“To Him who is able to do immeasurable more than we can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20
This verse has been my mainstay in parenting. I pray it, declare it, believe it.
I wish I believed in the power of God earlier in parenting. Though God was the center of my faith as a young parent, I rarely appealed to His power and transformation in my life or that of my family.
Until I was desperate and there was no other way.
Since we’re past those tumultuous years, I can forget the pain and the mistakes I made until I still see the remnants of the damage. Then, I lean more into the hope of God’s power.
When my child was young and their temperament collided with mine, I functioned from the premises that I was the parent and I had the last word. When that child reached middle school, discipline wasn’t as easy as a time out. Words and emotions flew, both ways, and I continued to fight for my right to have the last word, putting my child in their place. Conflict ruled our house. Hurtful and critical words caused pain and scars for my middle schooler.
I cried out to God daily, asking Him for help, for Him to change the fighting that didn’t seem to end. I didn’t see any hope. Each day I tried and I failed. Believing God could do immeasurable more than I could ask or imagine wasn’t in my resource-bank.
It wasn’t until I was completely broken I realized I could only change my behavior and responses, not my child’s. Little by little I let God take over my responses, and slowly He did immeasurably more than I asked or imagined.
Actions have consequences, even when behavior changes and restoration take place. The pain from those teen years still linger in our story. The difference is being on the other side of darkness. We know God really does immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. He heals pain and fills in the gaps of parental failure. He does all of this for His honor and glory.
Parenting teens can be hard. There’s no getting around it. It’s hard to know whether behavior is normal or if a child’s responses or rebellion is a broader character issue. Now that I’ve parented four teens and have worked with multiple teens and parents, I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes early on. By God’s grace, He’s used those experiences to help other parents and kids personally and professionally as I coach and minister to children and families. I share the resources I didn’t have the first time around.
But even though I failed, God didn’t.
If you’re struggling with your middle schooler or teen, be encouraged that God isn’t separate from your frustration, failures or pain. He cares about your relationship with your teen and can equip you more than you could ask or imagine. Claim this promise, yield your rights to His will, and He will redeem your failures. Will you believe that?
“I’ll repay for you the years the locusts have eaten” Joel 2:25
For practical hope, get my new book on parenting, “Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind “. If you’d like to work with me as a parent coach or have me speak to parents at your church, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org