Raising teenage girls is not for the faint of heart.
While I am sure that I was a perfectly delightful teenager when my mother was raising me, (stop laughing, Mom!), I am having a very challenging time parenting my teenage daughter.
When she was a little girl, Julia was a ray of sunshine. She had a mop of red curls, bright blue eyes, and a near-constant smile.
So, when my cheery, agreeable daughter reached her teenage years, I was unprepared for the moodiness, the irritability, and the occasional angry retort that was intended to wound.
I have never been one to back down from a fight. (I was not called” The Mouth Of Theresa Avenue” by the moms on the street on which I grew up for nothing).
In my natural personality, I can be combative if I am challenged. Thankfully…and mercifully for those who live with me…Jesus has sanded down those rough edges with His stunning patience, relentless love, and breathtaking grace.
However, just like the apostle Paul lamented in Romans 7:1: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” I have done what I hate when I respond in anger toward my daughter when she hurts my feelings with one of her outbursts.
While listening to one of Tullian Tchividjian’s sermons this afternoon, one of the ways he defined grace really resonated with me: “Grace is being loved when you are unloveable. Grace is God giving you His best when you are at your worst.”
I knew Jesus was speaking to me.
Tim Keller once said, “The Gospel is pretty much the solution to every problem.”
How very true those words are.
The next time my daughter lashes out at me as a result of a flood of teenage hormones, I need to remember the grace that Jesus lavished on me when He died for me while I was still His enemy. (Romans 5:8). I need to remember the way He covers my wounded heart with His mercy and grace. I need to remember His faithful love towards me, even when I am unfaithful. I need to remember His sweet forgiveness when I have broken His heart with my waywardness.
I need to remember GRACE.
Would you be willing to do the same?
Think of the person in your life that tends to hurt your feelings.
Will you respond in the flesh with an eye for an eye? Will you choose words that are deliberately meant to sear? Will your heart remain hard, unyielding?
Will you take a minute to step back, to remember the lavish grace that your Savior has given you, and ask Him to flood your heart with His love for that person? Will you choose to search for what is lovely? Will you give them your best when they are at their worst?
Will you choose to treat that person as Jesus would?
(Note: I am NOT talking about an abusive situation here. I am referring to the occasional emotional skirmishes that we tend to have with those we love).
Choose grace. Choose peace. Choose love.
When you do, you will discover the sheer power of grace.
Grace conquers because grace is rooted in love.
Let nobody ever tell me that our God does not have a sense of humor.
Would you believe that before I even finished writing this post, the teenage hormones reared their ugly head?!
I chose to give my daughter grace.
Surprise registered in her beautiful blue eyes.
She was uncertain.
She was silent.
What could have escalated into a pointless argument instead settled into…peace. The tension drained from the room.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
I accepted her apology.
A few minutes later, she told me something funny.
We both laughed.
It always does.
Christ’s way is best. Every time.
For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received…one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift. —John 1:16