My teenager will soon be entering high school, despite my best efforts to make time stand still. I must admit that I am nervous and a bit sad for this transition.
Parenting a teenager can be so difficult at times and so rewarding the next. Teenagers are faced with many challenges, school work becomes tougher, hormones are raging (seriously, can we talk about attitude?!), friendships begin to change, and they’re trying to fine their place in the world.
Through all of this life phase, the most important thing I want him to remember is who he is in Christ. He is made in His image and is loved unconditionally. He is a child of God. He has been given the armor of God and instructions to fight the daily battles and temptations. All of which are in scripture, the guide to life.
All scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
I know he will make mistakes, and it is crucial for me, as his parent, to be open minded, forgiving, nonjudgmental, extend grace, and direct him back in the right path with God’s guidance. I will make mistakes too and will need to accept God’s grace and forgiveness in those moments.
Although watching him grow is bittersweet, I am beyond thankful that God has chosen me to be his mom. I have been blessed beyond measure. I hope and pray that my son sees all his blessings and continues to follow Christ.
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all of his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be..
I still remember praying for you to enter my life. I waited over a year to see that positive sign letting me know that I was carrying you. I can recall the immeasurable joy I felt the day you came into this world, and I was able to hold you for the first time.
The first few weeks were not easy. I was thankful for your Grandma Ruth who decided to stay that first week. The first night home, you cried the entire night. I will never forget the soft knock on the bedroom door early the next morning. Grandma Ruth was standing there. I was crying and saying how you didn’t sleep at all that night. She replied in a soft and understanding voice, “Give him to me and go sleep.” That is exactly what I did. She showered your dad and I with wisdom that first week and looking back, I believe her calming presence gave me reassurance that I could do this whole mommy thing.
Now here we are, thirteen years later, and I am asking myself, “How has it gone so fast?”
You are a special young man, Noah. From an early age, you exhibited compassion, empathy, and kindness toward others. You have always had this inner wisdom of who God is and have demonstrated through your actions that you do listen to His soft whisper of how you should live your life.
I want to share with you some bits of wisdom as you enter your teenage years. The first being that I know you may find this post embarrassing and may even feel that my wisdom doesn’t apply to you. I know this because I thought the same thing when my parents had this talk. Trust me when I say that there will come a day that you will say, ‘my parents were right’.
The next few are important, so listen up.
Seek God. You will be faced with many choices as you navigate your teenage years. Before you make any decision, seek God’s guidance first.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Do not let others define who you are. You were born with your own strengths and weaknesses. You were meant to be different from others around you, and that is absolutely ok. Never squash your uniqueness in order to be like someone else.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them.
Lead by example. You will be challenged to follow the crowd. Your friends may choose different paths, and deep down you may be torn to follow them or choose to remain true to who you are. Dear Noah, you are a leader and not a follower. Always remember that.
Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you are young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.
1 Timothy 4: 11 (Msg)
It is ok that not everyone likes you. That’s right…you will have people who don’t like you. It will seem unfair and it will hurt your feelings. They may not even try to get to know you and you probably won’t understand why. Don’t waste your time on the opinions of others. Stay true to yourself and know that their opinions of you are their issues and not yours.
The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God will protect you from that.
Proverbs 29:25 (Msg)
Choose your circle wisely. People change and grow. That is a part of life. You may find that you and some friends will grow apart and although that may seem hard, that also allows room to make new friends. My word of caution is to choose wisely, Noah. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Surround yourself with those you can trust and who encourage you.
Wise friends make you wise. But you hurt yourself by going around with fools.
Talk to your dad and I. This will be the hardest advice to follow. You will feel invincible and that you know more than we do, BUT…. you don’t. I want you to know that no matter the problem you have, even if you feel it is due to a bad choice you make, that you can always come to us. We love you unconditionally, which means that there is NOTHING you can do to make us love you any less. That does not mean that there may not be consequences, but it does mean that we will not leave you to work through it alone. We will encourage you and help guide you back on the right path.
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
Romans 8: 38-39 (Msg)
Lastly, Noah… Have fun!! Enjoy this time. Don’t rush these years. Don’t wish them away. These next several years may be some of the best of your lifetime. You will have new experiences, make lasting memories, and learn many lessons. Liveeachdayto the fullest and don’t worry about tomorrow.
I am beyond proud to call you my son. You make each day fun by your many impressions, your talent of acting out scenes from your favorite movies, and your dance moves (that you clearly got from me!) I love you my Noah. You are and will always be…