"I choose joy . . . I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance . . . I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God." – Max Lucado

We live in a world where change is constant, and it seems that things change these days at a more rapid pace than ever before. Some changes are for the better and some are for the worst. If teenagers can walk in this changing world and come through unscathed, we are grateful. But some do not.

Some kids become victims to negative pressures in today’s culture; choosing a lifestyle of self-indulgence, wilful disobedience, rebellion and self-destructive behaviours. It is sad to see that happening to otherwise great kids; and no one is saddened more than their parents.

Hearts broken by rebellion

I work with mothers and fathers who have cried over a wayward son or daughter. Words cannot describe the depth of pain and sorrow that comes to a parent’s heart broken by love. These parents experience a depth of feeling for their children that even the children do not understand.

One of the most difficult things parents face is the realisation that although they have experienced life and gained wisdom from their own mistakes and failures, their own children will probably not benefit from them. They will not understand until they make the same mistakes and experience the consequences. And mistakes will be made.

In fact, one indisputable truth about human beings is that we have an infinite capacity to mess up. But even more infinite than our ability to sin is God’s desire to love and forgive us. For those of us who have accepted Christ as Saviour, God forgives us every time we ask – again and again.

Giving them up to God

Remember this about your teenager; no matter what they have done, their life isn’t wrecked for good. The most loving, powerful Being in the universe wants to heal them, and He does have the power and creativity to do just that.

So, rather than dwelling on your mistakes, leave those cares to Christ, and celebrate their life instead. That’s why I recommend that you pull out some old photos and recall the happier moments surrounding their birth and childhood. Let the photos bring to mind the joy of God’s gift of your child. His thumb print was on their life when they were born, and it still is today.

May we all be grateful for Christ’s gift of second chances. He loves and watches out for our children more than we ever can; and what better gift is there than that?

© 2010 Mark Gregston. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Mark Gregston

Mark Gregston is founder of Heartlight residential counselling centre for teens in East Texas and the radio broadcast Parenting Today's Teens.

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