Loving Our Kids at Their Messiest


Two weddings and a baby! Yes, our family is having a big year. Our oldest and youngest daughters are getting married within 5 months of each other and our middle daughter and son-in-law are expecting their first child in August. One of the weddings will be in our backyard, so we are taking this opportunity to do a couple of renovations in our house. Add to the mix that the brides-to-be are both in school—one finishing her bachelor’s and the other in the middle of her master’s. Guess who’s working on the weddings and showers?! Yep, Mom. Where is Franck (from Father of the Bride) when I need him!

While this is an exciting, happy, once-in-a-lifetime season for our family, it is stressful. I’m stressing. The girls are stressing. And we’re stressing over each other. (Although, I must say the mom-to-be is remarkably calm.)

My lower back tenses up at the mention of the weddings, especially when I think of the disconnect between my daughters and myself. I often think, “If only she would . . .” If only she would understand my point of view. If only she would make a decision. If only she would agree with me. But my daughters’ perspectives are not mine. They don’t see things the way I do. Thus, my angst.

After a few weeks of this unproductive thought pattern and subsequent conversations, I gave up and finally listened to God. He showed me–The girls are not going to change. They are stressed and doing the best they can. I am the adult. I am supposed to be the strong, calm, sane mom. But what am I acting like? Definitely not the mom they need.

Any change that happens (at least for now) must come from me. The girls have a lot going on in school and they are doing their best. In the midst of their stress and life changes what they need more than a Franck (would be nice!) is a mom who loves them no matter what. In this season my girls need a mom who:

  • Doesn’t take anything personally.
  • Encourages them amidst their many projects and deadlines.
  • Loves and supports them even though their decisions would not have been mine.
  • Does what she can to help without overreaching.
  • Keeps the right perspective—in five months they will be married and totally released. Life will never be the same as it is and was. Enjoy this crazy season! I want this to be a good memory for all of us.

 Other things that may help you and you child in your circumstances:

  • Healthy boundaries. Respectful tone and language.
  • Not rescuing them. Their consequences are their consequences.

 Sometimes our kids need our love more than anything else. And the times they most need our love is when they are their messiest.

 When I remember that this parenting thing is not about me, I have the perspective to be the mom my girls need. It’s not easy. It is messy. I am messy! But as long as I lean in to God, He is always faithful to show me what I need to know and do.


What season of life is your child in? What does he need most from you right now? I’d love


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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