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Meet Hannah. Here's How I'm Learning to Lean into Love to Raise a Great Mom.

When you are a mom, what do you do when you feel like you are being held at arm's length by your child? 

Do you ask yourself questions like “did I do something that hurt them” or, “are my attempts to engage in relationship not being heard or received”, or “maybe I need to read another book, I obviously still don’t know what I am doing.”

Well, with one of my children particularly, these are the questions that flood my mind.


 Today, I want you to meet Hannah.

Hannah Sunshine is 13 years old (going on 23!) and I marvel at her confidence, perceptiveness, and attitude.  She is truly amazing at everything she does. Yet somehow, I feel she is always holding back.

Keeping me at a bit of a distance. 

The early teens! Why is the balance of being intentional to stay close while respecting our kid’s space so difficult at this stage?

Is ANYONE nodding their head along with me as you read this?

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know I don’t profess to be a perfect mom, that’s for sure. So what doesn't happen naturally, I make sure I'm intentional about.

With Hannah, over the last 6 months I have made it my business to make an intentional effort to acknowledge and talk with her, rather than just ask her to do things.

And there is definitely no shortage of things to do around here!

Hannah with Horse

To be honest, I think building relationships with my boys was easier than with my girls. 

Reflecting on my own upbringing, I realize I didn’t learn to trust, confide in, and build a deep relationship with my own Mom in those formative years.

Now having 4 daughters, Hannah needs (and wants… thankfully!) more of a relationship with me at this point in her life than most of my other kids.

Yet, I find it difficult to bridge that gap.

Hannah Dance

I think it’s my problem, not hers. Patterns of thinking and unconscious forces at work that are residue of my own upbringing. It really is amazing to me that how we develop as kids and teens affects our ability as parents.

How crazy is it that most often, if our closest relationships weren’t great, we tend to try not to repeat the same mistakes we experienced while it seems forces are at work to just the opposite!

How do we overcome all of this so we can see a different reality outworked in our own families?

I think realizing it is a great first step.

Then, like life always is... it’s about embracing the process!

For me, I just hope and pray that every day I am being intentional, recognizing the gap and doing what can feel unnatural at times to fill it in, creates a formula where the good outweighs any mistakes.

hannah Youngs

I find the challenge of relationship, and learning how to be the Mom Hannah needs, very, very daily! It’s an ongoing process.

If you feel like me, the encouragement I receive from God’s Word is this.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5  

Every day I need to ask for wisdom.  I know I can’t do this alone.  I can’t be what my kids need me to be without divine love, inspiration and direction.

It’s been hard, but I’ve learned to accept my limitations, lean on God and His love for me and let Him pour into my life so I am able to give, give and give some more, filling in the gaps where I end and only He can fill.  

In my own strength, I’ll probably fail. But with Him, maybe I can be the mom that gives Hannah Sunshine what she needs today, so she can be the light her family needs when she’s a mom, tomorrow.

Hannah & Autumn