Growing Pains

No one can become a truly biblical adult without setting some limits… Otherwise, we never know if we have forged our own values, beliefs, and convictions – our very identity – or if we are mimicking the ideas of our family… if you have never questioned, set boundaries, or experienced conflict with your family members, you may not have an adult-to-adult connection with your family… You may be afraid of separating, individuating and becoming an autonomous adult.

From Boundaries in Marriage by John Townsend and Henry Cloud

(as quoted in the ‘Boundaries’ email devotional from

Well that seems very pertinent to me, both from the perspective of a woman who never had the opportunity to ‘grow up’ properly – a combination of illness, abuse from brother and (first) spouse, and a highly passive aggressive mother – and from the perspective of the same woman with two teenage children who are testing the boundaries and trying to establish their own sense of autonomy, one of whom has autism and learning disabilities so may well have limited autonomy. They never actually say these words, but the majority of what they do seems to be saying ‘who am I?’ I pray Prince and Fluff find their answers framed by Christ, but they have to be given the freedom and respect to discover Him for themselves. I can’t worry and fret over them or I’ll smother them, despite wanting so desperately to protect them and to share with them this gift of grace.

Plus, I have two teenage children. That makes me so old. Of course, when you’re a teenager anyone over 30 seems positively ancient, but I have to remind myself that I’m not yet 40. I have plenty of life left, God-willing. The bizarre thing is that, because of everything I’ve been through, I’m still figuring out who I am, so it’s doubly difficult to be able to parent someone else through it (the only conclusion, so far, is that I am somewhat eccentric). But we muddle through, by grace. Always by grace, thank God.