I’m sorry I am not perfect. I’m sorry I don’t always follow the rules. I’m sorry that I frustrate you and make you want to pull your hair out. I’m so sorry.

Sometimes I don’t know why I do what I do or say what I say. Sometimes it seems that I want to do the right things, but just can’t quite will my body to do it or my voice to say it. There’s just something in me that needs to rebel . . . that needs to do things my own way. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there’s something in me calling me to be my own independent spirit able to think and feel outside of what is being presented to me. And I’m just testing these boundaries.

And that has to be frustrating to you, but please don’t give up on me. I get frustrated, too. I know I’m difficult. I hear you calling me a challenge. But you are a challenge to me, too. And I believe we actually need each other. That we are meant to strengthen each other somehow. But I know it’s hard.

So even when I disobey or yell and scream and tell you how much I don’t need you . . . I need you. And I need your wisdom. I need your guidance. I need you to care about me. I need you to want what is best for me. I need you to challenge me. I need you to teach me. I need you to expect great things from me. 

I can’t handle this on my own. I know I’m like a roller-coaster—constantly up and down in my emotions. But I need you to stay steady. 

This calling on my life is deep and will take time to truly develop into what God wants it to be. And until that time comes when we see His plans and His purpose for what this strong will is all about, I can’t be left alone. I can’t be ignored. I also can’t be given my own way all the time. And I know that. Because I know it can go bad. I know it can go in a direction that’s not God-honoring. I feel it. I see it happening sometimes, but I don’t want that. I don’t. I want God’s best for me. I want a good life. I want a close family. And I want to follow God and fulfill His special purpose for my life. 

But it’s a team effort. I cannot do this alone even though I act like I want to sometimes. Even though I act like I’m in charge . . . I need you. And you have to help me. This home . . . under your prayers and leadership . . . is where I was meant to be. And it is right here, in this place and time, that I will be refined the most in order to use this calling for Him the best. 

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing right now. So please be there for me as I find my way and figure all of this out. Don’t let me get away with things that aren’t right. Don’t give up on me no matter how much of a challenge I am. I need to know that you are in this for the long haul. That you will be there for me no matter what. That I matter to you. 

And will you please promise to love me? But love me even when I’m so unlovable?

Will you promise to expect my best? But love me even in my worst?

Will you let me fail? But never fail to love me when I do?

Will you teach me well? But let me learn my own lessons from my own mistakes?

Will you train me right? But be right next to me to encourage me even when I choose wrong?

Will you be disappointed in me? But love me endlessly even when I disappoint myself?

I am the hardest on myself, by the way . . . harder than you will ever realize. I don’t even understand all these feelings I have inside. I feel so lost sometimes. But you give me hope.

When you believe in me, I start to believe in myself.

When you trust me, I start to trust myself.

When you spend time with me and listen to me, I start to value myself. 

When you call me responsible and treat me with respect, I start to see myself as worthy. 

That’s how much I value what you see in me. Because you are the mirror through which I see myself the most. And when I look at you and see love and acceptance reflecting back at me, I feel like I can do anything . . . like I can change the world!

So please, don’t give up on me. I need you.

Your strong-willed child

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Christine Leeb

Christine Leeb--Speaker and Christian Family Coach specializing in Parenting and Child Discipline.  Founder of Real Life Families--a non-profit organization building better families through free classes and resources.  Mother to three awesome (and exhausting) children from whom she shamefully hides brownies.  Wife to one patient (and polar-opposite) husband with whom she constantly quotes "Friends".  www.RealLifeFamilies.org