Tag Archives: identity

Despite Less Drama, Life with Teen Boys is No Cakewalk

When our boys were young and rambunctious my husband used to say, “Pick your pain.” By this he meant girls may be easier when they are younger, but the pain will come later in the emotional drama of the teen years. Whereas boys will be harder during the toddler years, but will get easier as they grow. Either way there will be pain.

Yes, either way there will be pain.

Obviously this philosophy stems from the stereotype of girls and boys, and in many ways we’ve seen it to be true.  Boy drama is nowhere near girls. We know! But, being a teenage boy – and parenting them – is no cakewalk either.

Now that I’ve been through it with a girl and am in it with boys I honestly think in many ways it is harder for boys. I know, all you moms of just girls think, “No way!” But boys struggle with identity and worth in much the same way as girls. They get left out, feel alone, experience hurt feeling and rejection. Only they tend to stuff it even more than girls- because they’re boys and boys are supposed to be tough and non-emotional.

This same unspoken expectation to be “manly” plays into boys’ decisions to give into sinful behavior.  They worry what others will think, don’t want to be made fun of and feel pressure to conform to what “cool” boys do so they take a puff of the vape, use foul language, look at pornography, and share inappropriate pics from girls.  Before you know it none of these things seem like such a big deal. Did God really say don’t eat of the fruit from the middle of the garden? 

Of course this happens with girls too.  Boys and girls act in accordance to their desire for attention and affirmation. But from my vantage point I see a widely disproportionate number of girls vs boys who are able to withstand teen year temptations. And in our society of double-standards certain behavior for boys isn’t even considered a big deal. Boys wil be boys, right? 

As a boy mom this worries me. I know with pornography, drinking, drugs, immodestly dressed girls and sex always put before them standing strong against temptation will be by God’s grace alone. Recognizing this does two things:

  1. It drives me to the Father in prayer knowing he loves my boys even more than I do.
  2. It challenges me to be the contrary voice against the culture in my boys’ lives.

Both are hard. In the midst of our kids’ sin, struggles and trials it is hard to trust God when his ways are not always ours.  It is also hard knowing how to engage our kids’ hearts and speak truth into them; even knowing what it is they need to hear. What I do know though is God has given parents the high calling to shape how our kids see him, themselves, and the world around them. But eighteen years goes fast.

Ever since my daughter neared college, I’ve been hit with how many things I want to impart with each of my kids. Lessons and truths that take time and repetition. Things that when we were in the thick of the parenting forest I thought we’ld have plenty of time for later. But then time whittles away so quickly, it can feel overwhelming and hopeless to start in on things we’ve neglected.

Thankfully God has not left us to do it alone, and it’s never too late. He promises to equip us with everything necessary to do what is good and pleasing to him. So as we start this new school year, whether we are feeling fearful or tired of fighting the uphill battles, may we turn to him and be met by his infinite wisdom and grace for our parenting. In him there is always hope for us, our girls and our boys.

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Jesus Calling Podcast Interview

About five years ago a friend gave me a copy of Jesus Calling. Most of us in Christian circles are familiar with this little book that has sold a million times over across the world. What I learned about it’s widespread appeal back then is how the daily devotionals seemed to speak directly to the reader no matter what they were going through. And so it is with God’s Word as Jesus comes off the page to enter in personally with us.

Airing today is my Jesus Calling podcast episode. I was paired with Jennie Allen since we share a common passion in helping women and teens see their identity in Christ is secure, which means there is: Nothing to Prove. Such freedom when we get who Jesus is for us and begin to rest in his grace. It’s what Face Time for teen and college girls is all about!

Hope you enjoy listening in: http://bit.ly/KristenHatton

Or you can read the text here:

Nothing Compares to the Love of Christ: Jennie Allen & Kristen Hatton – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 53

Bus Station Theology

Some of you know I traveled by a Greyhound bus a few days ago. The plan was for me to ride to Birmingham from Nashville. I ended up being met at the halfway mark by a friend, which was a good thing considering the tornado touch downs in the area.

When I booked the ticket a month ago it seemed like a good option for saving money, not having to drive in unfamiliar territory and using the commute to read and write. Plus, I didn’t need a car once I got to Birmingham. Had I seen a Greyhound station before I probably would’ve been convinced extra money spent on a car worth it. And besides, I learned to drive on the freeways of Houston!

But God wanted me at the station, as uncomforable as it was.

The first thing I saw when my friend and I pulled up in her white suburban were homeless people congregated outside the building and the police at the corner talking to someone.

For the first time, I started to get nervous.

We decided my friend would wait in the car with my luggage while I went inside to check-in… or check-it out rather. I walked in and immediately felt all eyes on me. Yes, my skin color was different than most, but what really separated me were my clothes. Clearly, I was not the typical bus rider.

But I got in line next to a lady with missing teeth. It was her first time too and neither of knew the procedure. When it was my turn at the counter I learned it would not be at all like what I’m accustomed to at the airport. Having arrived unnecessarily an hour early, I went back out to my friend and we decided to go use the restroom and get coffee at the Omni – only 1 mile from the station but worlds apart.

When we pulled into the hotel valet area we actually asked about the cost of an Uber to Birmingham.  Just to see. Another option we considered was driving over to the airpot so I could rent a car, which would get me to Birmingham even an hour sooner without the stops the bus was going to make. But despite my apprehension I wasn’t convinced I shouldn’t just stick to my plan.

When we returned to the station the two of us walked in together this time.  Again, I felt keenly aware of our differences. Every seat in the waiting area was taken and I didn’t know where to even stand. Thankfully there is power in numbers so with my friend’s lead we made our way past staring eyes to the far side of the room where we found a mother-daughter duo (who looked most closely like me). They were enroute from Michigan to Florida and had already been at it for 24 hours! So eye-opening – strange – to me. But, chatting with them calmed my spirit, and gave me people to sit by on the bus.

That is when my friend knew she could safely leave me. But soon after she left it was announced the bus was indefinitely delayed. Of course, that sent me into a new round of questioning whether this bus-thing was the right thing to do. Something interesting happened though; people all around me started chatting with one another–  bonding over the bus being behind. I had been struck by the fact that unlike me, taking the bus was truly their only transportation option, but now just like me they too were antsy to get to their destination. We could identify. Only most of them had way further to go.

When the older-looking lady with lots of piercings (her circumstances likely the culprit of aging beyond her years) saw me looking for an outlet for my phone charger she scooted her luggage over and let me take seat. As we started talking she shared her concern for a family member who needed knee surgery. Well, I have that exact concern thanks to a rider on my husband’s knee. She and I, we could identify. Only I’m not fearful of a possible leg amputation as she is because of several family members’ experiences due to infection and the lack of proper medical attention.

As different as I looked from everyone seated around me, I couldn’t help thinking they too are wonderfully, beautifully created in the same likeness of God as me. Imago Dei. Made in his image.  

We miss this though. Or, I do. In so many ways I live worlds apart from the woman I was sitting next to, but stripped of our external clothes and conditions, our hearts are the same.

We all fear, worry, lose our patience, grow tired, get hungry. We sin. We judge. We dismiss others with distain. We fill with pride, and shrink back in insecurity. We all want to be loved and affirmed; accepted. We look for those things in false places. And we all need the redeeming blood of a Savior.

Waiting in the station and riding the bus was good for me. It opened my eyes, made me uncomfortable and filled me with compassion all at the same time. When I began to look beyond the outer shell of others, I didn’t feel so afraid anymore. I got off the bus a little later thankful God doesn’t look at me the way I so often look at others. Imago Dei. Made in his image. 

What if we looked at others as image bearers? Can we see it’s true? Only by his grace, but let’s pray he would help us see – really see – all people, especially those who look nothing like us.