I had three teens at the same time.
It was hard when they were moving from a family-centered faith to determining whether faith was for them or not.
I wanted them to believe, but loving God is a personal relationship.
One that I can foster, but not form for my child.
So may this is your resolution: To encourage my teen in his or her faith.
But what is your plan?
Answer these questions honestly:
- Is my relationship with God vibrant and personal?
- Do I use God as a discipline tool?
- Am I willing to allow my son or daughter to ask hard questions about faith?
Sometimes we can get so consumed with our children’s faith or lack thereof that we forget our own love for Christ. Words may carry weight, but seeing you love Jesus, seeing that relationship thrive in your own life in good and hard times is worth a thousand words.
And what about using God or scripture as a discipline tool? Maybe you have used the Bible as leverage. “God sees you,” you say. Or “if you were a believer, you wouldn’t say that/do that/be that”. While that’s true in one sense, it’s not the entire truth. It discounts the Davids and the Marys and the Matthews and the Peters of scripture — ordinary people who followed Christ but who were works in progress. They went on to become great men and women of God, but only after time spent transformed in the presence and love of God.
Teach scripture. Share great devotion books by great teachers. Live a life of integrity in front of your children in both word and deed. But don’t use God to zap your children. Show them the wisdom of how to grow through mistakes, God’s grace, but also the adventure of discovering all that you can be through Christ.
And that adventure will lead to hard questions. I remember when one of my daughters went through a questioning phase. Her questions drove me to my knees. You see, I wasn’t raised in church so the sovereignity and joy of God was clear to me. There was a definite before and after. But my daughter was raised in church, and her questions were valid. She was trying to determine if Christianity was real, and if it was for her.
I didn’t always have the answers, but I sought them in prayer and in scripture, and when there wasn’t a clear answer, I was honest. Today that daughter is absolutely in love with Christ and it’s reflected in everything that she does, but it’s her faith and not her mom’s or dad’s. It was a painful journey, but a necessary one for her to make her faith her own.
Do whatever you can to foster an environment where teens can take that next step. Help them raise funds for the mission trip. Don’t fuss when youth group runs long and you have to pick them up after. Encourage your youth pastors because it’s a hard job and they are impacting your kids.
Tomorrow’s resolution is #I Want to Let My Child Grow Up.
Here’s a resource that can help your teen make their faith their own.
Wow! This is so pertinent to where I am with my Kim. She accepted Christ as her personal savior in October and was baptized in November. What was hard for me, but I’m grateful she sought out another, was that she didn’t come to me in that decision. I think she did that because she didn’t want me making a huge deal about her very real choice. I can remember when my salvation took place in 2000 and having noone except my pastor to talk to about it. I do try to model His presence in my life and in my actions. It isn’t always easy to do, Suz. There are struggles even now, but I know that He has us both in His hands now and nothing can snatch us away. Our assurance is secure. And….we are works in progress and we WON’T arrive in this life, only in Heaven.
Thanks for speaking to my heart!! Incredibly joyful times but oh so difficult sometimes. I’m completely looking forward to tomorrow’s resolution. I do want to let my children grow up, but oh how I’m having to pry open my clenched fingers to let go. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks for this post! Great reminder and I love the way God brings the same subject up over and over in different venues/ways! My heart’s cry is for my children to live a life sold out for God, I need to work on me too though! 🙂
Wow, this is exactly where I am in life. I have a teen son and we go to church and practice our faith but I always worry about my sons personal relationship with God. Thank you for the encouragement.
What you say is true, I know, but not easy. I have made so many mistakes with my children and I’m sure continue to do so. But God is greater than those mistakes andcan help me be the parent I need and want to be.
So glad to have found this post today. Had an “Ah-ha moment” while reading.
Wow! This verbalizes so much of what I feel now with an almost 13 year old and a 10 year old. We are moving from the “family faith” mindset to them beginning to question things for themselves. Its awesome and scary at the same time to see it.
Very thankful to find this blog through the Proverbs 31 Facebook post today. My son is 13. He’s a great kid, accepted Christ as his savior when he was almost 10, we attend church regularly as a family, and he attends a Christian school. But I worry I’m not doing enough real Bible teaching to him and his sister at home. I hope to use the information I’m finding here to make some real resolutions and change the way I’m teaching my kids. Thank you!
Thanks for the encouragement!!! I have 3 children 1 grown and married, 1 in college and one still in High School…and boy are they all 3 different! I admit I still have a hard time letting them grow up and make their own choices..haha because I am so smart and have done and seen it all.(not).
These are great plans but it is not always easy to put them in practice. Besides seeking God, i need practical resources and examples to help me out with my 14 year old.