Finding God’s Joy in Parenting Teenagers

by Rey Cooke

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My stomach was in knots, and I was constantly reminding God about the problem I was having with one of my daughters. She was dating someone who was sucking the spiritual life out of her, but didn’t see it that way nor did she understand my concern. Parenting teenagers is not always easy!

Why is it that everyone’s problems seem manageable, but mine are too big for even God to straighten out?

I know in my heart that is absolutely not true. As a Bible teacher, I stand on the promises of His Word, knowing that nothing is too difficult for God. However there are times I don’t live in that reality. I allow my problems to become bigger than God.

Like the theme song in the movie Frozen, I need to “Let it Go” and let God give perspective. It sounds so easy, but is extremely difficult at times!

As I was fretting over the same problem, the words of the Psalmist leaped off the page, refreshing my soul!

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart”… Psalm 19:7-8

Just as a shower refreshes and washes away filth, I allowed God’s Word to wash over me and revive my weary heart.

As a young mother of 4 growing daughters I was constantly and literally on my knees interceding on behalf of my girls.

I would easily have given my life for any of them, which only deepened my love for Jesus who DID give His life for me!

My husband and I walked closely and held tightly to our Savior while raising our girls, teaching and training them in the ways of the Lord.  In my mind this was a sure guarantee they would be safe from the Enemy, and I would experience peace like a river all the days of my life.

That sounds like a fairy tale. But God doesn’t promise us smooth sailing. He promises there will be trials and tribulations, but He will be with us!

We enjoyed having daughters. There was always a flurry of activities around our home, which included lots of boys. Avery and I hosted many youth events, hangouts, prayer times, fellowships, dinners, led small groups, and have been on hundreds of youth-related activities.  The ultimate goal was always to love people and be the Gospel to those who were in our sphere of influence.

Each one of our daughters, at some point, has dated someone we knew was not God’s best for them.  Careful not to break their spirit or spiritually harm the person they were dating, we would gently speak words of truth into our daughter’s lives and the circumstances that concerned us.

As a parent you see problems your kids don’t always think are a big deal.  On more than one occasion my husband and I strongly encouraged our girls to end relationships that were not right. Unfortunately when there is a break up, someone always gets hurt!

Truthfully, No one escapes life without stamping his or her passport with PAIN.  Pain is unavoidable.

But there is no pain quite like that of a disobedient or rebellious child!

I’d like to report my girls always heeded biblical advice and praised God they had praying parents, but that is simply not the case.

Sometimes God is most glorified in our life when we live well, and sometimes He is most glorified when we suffer well.

There is no way we can get through life without suffering.  And there is no way we can get through suffering without a living hope.  A living hope is not based on circumstances.  A living hope is joy in the suffering.

Sorrow drives you to Christ. In Christ Jesus we can have joy in suffering.

How can that be?  Because our joy isn’t in our circumstances. 
How did Christ handle going to the cross? He wasn’t skipping and rejoicing, the Bible says He sweat drops of blood. He was suffering, but His hope wasn’t in going to heaven (He had left heaven); His hope was in you and me!  We were set before Him and kept in heaven.  What we deserved, He took, and what He receives, we get!

I pray you will be encouraged today, knowing God loves your teenagers more than you do, and He is able to supply you with abundant JOY as you walk with Him daily and place your faith in His living hope.

Find comfort in the truth that life isn’t spinning out of control, and He is working everything out for our good and His glory.

Rey Cooke

*For mothers of teens, what is God teaching you as you seek to raise godly young men and women?

*Please feel free to comment below with some of your thoughts!

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