Lingering in Adolescence

Last night I visited the blog of a dear online friend, Cheryl Smith. We met quite serendipitously through The High Calling Blogs website. She a Welcome Editor and me a wide-eyed new blogger, our paths seemed eerily similar and so the kindred heart exchanges began.

She, too, was a former ministry wife who lost her marriage and career due to her husband’s sexual struggles. Both of us knew the grief of divorce, those years of survival when the future dimmed from dusk into darkness.

We both understood the challenges of single parenting, trying to guide our children in the midst of the night. And yes, we knew the shadows of soul that threatened to leave us huddled in the corners of our lives, fearful and ashamed instead of discovering our new identities and destinies.

Her recent post resonated within me so much that I awoke thinking about her words in the night. She visually and poetically described the emotions I often feel now that my future lays before me, fresh, clean, and full of possibilities.

She expressed my sentiments when she described her feelings after two people encouraged her to dream bigger dreams, “Just sadness for the long season of holding on. Holding on is hard work. My survival grip was so strong that my dreaming muscle atrophied. That’s it! My dreaming muscle forgot how to dream.” Her post is a must read

I left a comment thanking Cheryl for “giving me the words to express this strange, hollow clanging in my soul.”

Like Cheryl, I am also having a difficult time transitioning from survival mode into dream mode. It is as if I awoke after years of surviving only to find myself lingering in a perpetual state of adolescence. I appear stuck in a stage of development so common among the middle school students I teach.

On one hand, adolescence fills with confusing but exciting options. On the other, lack of identity and emotional turmoil makes choosing a focus virtually impossible. Determining your destiny is like trying to find the end of a very long string that keeps taking you into other rooms and other places. Just when you think the end purpose is right around the corner, the string leads you elsewhere, far beyond where you imagined. And along the way, you meet precious friends like Cheryl.

Recently, I found a journal I kept during my recovery years. An entry dated in 1996 proved telling. When I read what I thought God’s purposes would someday be for me, my heart leapt. How odd to have come full circle over the last fourteen years:

1. Give hope by telling others, “God is with you in your darkest nightmare.”

2. Equip with tools by helping others process their lives.

3. Be a Catalyst by igniting the flame of desire in hearts to discover and pursue their gifts for the world memoir

I also wrote, “I am leaning towards communications and English majors because of the power of the spoken and written word”

On an upbeat note, what helps a youth navigate through this difficult season of adolescence are caring adults who help them processing the confusion and provide guided choices. I look forward to this weekend attending the AuthorizeMe seminar created and hosted by Sharon Norton Elliot. Perhaps I will find the end of the string.

Is there anyone else out there lingering in adolescence? If so, I’d love to receive your comment!

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