If you have seen the Pixar movie Inside Out, you likely remember the moment at the end when Joy, Anger, Sadness and the rest of the gang finally get everything in order. The happy ending is neatly tied up with a bow when one of the characters sees a huge red button on the control panel captioned “Puberty.” Reaching out in curiosity to push it, the others scream to try to stop the disaster!
I feel like my heart is right there these days. We have weathered the early years of raising three little boys. To my great delight, we found God to be faithful through both the happiness and the heaviness of the early elementary years. Having been raised in a family of all girls, the thought of raising boys was daunting to me from the ultrasounds that revealed boy hardware so many years ago; however, over a decade into raising the three men-in-training that the Lord has entrusted to my husband and I, we are convinced that the Lord will, as He has promised, give us all that we need for life and godliness.
My biology predisposes me to anxiety, and my sin exacerbates and exaggerates my hard-wiring. As such, I tend to deal with fear and worry by studying and pre-emptive planning. Before we had our first son, I read twenty books in an effort to curb the rising tide of anxiety of the unknown. After an intervention by my very wise husband who sagely said, “If you read one more book, I am going to burn them all,” I traded the pregnancy books for more time in the Word of God.
As we find ourselves on the precipice of the puberty, I feel similar waves of fear, anticipation, hopefulness and anxiety. I am tempted to pitch a tent in Barnes & Noble for a month and read every neurological, physiological, emotional and spiritual book every written on boys and puberty. However, I want to learn from my pre-delivery anxiety.
Rather than start by combing the bookshop and filling my Amazon cart, I want to start right here, in my own soul. I want to start by combing the Word of God for promises to claim both for them and for my own maternal heart as we enter the uncharted territory of the teen years. I am certain that I will read a book or two, especially those recommended by the mentors who have already passed through the dangerous passes of puberty. But I want to begin by anchoring my heart and this upcoming decade in the sure promises of God.
It is my prayer that this upcoming series of blog posts will be a strange mixture of humor, theology, practice and biology. If nothing else, the hours spent in study and prayer will assuage my anxiety by meeting my restless heart with the sure Word of the Heavenly Father. After all, He is One who knows everything there is to know about not only about the human brain, masculinity, and puberty, but also about the soul of a mother and the souls of her sons.
There is no better place to pray through puberty than the Proverbs. As Derek Kidner writes, the book of Proverbs “is not a portrait album or a book of manners: it offers a key to life.”
Tim Keller once said that studying Proverbs is like sucking on a hard candy. It takes time to enjoy its flavor and to get to the heart of it. The God-centered wisdom laced in the book of Proverbs, which was written as parental words of wisdom to be passed on to a son, is not easily attained; however, there are riches there for those who are willing to linger awhile.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10.
To that end, we will begin at the fountainhead by praying that our children would fear Lord. In the next post, we will dig into a biblical view of fearing the Lord and ways to cultivate such fear, so far as it concerns us.