Once upon a time, I had a little girl who loved kittens, fancy dresses, Polly pockets, and me. She told me quite often, "You're gooooood, Mom; you're goooood." With her cooing, she would snuggle up to me and we would look deep into each other's eyes, understanding that we would always be together as much as possible. Thirteen years later, she is 17, and her words have changed; the gleam in her eyes have turned from love to hatred; and, on Thursday, she ran off, to live with her grandmother and/or to be at her boyfriend's house as much as possible. She is skipping school and most likely will be behind in her credits. Unless she can look beyond the immediate, she won't graduate next year. My husband and I don't understand what happened ... well, one always knows one's parenting weaknesses, but we felt that we all would get through the normal potholes along the way.
One mother I met on the sidelines of the soccer field made this normal as she told me her son ran off at 17 because he didn't want to comply with a curfew. A good kid all the way up, until limits were put on him. Another mother's son lived in the streets until he decided that home was where he belonged. A wonderful Christian friend's son lives with a dealer who wants sexual favors. These help me know that sometimes learning must happen this way.
It's all sad, though. Last night at the grocery store, I systematically dismissed from aisle to aisle what she would like stocked in our refrigerator. Today, I go her counselor's office to see what to do this time. It has happened before in the last several months. My hope and expectation is now on a low simmer deep inside. God's process often takes longer chapters instead of a quick poem, depending upon the character he's developing. I release and trust as much as I can to his loving composition.