Tuesday, May 12, 2015

7 Things Parents Need To Navigate the Teen Years {and 7 Promises God Makes to Meet Those Needs}

I look into her eyes, marveling at the nuances in color, at the glowing golden tans mixed with deeper browns that finally melt into the infinity of the pupil.  The human eye is an incredible miracle!  I am standing nose to nose with her – another astounding fact.  This child in adult skin is a phenomenon, a marvel, a sensation, a wonder, a “non-pariel”…a sweet teenager with blue bangs.  A “Warrior Woman” in the making.  And after a rough stretch with friend issues, God has provided a small, solid band of like- minded “warrior women in the making”. 

But this post isn’t about middle school friend angst or what God meant when He called her a “Warrior Woman” during my prayer time two years ago.   Neither is it a post where I share tips for parents struggling with their teens based on my own current counseling work, as it started to be. 

Why, you might ask? Because.  Last. Week.  Happened.

You’ve heard that when you are preparing to teach a lesson, God walks you through it first?  He did.  I did.  Sweet Teen lived through it too! I have a degree and some experience, but what I truly am is a fellow traveler with you, imperfectly leading a teen through the forest of adolescence and to the mountain top of adulthood.   Every one of my imperfections I continue to have  is an indication and an invitation.   They are an indication that I have a need that can lead me to His provision.  They are an invitation to the Lord to intervene according to His promises. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Having a "Different Spirit"

One of my favorite Old Testament heroes, Caleb, was said to have a "different spirit" - 

 "But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it."
Numbers 14:24 

He was one of the two spies that didn't just follow the crowd {Numbers 14}.
He had a warrior's heart...{Joshua 14}
He wanted the hill country of Hebron because there were giants there {Joshua 14}
Hebron is derived from a word that means "to unite, to be joined to" {Hebron}

What can these brief snapshots teach us?

Here is what my heart says:

To be called a Christian means to follow God, and Him alone.  Sometimes "the crowd" wants to be comfortable, and I must be so tied to God, so united with Him, that He is more important to me than the will of "the crowd".  In that by itself, a warrior heart is needed!  But a warrior heart also longs to conquer the giants in the land - all of them!  A warrior heart doesn't shrink back, but takes the fight to the giants...in my own history - hiding, shrinking back, fitting in - was how I coped and survived...but God seeks to invade my history and nurture that warrior's heart!  I recognize it and follow it most of the time...but sometimes I don't, when those of my immediate family don't recognize the leading of the Spirit in me.  That's the hard place.  My warrior's heart is intact everywhere else:  the world, our church family, my friends.  But my immediate family takes a different approach.  And that is one of the giants as well!  When family can take the place of God, when family can become an idol...that is a giant that needs to be slain!  As a wife, as a mother, as a Daughter of God, I need to find the path to being a "tendor warrior" with them, and truly with everyone else as well.  Yes, to be joined to, united with, the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit means I am united with the ultimate "tender warrior".  Where I am struggling, when I am struggling - that could mean I have walked away from Him unawares...

Lord, forgive me for my self-sufficiency...I turn my heart back to You, and You alone.  Guard me and help me use both weakness and strength to abide in You, and enjoy the flow of life from Your in-exhaustible source!  Amen.

Another resource on the sin of "self-sufficiency" here: The One Thing That Shuts Out God

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Open Your Eyes to Beauty -

I took this photo at the Japanese Gardens in fort Worth this spring....

“Every created beauty was created by God to lead our affections to Him. That’s why He made the pleasures of earthly beauty so fleeting — so that on the other side of the pleasure we might experience either wonder and worship and ultimate satisfaction in God or the pursuit of the pleasure that beauty provides for its own sake. If we choose the latter, we will only be disappointed again.”
                                                                                          — Steve DeWitt, "Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God In Everything" 

A foot bridge at the Japanese Gardens...
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