Relentless Resolve: In order to be real in the face of ever-changing moods, attitudes, and relationships with our teens, we must always represent a relentless pursuit of their heart. God has never called us to love anyone with a conditional, half-hearted approach. No matter the sigh or roll of the eyes, my teenager must be met with an immovable and continuing stream of love and acceptance. Too often the need for acceptance among their peers is at the very crux of what is driving their current mood or choices. This resolve doesn’t allow me to excuse sin or rebellion, but it does afford for an “I love you no matter what“ way of responding through even the most challenging circumstances. This type of relentless mindset, to love in the midst of every whim and phase, can only be accomplished by living in the reality that mirrors what I experience daily from my loving Savior. The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury has often played in my mind at times when I felt too weak to extend unwavering love. The refrain says, “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine....” Never-ending is not circumstantial or conditional. Praise the Lord for His relentless pursuit of my soul!
"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:14-15
Accessible: This one is especially challenging for a full-time working wife and mom. Late night talks in our bed and phone calls from college at crazy hours make being able to be accessible not only an emotional struggle but a physical one as well. I have found that when most teens want to talk takes place after the sun goes down and the house is quiet. To prepare my heart to be an open door, welcoming their conversation, I make my climbing into bed routine more of a prayer time for my teens and less of an “I am closed for the day” time for me. Entreating the Lord to meet with me and grant me wisdom, clarity of mind, and physical stamina has turned this time into a treasure instead of a burden. When on the rare occasion a teen doesn’t stop by after 10pm I find myself disappointed. Being reminded of verse like 1 Peter 3:12a, and knowing that my God’s ears are always open to me, helps me to show my teens this same kindness.
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer...” 1 Peter 3:12a
Loyalty: Loyalty may seem a strange thing to list as we all know that we would literally give our life for our children. Through a recent series of choices that one of our teens was making, I found myself struggling to be forgiving and accepting. Adult peer-pressure, concern over what others think, and a myriad of draining conversations left me wanting to throw in the towel. As I struggled to think truth, I heard Lamentations 3:22-23. God’s faithfulness and loyalty to this wayward sinner will never be lacking. As wild and self-willed as I am, He remains ever faithful, even granting new mercies at the next sunrise. If my God does that for this vessel of clay, He surely will give me the ability to stand on the front porch as the father of the prodigal did. He will even give my feet speed as I run to receive the brokenness and welcome them home. I get to stand as their biggest fan even as they try to move away. What a privilege to be that in their lives. What a precious picture of Christ!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
To be REAL in my teen’s life is a calling that I can’t dismiss. Oh, how I long to show them a glimpse of what they can find in Christ where there is never a hint of fraud or illusion. Being REAL is crucial, and may it be said of me.
How do you make yourself R-E-A-L in your teen's life?
9/13/2019 10:09:24 am
As the mother of little ones, this is nothing short of excellent advice to hold onto! I'm also a high school teacher and have spent more than a decade mentoring teens through youth ministry, and these are honestly some of the best tips I've read! Thank you for this!
9/13/2019 02:41:46 pm
Praise the Lord for the privilege to work with teens and pour into them before you your own. My husband and I have had that opportunity as well. Much of this cane from those avenues....now it is my turn. You will be rewarded for in your own children for the ministry you have already done.
9/13/2019 01:24:36 pm
Bookmarked this page so I can come back and read when I have a little more time. Just skimmed through so far but thanks for your words of encouragement and wisdom!
9/13/2019 02:45:24 pm
To God’s credit and none of mine can I encourage others in the endeavor of raising teens. I have been blessed to glean from other moms that have lived it out. If I can return any of that special treasure I got it a privilege.
9/13/2019 03:21:27 pm
Thank you so much for this wisdom. I've been walking through some challenges with my teens. Your post offered such gentle correction wisdom and hope!
9/13/2019 05:13:25 pm
I feel like every day is a classroom with my teen. Thanks for this. laurensparks.net
9/13/2019 09:56:25 pm
Excellent, Christine! Thank you for your transparency and biblical truth!
Oh, I absolutely love this post! So beautiful! I've seen how showing unconditional love and being present can have a huge impact. Being R.E.A.L is hard, but it helps to remember to share God's grace with my teens and to rely on Him for the strength and compassion to shine on. Thanks for this great encouragement!
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