A Prayer of Thanks for My Teenager

If you are a mom to teenagers, then you know just how quickly the time flies. My third child to parent through the teen years hit the magical “teen” mark at the beginning of January. Wow! How incredible to think that God has grown this boy from a sweet little innocent baby to a squeaky voice, taller-than-his-mama teenager! When I think about the next few years of his life, I get a little… ok, a lot, whimsical. I truly believe it is important to continue to pray for my teenagers as I did for them as children. With the issue of a driver’s license, perhaps I pray more.  

Today I just wanted to offer up a prayer of thanks for my teenager. Technically I have two teenagers currently, but I wanted you to feel free to use this prayer!

A Prayer of Thanks for My Teenager

Father,
Often a mom will reflect on her treasures.
Today I’m thanking you for my teenager.
I can scarcely grasp
That you knitted the soul of a sweet baby
And then gifted me that baby,
Both body and soul to nurture.
While the days and weeks and months have passed,
It’s hard to believe my baby is a teenager.
Thank you for the privilege of sculpting a spirit
And your guidance to do so.
How I need you, Jesus.
Thank you that the sweet days far outweigh the hard;
And that your grace covers our faults.
While we may not see eye to eye on every issue in life,
We’re both thriving in your love each day.
This fact alone is a gift from you;
And I praise you for it.
May each anticipated milestone be embraced to the fullest.
May our hearts traverse closer to you and each other.
I pray in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

a prayer of thanks for my teenager

When Dreams Get Stripped Away

All of us dream and make plans in life. But not all of those dreams come to life. As if I need to explain that to you.

Last week, my son asked Daddy, “When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“Well, when I was really little, around 5 years old, I wanted to be a doctor during the week and a preacher on the weekends.” The children thought this was such an awesome idea. My husband went on to say,” And when I got a little older, I wanted to be a magician.” This made everyone at the table smile or giggle a bit. Although I have full confidence that if he were to be a magician, he would be incredible. But the reality is that the most magic my husband has ever made has been his 7 kids. 

I’m a dreamer and always have been. As a child, I not only got lost in books because the characters came to life, but also because I could take the characters other places and make up my own stories. I would dream of flying with Amelia Earhart; Annie Oakley and I went on all sorts of adventures together. I was as good a shot as she was. In my dreams.

Yesterday one of my dreams died.

You see, my Taylor girl has been quite fragile since autumn. Between seizures and her continual loss of skills as the gradual neurological degeneration infiltrates her brain, she has stayed home from school day after day and we do our best to hold on to her mobility. She is still breathing on her own and eating by mouth; for this we are thankful and focus on making the most of each day. But her pace to life is much slower than the rest of the world. I’m learning to appreciate it.

When the diagnosis was issued that Taylor’s projected lifespan would be 10-15 years, I looked down at her little pigtails and I had this dream. The dream that one day she would walk across a platform and receive her high school diploma. Graduation day- isn’t it the pinnacle of the teen years? Doesn’t everyone have this dream for their child? And in spite of disease and in spite of diagnosis, my dream for my girl has been that she would graduate from high school. Not with honors or accolades or scholarships, but just the ability to walk and receive a piece of paper that signifies she lived her life to the fullest for the school years allotted to her. Each day she put one foot in front of the other and took one more step.

Since Taylor hasn’t been well enough to attend school, although she is 18 years old, at this point, we are forced to let a dream die. Due to state regulations and stipulations, today I have to make the choice to disenroll Taylor from school. And we will never see that dream of Taylor receiving a high school diploma. It’s a very hard mama place to be. To be honest, Taylor doesn’t care. She doesn’t know and it does not hurt her feelings because she doesn’t understand. It’s a strange feeling to be thankful that your child doesn’t have enough cognitive ability to know when she’s being deprived of a simple joy.

I really didn’t want to share all this with you, as it is deeply personal for me. But the Lord kept me awake last night because I felt him impressing on me that you too have big dreams and big goals for your life and your children. There’s nothing wrong with those big dreams and plans and goals, except that sometimes they are not a part of his plan. We can’t wrap our heads around it; we don’t understand all the details. But we can hold on to the promises of Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORDFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8&9

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For those of you with children graduating this year, be thankful and enjoy every moment to the fullest. Soak up extra moments on my behalf.

For those of you with dying or dead dreams, he is with you. His promises are true and his plan is always best. God is good and makes all things for our good. His plan is far greater than we could ever dream.

I doubt I’ll have a single thought of high school graduation when we stand before his throne in eternity. In fact, this morning I was thinking about what it will be like to see Taylor in heaven one day, without disease, fully healed and I thought:

Now that’s the ultimate graduation.

Rachel

 14 Bible Verses for when I can’t understand God’s plan

3 Christian Principles That Ground Sean & Catherine’s Marriage

Special note: While I don’t support the show, The Bachelor, in the spirit of supporting Christian marriages, I am choosing to encourage Sean & Catherine in their faith. I’m proud of their stand and this post, 3 Christian principles that ground Sean & Catherine’s marriage, is a great example of love that gives.for the right reasons

This is an exclusive guest post written by The Bachelor’s Sean Lowe. Sean fell in love with Catherine Giudici and they married in a nationally-televised fairytale last January. But this is just the beginning for the newlyweds. 

In his new autobiography, For The Right Reasons, Sean tells all about the backstage drama that fuels The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, how he overcame heartbreak to find his true love, and the personal struggles and Christian faith that have made him the man he is today.

Staying Humble  

One thing I’ve had to learn during our marriage is to humble myself each and every day. Having to be right about something can quickly lead to butting heads over even the smallest issues. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I’ll just go on believing I’m right regardless of what Catherine says, because in those situations, I’m not really listening to her.

I have to get humble and slow myself down. Then, I can listen to her point of view and we can really start to talk things out. As newlyweds, this isn’t easy for either of us, but it’s something that we both realize is important.

Putting Catherine’s Needs First

I’ve also learned the importance – actually the necessity – of putting Catherine’s needs before mine. I truly have to be concerned about her well-being above my own. Having recently been a single guy, this is tough! It goes against all human nature about self-preservation, but that’s why it’s so special. It’s marriage, where two become one. In a sense, I’m not just putting her needs above mine, I’m putting our needs above my own selfish desires.

Letting The Small Things Stay Small

Forgiveness is important in any relationship. Even when there’s not something really serious I need to forgive Catherine for, forgiveness is essentially the act of letting something go.

Every now and then, something as small as where we’re going to eat dinner on a particular night can start an argument. I’ve got tell myself, “Hey, Listen! It’s not that big of a deal. I love my wife with all my heart. I’m going to put this behind me and move on.”

Anything can become a big deal if you make it into a big deal, but that’s just it! Picking a restaurant is not a big deal, it’s a small deal – a very small deal. Letting those small things stay small things can always be a challenge, but it’s so important!

Sean Lowe

 

Learn more about Sean’s new autobiography here, For The Right Reasons, America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage and Why Nice Guys Finish First

 

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