Twice this week, I have had occasion to stop and visit with friends over their very rebellious teenagers. (They both happened to be girls. I am just saying….) Both of my friends were worn down, heart broken and frustrated with their dear daughters.
As I was praying for my friends and their children, I couldn’t help but be drawn back into those difficult days with my own goddaughter. I have often said that with the possible exception of me, she is the strongest willed child I have ever known. And boy was she fun to raise!
Just because I had similar experiences, I certainly do not pretend to be an expert on child rearing…but I thought I might pass along two hard earned insights this week. I think they are worthy of considering.
First, by the time a child gets to be 16, 17 years old, our opportunity to shape their character becomes much less direct and far more subtle. In truth, they are staggering their way through all kinds of moral and other decisions and they are doing it with half of a frontal lobe.
I found that my very best course of action was to pray. And I don’t mean just generic prayers, but very specific and directed prayer for their particular situation. My favorite was to pray scripture back to the Lord with them in mind.
An example might be Colossians 1:10. The prayer would be, “Lord, I pray specifically for my daughter, that she might live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”
Praying scripture is powerful! I am certain the Lord loves hearing His words repeated back to Him!
My second possible insight is the need to put some emotional distance between yourself and your difficult child. It is just so easy to get drawn into their vortex and spin right along side them. We need to remember that they are independent moral agents. God loves them even more than we do. And He will guide, correct, discipline and encourage them independent of us.
My prayer life was freed up significantly when I started seeing my sweet goddaughter in that light.
“Lord, I pray that my friends’’ children would grow to know you better. I pray that the eyes of their hearts might be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which you have called them…” (Ephesians 1:18)
This is great…Miss you and hope you’re doing well! Lauren and I are especially missing sweet chapel