Jake had just driven off to school when I sat down to write to you this morning. My thoughts were interrupted by news that my mentor of twenty years had lost her battle with cancer. She was there the day my baby boy was born, for his stitches and school decisions, and just recently for my questions about him becoming a young man. Her sudden absence paralyzed me and I forgot all about you.
But then I thought back to the last conversation I had with my sweet mentor, the one when we sat in our pajamas and drank tea late at night in her family room. I confessed feeling like I don’t always know my son in this teenage season, that I sometimes miss the little boy who wanted to marry me, and that I need wisdom to connect with him as he emerges into manhood from boyhood. This season of a young man is so new to me. She listened, laughed and made me laugh. She even let me cry too. Then she unwrapped the invaluable gift of her wisdom on what matters most when raising a boy to become a young man.
• Stand for What We Believe (Even When He Explores What He Believes) Their respect for us will keep us connected as he finds his way.
• Make Our Home a Place He Belongs (Even When He Chooses a Different Style) Let little things go that could make him feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.
• Embrace the One He Loves (Even if She is Different Than You) They will love us for loving their friends and ultimately, their mate.
• Encourage Him to Be the Man God Made Him to Be (Even if It’s Different Than His Dad) Your support and acceptance will keep him connected to your family.
I went home the next day knowing I could loosen my grip on my teenage son and let his heavenly Father shape him into the young man HE wants him to be. I felt the relief that comes from having a mom who’s “been there” tell me I’ll be okay and my boy will be okay too.
The next week, she was diagnosed with aggressive cancer. Two grown, devoted sons stayed by their mom’s side in each of her precious final days. Memories of my mentor and her wise words reminded me of how much of a difference she made for me in each season of my life as the mom of a boy.
And that’s when I remembered you. I want to carry on my mentor’s legacy by giving the gift of encouragement to another mom. You’ll be okay with your growing boy, too, my friend, even as he transitions to less of a boy and more of a young man. Stand for what you believe, make your home a place your boy belongs, embrace the one he loves, and encourage him to become the man God made him to be. Keep on loving that son-turning-man, and your connection will endure the seasons of his life and yours.
Cheering you on through the teenage years,
Not a day goes by when Julie Sanders isn’t thankful that “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom. 5:20). She loves to teach God’s word and minister to women, because she was blessed to have seasoned moms walk the motherhood journey with her. Mentoring and ministering internationally makes her heart soar, and her favorite travel partner is husband Jeff. The youngest of their two nearly grown kids, son Jacob has made Julie catch her breath, fill with joy, and drop to her knees time and time again.