Updated: Aug 2, 2021
In my last blog, I shared honestly and transparently about HANDS DOWN! My Most Challenging Moment In Ministry! I shared what I like to call my “Laundry Room Revelation” when my perspective was forever changed about the sacrificial INVESTMENT that God called me to and led me through for my husband and children!
What I didn’t share is that just because I chose to be obedient to God and follow His lead - that DID NOT and DOES NOT make my life all roses and sunshine! While my children were smaller, it was more manageable but as you know time doesn’t stand still for anyone, including our children. There are all of the different ages and stages that bring a variety of blessings and challenges!
As each of my children approached the age of 12, I would have A TALK with them! We already had “THE Talk”, but I needed to prepare each of them for becoming...A TEENAGER! This age and stage comes with all of the confusion of feeling like both a grown-up and a child and never knowing when they were supposed to be which one! You know there are many seasons of change and decisions throughout these years that will mold them into who they will become, and what they will do in and with their lives.
In this “TALK” I told them that they would soon begin to think that mom and dad were the most stupid people that God ever made, but that they needed to treat us and talk to us with respect if they wanted to be heard! Simple and to the point, right? We gave them permission to say or ask pretty much anything respectfully and that we would give them guidance or advice to the best of our ability or direct them to find truthful answers to their questions.
Each of our children had their own share of what we call “Character Building Moments” that we helped and prayed them through, but our son had a harder time with this teenage thing than our girls did. Our sweet natured, thoughtful but quietly stubborn son became the one who would challenge us at every turn and keep us on our knees.
When he turned fourteen, nearly every conversation between us became a minefield! I never knew where to step so that I wouldn’t trigger the explosive device that would blow me to smithereens! But that didn’t keep me out of the minefield - remember I was INVESTED and “GOING IN” to retrieve our son! Loving him enough to confront him with truth as I continually prayed without ceasing in his room, over him, over our family members, and our home. This was our new normal. I fought hard in my prayers for his soul and his struggles trusting that God would bring him through all of the pressures that pushed him to lash out so hard at all of us.
I didn’t know it at the time but our son tried to commit suicide and by God’s grace, I left the house after one of our “confrontations”, and went to the store. I remember God telling me, “Call Nate RIGHT NOW and tell him that you love him.” So I did. Thankfully, he answered and I told him that I was at the store and asked him if there was anything that he needed. He told me no. I said, “Nate, I love you” and he said, “I love you too, mom.” In that moment, he knew that he was loved and valued, and by God’s divine intervention, he didn’t go through with his plan. This was his first step in God’s plan for his life and an answer to this mom’s prayer!
It’s inevitable! Whether you have had teenagers or will have teenagers they will face extremely difficult challenges and storms in their lives that will shake them to the core! The question that needs to be answered is:
What are you doing to prepare them to be able to survive and come out with a stronger faith on the other side?
As I look back, this was a hard mission with many loud, painful and tear filled days. These were some of the toughest times that I have been through.
I now know that the commitment to INVEST had to be backed up with a commitment to INTERCEDE for my husband and children! One without the other is just good intentions.
The hardest prayer battles that I have been in, have been for them. It is no small thing to contend for their faith, pray for their protection, believe God’s love and plan for them, and in this case, for my son’s life - quite literally.
This learning process taught me to practice these things each and every day. I hope they will be helpful as you practice these things too!
(Invest in your children sacrificially for a later ROI = Return on Investment; count the cost of both investing and not investing)
(Have faith in God’s word through praying it for you children - don't’ ever stop praying for them)
One thing I learned is that I had to understand that their faith in God has to become their own! I can pray for, lead, guide, teach and train them with my faith in Him - but one day they will have to make their own decision and then walk that out!
I am happy to tell you, after our son turned eighteen, suddenly my husband and I weren’t so stupid any more! Our conversations with him became sweet again with more questions about God, and opportunities to grow in our faith together again! I have watched him become the man of God that I prayed he would be, serving Him now in full time ministry!
Whenever we talk about that time, he apologizes for the things that he said, did, and put us through. He told me a few years ago that during that time he was so frustrated with me that he tried to sell me on ebay:
MOM FOR SALE!
I think he said the highest bid he got was $2,000.00! I think that it’s funny now but I am sure that I wouldn’t have laughed then!
I am glad there was NO SALE and I think he is too!