“Can I just give my teenager away for a while?”
My friend had discovered how bewildering teenagers can be. Her once-cooperative, mild-mannered daughter had turned seemingly overnight into a mouthy, moody teen she barely recognized.
“How did this happen?” she asked. “Suddenly I don’t even like her.”
I knew how she was feeling.
Today, my grown daughters delight me no end. But during their teen years, we experienced moments that were less than enjoyable.
It’s not that I didn’t try heading off altercations. I pleaded with them to stop trying to have the last word. I explained ad nauseam that our family’s boundaries were for their own good. And, over and over, I reminded them of the simplest rules:
“Eat right. Sleep enough. Be smart. Treat your friends well.”
But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t prevent my teens from acting like…well, teenagers. As a result, we experienced moments of tension, even though my love for them never wavered.
At the risk of sounding patronizing, I gently reminded my friend that she and I need the same kind of grace our teenagers do.
Like a rebellious adolescent, I often insist on having the last word instead of trusting God’s sovereignty. I push against His commands. I burn my candle at both ends, yet still expect to be on top of my game. And I’m embarrassed by how often I act selfishly toward others.
As Christians, we’ll always belong to the Lord. But that doesn’t mean our rebellion doesn’t affect our fellowship with Him. Fortunately for us, God’s love never diminishes. Even when we’re unfaithful, He keeps on loving us.
That’s what makes it easier to extend grace to our teens. Even when they’re less than likable, we can love them with the same love and grace God has lavished on us.