This summer my 13 yr. old son and I ventured out on a road trip to Chicago to a "Do Hard Things" conference. If you and your teenager haven't read the book, I highly recommend it!
The premise of the book is to challenge teens to rise above low expectations set by an ungodly culture and live lives outside of society's stereotype of adolescence. To embrace character and competence. To rebel against the youth culture of today. They use 1Tim 4:12 to challenge teens to live with exemplary behaviour and reject a life of complacency. Not just to do what comes easily but to rise above and DO HARD THINGS! Don't even get me started on how exciting I find all of this!!
The book was written by then teenagers Alex and Brett Harris. They come from a godly family of speakers, authors and pastors. My son and I have both read the book and have been following their blog for the past year or so.
Since tradesman was planning on taking both our boys to a different conference in Georgia at the end of the summer it was decided that I would do this as a little mother/son weekend get-away.
And of course because I would not dream of leaving little precious baby My at home, she was our third wheel. ( And a cute little 3rd wheel at that! :)
In all of my last minute planning, preparations, packing and such it never really occurred to me that *I* would be the ONE that would be doing all 9+hrs. of driving across a handful of states into a crazy, busy city navigating and such. Not until the night before while in the shower and while thinking about how I still needed to print off my driving directions by mapquest did I finally clue in.
Wowzers, did I ever start to panic!!
I am so NOT confident driving anywhere outside of regular day to day stuff. I am what you call "directionally challenged" putting it nicely. I am even worse now that I am used to country driving. I am so not used to traffic, other cars being close to mine, quick lane changes and all that jazz.
Oh my, was I EVER in for a surprise when I hit the outskirts of Chicago! It was dark since it was late at night and there was what seemed like a million lanes and just as many cars. All I could see was hundreds of lights moving at incredible speed everywhere. I really was afraid!!
I pretty much just clung to the steering wheel. Told my son to read my next direction off the paper over and over again. I seriously started to sing worship songs at the top of my voice to try and calm myself down. We are asked to "pray without ceasing" and I was having absolutely NO trouble with that!
With more stress than I can even explain for the last hour of driving, we arrived at our destination safely.
Unfortunately, our hotel was located 1/2 hr. from the actual location of the conference which was downtown Chicago. I reluctantly got behind the wheel again the next morning and drove right into the
I did miss an important turn that morning and ended up on some freeway going to who knows where. I was crying, and flailing while gripping the wheel tightly (picture that). I took some exit and just kept taking turn after turn and driving hoping to find some place to pull over. I called tradesman from my cellphone (guess how much that cost) and had him try and figure out where the heck I had ended up. Besides my much weeping and drama, by Gods providence, I was literally 5 mins. away. TWO turns, thats it! Thats all I had to do and I was safely parked.
The church was beautiful and packed. This picture was taken right after a break and not everyone was back at their seats. We sat in the balcony which was perfect for baby My.
There was a hallway that ran all the way around the outside of the balcony seats. Baby My and I were able to sit on the floor and hear perfectly and she could play and crawl to her hearts content.
You can see my sons feet to the top left of baby Mys head. I wasn't sure what kind of a set up they would have there, but I have always brought my babies everywhere and have always found them to be very content, laidback and very adaptable. I however, was very pleased with how the lay out and accessibility was. It made the whole thing very comfortable for both her and I. She didn't miss a beat and enjoyed herself immensely.
We had a great weekend, loved the sessions, and loved the time together. Honestly though, my son saw me at some pretty weak points. He saw me probably the most emotional he has ever seen me. The whole thing was rough for me, very rough. There are more driving stories but it would be boring to go into all of them. I'm sure it seems silly to some, but fear is a crazy thing.
It cripples us, it steals our joy, it causes us to doubt, and weakens our faith. We become inwardly focused. I had to consistently call on the Lord for strength. I knew that I was living and breathing for my son an example of pushing yourself outside of what you believe are your limits. I was far outside of my comfort zone, and he knew it.
Frankly, I was doing "Hard Things."
It's good for our kids to see us struggle, and fall. How we recover and what we do when we are at our most desperate is what will speak volumes. Seeing me praying, trusting, persevering is what my son will remember about me that weekend. When he struggles and fails, when he himself is crippled with fear he will know that he is not alone and he will know from example that he too can push through, and cling to his Heavenly Father.
If you would like to hear Alex and Brett Harris talk about The Rebelution and their book you can listen to them via podcast. Focus on the Family featured them not long ago on their radio broadcasts and here is a link to listen on their site. Grab your teenager or pre teen and listen in.