When your about to give up and give in to despair… DON’T!

We all know the struggle is real as a parent. The struggle to keep hope alive. To choose to ‘believe’ that God is up there and watching, engaged in our lives and actively seeking our good.

But there are days when that belief is strained to the breaking point.

There are dozens and dozens of days that I look back on and wonder how I made it through. How did I not just chuck it all and bail? How in the world did I stick it out and not give up?

Simple answer… GOD’S GRACE.

It’s always a temptation to give up – throw our proverbial hands in the air and just surrender to despair and doubt and walk away. For parents you can do everything right and still seem like you’ve failed.

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For parents who are raising teens, this can be a daily or weekly event. Those promises of God you scribbled down on sticky notes and taped to your desk or fridge, don’t forget them. The word of God highlighted in your bible until the pages tear… it’s real.  The faith we’ve so carefully nursed along through missed mortgage payments, cancer,  and marital strife, it’s true and tested no matter how we feel.

Yet…it can seem so fragile.

But hang on a sec. Our lives and circumstances are usually crazy. The forces that push us around can seem overwhelming and dark, but that’s only if we forget whose we are. Our strength was never based on how well we performed, never built on a foundation of self reliance and personal will power. If we’re a Christ-follower, a believer in the savior and Messiah – Jesus, then we’re supposed to rely on HIS strength.

That means we’re NOT the key ingredient in our lives or our faith. HE IS. Our eternal destinies and that of our kids are NOT dependent on us. It is the irresistible pull of God to align us and our families into perfect sync with His Kingdom. In His time, and in His way. 

So… unclench your fists. Take deep – slow – breaths… God is still GOD. HE is still at the helm of our lives. His will is going to occur and His plans are going to succeed. We are not victims lost in the floods of life, we are protected and purposed by Him.

Go get your promises out and lay them before God in prayer, remind Him of your need for hope, for encouragement, for peace. Make it a regular habit to ask Him to show up in your despair, to believe He’s going to miraculously realign your life and circumstances according to His will.  As you ask for help remember to choose to praise Him for the answer. To look forward in anticipation for His perfect solution… even before you see it.

It is the ‘goodness’ of Gods character that we are being trained to trust in.  The outcome of our lives is not depending on our merit or hard work, just HIS GOODNESS.

For our mental perspective to shift all we have to do is recall to mind and more importantly our hearts, the faithfulness of God to meet ALL our needs. He was God over the impossible in the past and He will be God over the impossible today.

 

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Remember we are but dust, and when our faith is only an ember, it is HIS strength that will carry the day.  St. Paul said it this way… “His strength is made perfect in our weakness”.

So parents – what could be more reassuring than that?

Peace out!

Pastor B.

Suggested link: Here is a great interview with one of my spiritual fathers, Pastor Duane Sheriff. He and his wife Sue have a fantastic perspective on parenting when we feel like a failure. Available at Brilliantly Brave Parenting on Soundcloud, iTunes, and YouTube.

Parenting blues

I’m going to be honest….sometimes I get really weary with the whole being a parent thing. Kids, especially tweens and teens can be some of the most erratic and irritating personalities a person endures in their entire day. Between hormones, history tests and their hair …  they can be beasts. Angry, starving and completely irrational beasts, disguised as children. Our children. Which means we’re to blame since they are in fact our children. Right ?

The answer…. not entirely. Our children are in such a physiological upheaval of maturation they are literally loosing their minds from day-to-day, hour to hour. If you are raising a 13 yoa you know exactly what I’m saying. For those days, I have all kinds of grace and all kinds of patience… if they are once a month or every few weeks. But if they start to become a day-to-day walking on “egg shells” existence. Its time to shift gears.

No matter how frustrating their lives are, no matter what just happened to their BFF and how lame or unfair their teachers are. They need us to be their parents. That means carving out their boundaries (rules) at home and holding the line on those no matter what. We don’t need to respond to their adolescent outbursts in kind either, I mean who can respect us if we “blow up” as angry, dis-respectful and self-absorbed, over the edge parents.

With a significant amount of perspective and faith, we must decide for our kids when their behavior has crossed over from a genuinely bad day to a tantrum. When we sense they are using their life circumstances to “explode” and without any restraint they let out all of their childlike emotions on anyone and everyone in their vicinity, its our job as parents to “stop” them.

Maturity in many ways is learning to control ones emotions and move through life as an “influencers” rather than always being influenced by our circumstances. As Christian parents, we have the added understanding of our need to instruct our kids in the ways of life and truth and hope. Sometimes, that means we have to say “no” and mean it. In the end, our children need and want us to re-direct them from being out of control.

So when your teen or tween is spiraling into another out of control emotional hurricane of life… nip the temper – tantrum before it goes to far. Stop them! Do it with love and patience and hope, but do it. They are counting on us.  This is definitely one of the less exciting and unpopular aspects of being a parent, but it may well be the most critical resolve we make as fathers and mothers.

For those who feel like things are “never going to change“. Be encouraged, it will and it must. When you feel like your blowing it as a parent (which at times can be a daily experience for me) it’s a perfect time to admit that to God and your kids and then resolve to start new. Ask Him for the wisdom and ask Him for the strength. He is not going to leave you hanging, His heart is for our kids more than we are… His grace and strength are sufficient and His mercies are new every morning.

When we respond to those shortcoming’s as parents; openly with our kids and with genuine humility, I guarantee it will blow their minds.  It’s so cool… watch as your tween suddenly realizes they are actually “more” to blame then you and step up and ask for your “forgiveness” too. POWERFUL stuff. For those of us who gave our kids WWJD bracelets a few years back….Congratulations, you just did ! 

Single parent or traditional family, were essentially all in the same boat. Our kids need us to be their parents. No matter what they say, they NEED us to be there to say “NO”. Many of us have success stories of how God was changing your teens heart on the inside, while all the time you would have sworn they were completely sealed off on the outside. In the end, our consistency is the proof of our love. Deep deep down, they know that and are comforted by that. (As a case in point, this post blog edit – from Feb 17th, 2011 is powerful proof of this principle) Miley Cyrus article ran on MSN’s Mom and Pop Culture blog. http://tv.msn.com/mom-pop-culture/miley-cyrus-saw-it-coming/story/feature/?GT1=28103&ptid=6edb00f7-08db-46dd-a2a1-90f7f9279e52&mpc=1 )

Be sure and keep close relationships with your local community of faith knowing as parents we must have help, encouragement and support in this critical role of raising our kids… as we all seek to keep our families “in-between the lines and on the road of life”.  For more helpful information on parenting tweens and teens, prayer or simply a chance to vent… check out www.ishineministries.com

Peace out.

brad.