Over time I have learned that often it is about recognizing areas of growth but then seeing my limitations through other scenarios. When I recognized patterns of weakness, I found myself rewording the quote to capture an intentional point to reflect on and seek growth, such as, "Do not lose your inner peace for anything, even if you are surrounded by adolescent emotions." If nothing else, as a starting point, it would bring a smile to my face and helping me to move past those initial feelings of being overwhelmed.
Trying to maintain peace where we recognize we tend to lose it prompts reflection on why in order to work towards positive change. I was able to sift through many of the layers impacting my tendencies, such as:
- Parenting teens felt like a lot higher stakes than teaching teens, where I was able to relax and love the phase of identity construction without as much worry. I saw more beauty in the process because of the freedom from some of the anxiety.
- A lot of my fears were based on what could potentially happen or the trajectory that an individual circumstance could eventually point toward vs. what was actually happening.
- Those fears often pointed towards a recognition of a lack of control where I most wanted to feel in control in order to protect my girls.
These days I have comparatively much more peace when it comes to parenting teens, even though I am certain motherhood will continue to afford many opportunities for growth. In general, the space between when I first saw the quote and now has provided me with a better understanding of how to maintain peace, to recognize those scenarios that challenge a sense of peace and then respond like Mary by pondering things in my heart, intentionally moving towards trust even when I do not understand fully.
In the midst of all of this support to better frame my mindset, God was also at work guiding me through different layers of life, leading me towards simplifying, better prioritizing, and integrating a rhythm of prayer throughout my days.
These days I rest in the confidence of Jesus' words, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be" (John 14:1-3).