Raise your hand if you’ve had, you have, or you’re going to have teenagers in your home. Congratulations to those who’ve survived some of the best and worst years in a child’s life! As the parent you go from the smartest person they know to the biggest idiot on the planet. Your nights of snuggle time and reading books together are replaced with rolling eyes, an attitude, and silence on the other side of a door. (And yes, all you parents with babies toddlers, it will happen. You don’t think it will, but none of us survivors thought that about our precious babies either…)
Now some of you may have what I call “Tim Tebow” kids – the ones who are out there loudly professing and backing up their faith, leading Bible studies and building orphanages in foreign countries. Well done!!! But most parents have spewed something close this famous Bill Cosby quote: “My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, ‘You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.’”
Or we’ve at least thought it…
Honestly, surviving the teenage years can drive you daily to your knees begging God for peace in your home.
I write this because I’ve listened to several friends lately ask the question, “What happened to that sweet little girl/boy that used to live in this house?” (A friend used to say that aliens come in around age 12, scoop up your child and put them in a pod for about 7 years, at which time they deliver the child back to you and take the fake alien back with them…)
And at times I’ve thought the alien theory was spot on because nothing else could really explain the flip in personality. And I know all sorts of psycho-babble explanations are out there to help us parents cope. And I’d love to give every parent a little nugget of genius thinking to help you survive, but I’m no expert. I’m just a momma trying to do her best, like all of you.
But I will offer you this nugget: PRAY. Pray first, pray often. Pray in their rooms, over their stuff, over them. Pray when they leave, when they come home. Pray for them constantly. Praying for them actually does two things: it communicates your fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams and requests to God, and it also releases your fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams and requests to God.
God’s will for you child cannot fully take place if you are holding onto them by the back of the neck like a momma cat with her kitten. They must have freedom to grow, freedom to make their own choices and yes, freedom to make mistakes. And you may not understand or like or approve of what is going on at the time, but prayer will help you keep your sanity until you make it to the other side of the alien abduction.
And you know what else comes with prayer? Peace. It may not take over your heart or your home at first, but peace does come. Two of the greatest verses showing the power of prayer are found in Philippians 4:6-7:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Don’t just quote this verse, let it sink in and resonate today whether you have teenagers in the house, a stressful day at work ahead or stuck in the latest winter storm: Focus on the different phrases, one at a time – you will gain so much power, encouragement, and yes the precious gift of peace from praying to the only One who can bring peace to your home.
Peace to all of you today!