teenagers

All posts tagged teenagers

You Might Be a Bad Mom If …

Published June 16, 2017 by Dawn

I’m probably not a very good mom. Yesterday, my son reflected on himself while getting ready for bed and said to me, “I should probably stop lying. You would probably like me more.”

What was I to say to that? The truth is, his lying is a HUGE deal to me.

  • Number one: lies are bondage. If “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32)” then what good is a lie? It’s no good! How can you put people you love in bondage and for what purpose?
  • Number two: lies show a lack of respect and love. How can you love someone and lie to them at the same time? And when you lie to someone, you are basically saying, “I don’t care enough about you to be honest.” Or, you are saying, “I don’t think you are smart enough to figure out the truth, so…” I hate both of those things.
  • Number three: What would Jesus do? Well, he wouldn’t tell a lie …

I could go on. I hate lies. I’ve lived my life being lied to and deceived by people I loved and trusted, and I hate the brokenness and suspicion that resulted. So when my son said this to me, I did what came natural … being a good mom wasn’t it. A good mom might have started with, “Oh son … I love you no matter what, but –“

Instead, I said, “Son, that’s legit.”

I kid you not. The truth just popped off my tongue and hit my son right between the eyes. He looked at me incredulously and did a nervous chuckle. I then defied motherhood a second time and I swallowed every instinct to immediately apologize for it. Here’s the truth: the way he lies – the ease and surety that makes me uneasy because I’m afraid he believes himself – it does kinda hamper my affections. You know how it is, moms. You know you love your kids but sometimes, you don’t like  them. We all feel this way at some point, right?! So it was truth and I delivered it unapologetically.

He just shook his head, chuckling, and said, “Mom, I can’t believe you said that!”

I sat down on the edge of his bed and said, “Son, your lying really needs to stop.”

I’ve been thinking about this all day, praying about it, because naturally, I’m always nervous about how badly I’m screwing my kids up. I wasn’t looking to justify myself, just exploring my own lack of good parental etiquette. Instead of finding myself coming  up short, I recognized a little of my own Father in it. You see, God hits us with hard truths sometimes. He allows things to dawn on us and when we begin to sense the Holy Spirit directing change in our lives, God guides us to that change with a healthy dose of truth that He doesn’t apologize for. He doesn’t even cushion the impact. If the truth is going to set us free, it has to first illuminate the bondage and break it. Being broken is hard, but freedom … who can deny it’s preciousness? It turns out God doesn’t always function within the guidelines of “etiquette” as we understand it either. He is loving, but often blunt as well. The Lord chastises those He loves (Heb. 12:6). We live in a time where this sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s scriptural. God doesn’t always protect our feelings. He’s busy protecting our spirits and our eternities.

I think it’s important to remember that God still loves us in these moments. I love and adore my son to death. But his lying … I don’t love that at all. I could live without it and I know that this bad character trait will make his life a lot harder than life already is. I love my son so much. I don’t want to see him intensifying his own struggles by something the Holy Spirit can deal with. I want him to embrace this as an eye-opening opportunity to make a change for the better. God wants the same for His children. And the Bible calls Him a good, good Father. I guess I’m not so bad after all!

What Kind of a Mother am I?

Published May 2, 2017 by Dawn

When my kids were little, they had such beautiful faith. Every ache, fever, whatever … they would come to me and plead, “Mom, can you pray over me?” They just knew that if we prayed, they would be healed. God was so gracious too. Most of the time – without medication – a simple prayer later, my kids were back to their normal selves. It really bolstered their faith, and they began to rely on my praying over them more and more.

There were times, of course, when praying wasn’t my number one priority. As sad as it is to admit, when my kids would come to me in the middle of the night and wake me out of a dead sleep with really bad knee pains or headaches, I remember pulling him or her into bed with me and cuddling a crying child, trying to schmooze him or her back to sleep. “Pray with me, Mom, please!” The pleading would fall on deaf ears. The humiliating truth is I just wanted to sleep. I was mostly exhausted from working 40 hours a week and going to school, and semi-taking care of a house/yard/two kids. My excuse, however seemingly valid at the time, kept me from performing my kids’ saving grace. They knew if I’d just pray, they would feel brand new. I thought that feeling was the result of sleep, so I slept on.

I was sitting on the couch this evening with my son laid across the couch beside me, his head in my lap. I was thinking about prayer and how powerful it is. How devastatingly underutilized it is … when this truth hit me: it’s all my fault.

Don’t try to console me. I need this truth. You see, it is my fault and I needed to hear this. I am not afraid of the truth. I like freedom. I like growing. The truth is vital to both. I said to myself, “This is all my fault. The depression my kids are battling. The ways Satan has manipulated my family. The way he’s winning most of the time. I just wanted to rest, but look at what’s happened! Instead of pressing in in prayer, I checked out in exhaustion and suddenly the battle is out of control!

“Pray with me, Mom.”

I’m broken. It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have allowed this slumber to get the best of me. I shouldn’t have encouraged my kids to sleep too, when prayer has become such a necessity. What kind of a mother am I to leave my kids suffering in pain while I struggle to maintain my grasp on ease and comfort and rest? How can I, with the keys to the kingdom in my hands, leave things unlocked in my own home? How can I, having been given all power and authority, allow Satan to run rampant in our lives? What kind of a mother am I?

Don’t try to console me. I need this guilt and shame. I needed God look me square in the eye and speak this truth, and let me grapple with it because tonight, things changed. My son heard me weeping and awoke out of his slumber. “What’s wrong, Mom?

“I’m so sorry. I love you so much and I’m sorry for leaving you in your pain and not praying over you.” Then we cried and prayed together, like I should have done a long time ago. I should have awakened and prayed a long time ago.

I hesitated to write this because it’s painful and raw … and really embarrassing. But I wanted to share it because I wanted to encourage you: whatever it is, pray. Wake up and pray. Stop allowing Satan to lull you into complacency. That’s how he keeps us ineffectual. That’s how he keeps winning in our lives. Prayer is so powerful and he knows it. But so do you. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Don’t say to me, “But I’m not righteous.” There’s a prayer for that too! Get right before God, then get down to the nitty-gritty and take care of business in your life, and the lives of those you love. Sometimes, we can do nothing more than pray. Thankfully, prayer is the best way to make a difference. What kind of a mother am I? A praying one – enemy beware!

God is For Us

Published March 16, 2017 by Dawn

My son got in trouble at school yesterday. It wasn’t the first time; in fact, it seems like he’s embarked on a steady stream in the wrong direction as of late because his decisions lately have been reckless. He knows what he should do, but he has begun responding to life out of his emotions instead of wisdom.

I usually know about it right away. He texts me and tells me what has happened, afraid that I will find out from someone else first. He owns up to his guilt and has finally stopped blaming it on everyone else. So there is that … maturity is taking place, even if it seems like things are increasingly negative. He also owns his punishments and doesn’t expect me to rush in and defend him despite his transgression. One of my requirements when he gets in trouble is that he writes an apology note to those involved that have to deal with him. He now does it without having to be prompted.

His text yesterday started like this, “I got into trouble again today. I’m such a bad kid.” He told me what happened and told me he already wrote his apology letters and gave them to everyone involved. When he got into my car after school, he asked me if I still liked him.

Let me make something clear here: I am for my son. He can mess up a million times and I am going to choose to focus on his growth and maturity. When his teachers bring their frustrations over his behaviors to me, I am not going to talk bad about my son with them. I am not going to fraternize over his mistakes with them. I am going to be hopeful and optimistic about my son, even if all they see is a downward spiral. I don’t see that. I see a battle. I see him losing ground. But I also see victories. I see a kid who now knows his weakness and strengths. I see a kid who wants to be a man in spite of a lack of firm examples. I see a kid who takes his prayer life seriously, and has begun to put it first in his life. I see a kid who is fighting against his present culture, even if right now he’s not fighting as hard at school as he is at home. He’s not a lost cause to me. He’s one of my only causes, and I am on his side. I have caught him in indiscretion and I choose daily to forgive, correct, rebuke and discipline with love. I’m not in denial, but I am not losing faith over him. I love him, and I am his biggest cheerleader. I am for my son.

God is for His too.

Not all are sons and daughters.

  • “Therefore, come out from among then and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. And I will be a father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18).
  • “If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all” (Heb. 12:8).
  • “You are all sons and daughter of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).
  • “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).

But when we accept Christ through faith, we are adopted and become sons and daughters of God, and for us, there is mercy. There is optimism and hope. There is forgiveness. He sees our sin and chooses to focus on our growth and our spiritual maturity instead. He will never agree with naysayers about who we are or where we are going in life. He knows us. He knows our imperfections, but he also knows our strengths. He is resolutely for us. We are His and He is our biggest cheerleader. He corrects, rebukes and disciplines in love. He takes care of business and He doesn’t allow us to excuse ourselves, but He doesn’t accept our indiscretions as final unless we choose that. God chooses to deal with us mercifully and with much grace. He won’t lose hope, even if we do. We can crawl into His lap at anytime and He will gently and faithfully remind us who we are and whose we are. This is the graciousness of a Father toward His children. God is for us. Hallelujah!