Sunday, October 23, 2011

Teen Angst? There's Hope!

Today's thoughts are for those who are in the midst of raising teenagers and feel like there is no end in sight. I can promise you there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is NOT an oncoming train!  I speak from experience since we have 1 teen raised  and 2 to go in our household! 

Our oldest son (24 years old) is now a youth pastor and worship leader.  He is married to our wonderful daughter-in-love who serves faithfully beside him.  We were privileged to hear him preach and sing last Sunday and it was such a blessing to witness the fruit of our prayers and pleadings all of his teen years.

You see, before our son became a minister, he traveled a path of rebellion against his parents and against the calling God  had placed on his life years ago.  He was never a "bad" kid or the kind you "knew" would end up as a failure.  He never dropped out of school or church.  In fact, he was an excellent student and athlete.  He played drums for his youth group and sang in the youth ensemble.  As long as he lived at home, he wasn't a party boy or drunkard.

However, under the outward appearance of a squeeky-clean Christian young man, was a teen who lived a less than pleasing life when out of our sight.  His Dad and I knew that something was not right, we confronted him on more than one occasion with our suspicions but he would look us in the eye and lie and tell us we were wrong.  Or, he would attack us with a verbal assault of anger and unfortunately, I usually yelled right back.

He was doing "typical" teen things-cussing with his football buddies, having an inappropriate relationship and other indiscretions.  We tried to make him see that actions have consequences and some of those consequences would affect more than just him.  We prayed fervently for him, asking the Father to protect our son and to lead him in paths of righteousness.

At this time, I am not ready to share the details of the consequences of his rebellion.  His Senior year brought us joy and heartache.  He entered college on a football scholarship and did well academically.  However, being away from home accelerated some of his poor choices and although he occasionally attended a church near campus, he was not faithful.  We continued our prayers for him even more fervently now that he was out of our home.

In his sophomore year, he became more faithful to church attendance and found a church with strong leadership and a good college group.  God began to change his heart and he became more aware of the dangerous games he had been playing with his spirituality.  One night, he called us and told us that he would no longer run from the call on his life and he was going to leave the college he was attending and  transfer to a Bible University not far from us.  He had decided to change his career path of education and athletics to youth ministry!

I can tell you this momma was dancing in her wheelchair!  We were so thankful to God for allowing our son to turn from a path of destruction to one of life in Christ.   We were glad we had never given up on him and never gave up on praying for him.

I want you to know if you are a hurting parent who has given up on your child ever turning to the Lord, there is HOPE!  Pray fervently for your child, be a godly example to them, stay in their face with your suspicions, love them with all your heart whether or not they return that love,  require their church attendance as long as they live in your home and you are paying the bills.  I can't promise you will see them turn around as "quickly" as our son did.  My older brother is an example of a man who broke his momma's heart well into his adulthood.  But the power of the prayers of his wife, parents and family finally broke the hardness of his heart after many years and he turned his life over to Christ and hasn't turned back. 

There is hope and God is faithful.  Hold on momma!

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