourself out.  Choose wisely. Go deep rather than wide.  
  7. Set achievable goals. When your goals are specific and reachable you are more likely to meet them and feel good about yourself.  Write out your goals and share them with someone to hold you accountable.  Keep them visible to you can remind yourself daily of what truly is important to you.  
  8. Eliminate chaos, establish routines.  Eliminate things that stress you out and slow you down (screen time). Try to be one step ahead instead of one step behind.  Being prepared will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Create routines for yourself that promote success. Seek the guidance of parents, teachers, counselors, organizers, list, and family members.
  9. Stop procrastinating. Get your work done ahead of time before any deadlines.  Guess what?  You will eliminate anxiety and feel good about yourself.   
  10. Give second chances.  Forgive people’s mistakes or oversights.  Forgive yourself when you mess us because we do 😉 We all blow it…almost every day.  Each day is a new beginning. We get to start over and make better choices. Every. Single. Day.  Cherish the fresh start, the blank page and the new chapter.
  11. Be a lifelong learner. Read. Write. Listen to the wisdom of others.  Listen to podcasts. Talk to people wherever you go. Ask lots of questions. Just don’t stop learning. Ever.
  12. Take care of yourself.  The number on the scale is not you.  What is important is that you tend to your health and wellness and be the best version of you.  Take your vitamins, understand your differences, exercise daily, meditate (be still) and get 8+ hours of sleep. Heed the wisdom of those older than yourself.
  13. Learn patience and persistence.  Be ambitious and never give up.  Rejection is inevitable but remain resilient. Persistence is the key to success. There are many innovative and successful individuals such as your dad, who faces great obstacles, including unemployment, before they achieved their success.  This is why having a clear goal in mind is important. When you fail, it’s not the end of the world. When you succeed, it’s not the pinnacle of life either.
  14. Nobody is perfect. Society often glamorizes perfection via magazine covers that sell, spotlighted celebrities, and models. However, one really doesn’t know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. They too have insecurities and failures.
  15. Use your voice, project. What you have to say is important. Don’t hold it in because you are afraid of what other people will think of you. Be the outgoing person you want to be. The only thing your shyness is doing is holding you back.
  16. Show up. On time. Listen more than you talk. And work hard. Remember: all that separates successful people from those who are not is that successful people do what unsuccessful people won’t do.

What advice would you offer to today’s sixteen year old?  Please take time to share words of encouragement or wisdom with Cayley.  Many thanks.  

 

 

 

Are You Weary?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

As a mom journeying ahead of you but yet still in the game, I know the reality of discouragement right after the hubbub of the frantic holiday season.  Life can begin to feel mundane especially after all of this recent dreary weather and world news. So plan to get away, get together, and be renewed with other moms.  There are many possibilities, but I will share about one near and dear to my heart.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us to not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. What is good? Good is having the qualities required for a particular role, be it wife, mother, employee, etc. and doing that which is morally right.  Isn’t this a great verse full of hope? 

I realized early during my motherhood journey that sometimes the simple act of getting away to be renewed, inspired, and encouraged positively helped me to continue going when I wanted to give up.  I jokingly dubbed the mom get away as my vitamin B12 shot as it was the jolt I needed to deal with my stinky thinking that had crept in.  You know, those lies we believe.  We live in an imperfect world with imperfect children, and we are imperfect, but thankfully there is hope, grace, and those women who have walked ahead of us willing to cheer us on.  Sally Clarkson has been that impactful voice to so many women including myself.

I jokingly dubbed the mom get away as my vitamin B12 shot as it was the jolt I needed to deal with my stinky thinking that had crept in.  We live in an imperfect world with imperfect children, and we are imperfect, but thankfully there is hope, grace, and those women who have walked ahead of us willing to cheer us on.  Sally Clarkson has been that supportive voice to so many women including myself.

This year’s Renew My Heart Conference message, given alongside her son Nathan, will be especially impactful if you have a child or know of others families with kiddos who are somewhat different whether they are strong willed, fidgety, high-strung, or have learning disabilities.  Sally has often referred to her Nathan as, “my OCD, ADHD, ODD, Oh my child.”  Having known her for many years and been privileged to read an advance reader of Different I know this year’s message will be especially impactful. Together they will share various stories of their journey. Discover what it looks like to love and work with a child who has differences. Learn why and how to never give up on your outside-the-box child.  A Mothers words, love, and nurturing matters.  I’m sure Sally never imagined while parenting Nathan that one day they would be publicly sharing their journey. Sally never gave up, and I do believe she is reaping the harvest of what she faithfully planted into each of her children.   That is the same hope we have to look forward to as mothers but in Gods timing 😉

God is so good to use those who have walked ahead of us to pour richly into our lives.  If you are unsure if this is the right investment or season for you to attend may I encourage you to watch them on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on Tuesday, January 24, at 10:00 AM EST. Get a taste of what a weekend away with them could be.  

Their book will be available on the 24th, but you can preorder it now for $10.14 on Amazon. Want a sneak peek?  You can download the first chapter for free or learn more by visiting Sally’s Blog.

Please let me know if you decide to attend the Dallas conference as I will be there serving and would love to grab a hug. 

If you are interested in participating in a book study using the book, message me for details.  We will begin the study after the Dallas conference allowing you time to read the book.  

Being a Mom, My Greatest Joy

Dr. Kevin Leman forgiveness, legacy, hope,

Like many women I know, I was brought up unprepared for the challenges of motherhood. In return, I did not seek after it with much enthusiasm. I was afraid of what might happen if I were to bring children into the world because I was filled with anger and bitterness from my own childhood. Every child longs for love, acceptance, comfort, and approval and I am no different. When these needs are unmet, a child/young adult will seek to have them met in things such as drugs, sex, control, money, success, or unhealthy relationships. Thankfully, I encountered the only person who could give me unconditional and perfect love, acceptance, comfort and approval and that was Jesus Christ. He gives freely and without any strings attached. His redemptive love rescued me on February 25, 1987 when my husband, Jon, and I together accepted Christ. I received exactly what I needed to begin the journey of motherhood as I was given the Holy Spirit to teach and guide me (John 14:26; 16:13). In time I forgave my parents as it did me no good to harbor bitterness or resentment toward them. Dr. Kevin Leman says, “Forgiving is not saying what happened was okay and it’s not excusing it, but it is allowing something new to grow.” Today I am able to celebrate new beginnings.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV) Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

How exciting my past need not limit my ability nor yours to be a godly mother, that’s the beauty of the Christian life. You may not be able to change your past, however, by being proactive you can change the legacy you leave. Recently my mother praised me saying, “Cherie, I’ve turned you away from me; just like my mother did to me. I wish I could have broken the cycle before it affected you and your sister. I’m grateful that you have not continued the same cycle with your daughters; this makes me really proud. Maybe it will end with you? ” Sadly, her choices limited our relationship for many years. I celebrate that my choices are to build relationships with my daughters and leave a better legacy. I in no way can take credit for the changes that have occurred in my life. In my weaknesses, God is strong. Instead of facing inadequacies alone, I have learned that, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). Where we may feel ill equipped, God is there to be our strength. After all, like the old adage goes, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”  God’s word is a critical tool in preparing us for our calling as mothers. I chose to be in God’s word, study it, meditate on it and live it out. More importantly seeking and desiring an intimate relationship with my Maker broke so many chains as I discovered who I was in Him verses my family of origin, In Christ my life has purpose and meaning.  I celebrate that God’s word gives direction and as we are faithful to follow Him, we hope our children too, will follow in our footsteps thus breaking the bondage of generational sins. Psalm 119:105

I purposed to be a mother based on biblical principles instead of social norms or past experiences. This choice lead me on a journey completely different than I ever experienced or envisioned. Along the journey, God placed spiritual parents in my life to help strengthen and teach me as I traveled the journey of motherhood. I am thankful for these amazing individuals that discipled me by investing in my life personally. When I was unable to find encouragement face to face I realized it could be found through books, conferences, and classes for a season. The point is you want to grow and thrive in your relationship with Christ by replacing wrong thinking with truth. I was challenged to stop complaining about what I didn’t have, but instead shape my legacy with what I did have via a mission statement asking what do I wish to pass on to my children?  I celebrate that with God all things are possible even leaving a godly legacy. Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Being a mother has been one of the greatest joys in my life, certainly one worth celebrating. I am in awe that my two eldest daughters have both graduated from college and are living amazing lives that are bringing glory to God as they seek to serve Him. I am so proud of them. They are obedient and respectful of others and us. They challenge me with their walk and love for God. They have been some of the best teachers in my life. My youngest daughter continues to grow and mature as I seek to lay a solid biblical foundation for her by making sure she knows and loves the Lord.  My greatest joy is knowing that my children are walking in the truth and following Jesus with their whole hearts which is biblical (2 John 1:4).  What more could I want as a mother?  I celebrate motherhood and the three precious gifts that God blessed me with, as children indeed are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127

Oh I have so much to celebrate as I was given the opportunity to be a mother and, together with Jon, we have raised a godly heritage. I see the fruit of our labor and celebrate that with God all things are possible even for a reluctant mother like I was. My hope is to encourage those traveling the journey of motherhood feeling ill equipped.

As a mother what desires do you have for your children?  Read 2 John 1:4, “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” What can you purpose to do that would set your children on the right path to walk in truth?