What can be Learned from Teaching Your Teen to Drive?

driving

We have embarked upon a new chapter in parenthood.  Teaching our oldest to drive has brought me to a whole new level in letting go and trusting God.  This picture is actually a little over exaggeration of my level of anxiety.  She is actually doing a fine job and taking driving seriously.  In fact this is the first time in fifteen years my child has fully hung on my every word.  The child has never listened to my advice and instruction more intently.  There has been a deepening of the mother/daughter relationship as trust, listening, and obedience has been “taking the wheel”.  Coming home from school the other day she exclaimed “Hey mom we watched a video in drivers ed. and they said the exact same thing you told me in the video!!!!”  As I learn to trust her she is learning to trust the wisdom of her momma as well!

As I hear instruction spew from my own mouth on how to be prepared at all times for obstacles, drive defensively, plan ahead, focus on the road ahead of you, be aware of your surroundings, etc…  I am being reminded of my own journey through life with Jesus.  As I teach driving safety I wonder if I am teaching and leading my children to the one who can lead them through this life?

There have been times of learning the hard way by suffering a consequence of my own choices that I thought “Well that is what God’s word and my parents told me would happen”.  The more I listen to God and His word the deeper my trust in His wisdom.  The more I trust Him the more He entrusts me with His purpose, plan, joy, peace, and blessing.

As a follower of Jesus my focus should stay on the path He has placed before me.  There are always obstacles pulling out in front to stop, slam, or throw a follower of Christ off course.  It is not an easy road, but if one is armed with the Word of God and prayer then we always have the best defensive driver on our side.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Show me thy ways oh Lord, teach my thy paths.”  Psalm 25:4

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

Raising a Teenager

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This morning our fourteen year old walked out of the bathroom all ready for school dressed in one of her new Christmas sweaters.  I literally had to do a double take.  Yes she is my offspring and I am looking through the lenses of a loving mother’s eyes, but had she been anyone else I would have thought the same thing.   “She is beautiful!”  I told her, “Michaela you look really pretty today.  You look pretty everyday, but especially today.”   Even her little sister complimented her hair. The next time I saw the girl she had gone and completely changed what she was wearing.  She now had an old flannel shirt with a Cami shirt underneath.  She now looked like the Brawny Paper Towel guy.  If she had a grizzly beard she would have been able to pass for a lumber jack.  She still looked pretty to me, but not near the stunning presentation that she previously had.  Of course I had to give her a hard time about when one is fourteen everyday is opposite day.  “My mother said I look pretty so that must mean I look like a complete troll!!!!!”

I had to laugh because I went through my “opposite” days too.  Whatever God and my parents said I had an incredible desire to push the limits and go the complete opposite direction.  Some days I could suppress that instinct and others I gave in and often suffered the consequences of doing things “my” way.  The older I get the more I want to be completely in line with God’s authority.

Clothes are not a big deal to this mother as long as they are appropriately modest and fall within the school’s dress code.  Personally I am much more relaxed in a pair of hiking boots and a flannel shirt in the winter and flip flops and a tank top in the summer.  So I get it.  Raising teen daughters is going to be a whole new parenting adventure.

Galatians 5:17 “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Dresses, gifts, and raising daughters

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What I am sharing today I wrote back in December of 2013 regarding a dance and dress during the fall of my oldest daughter’s eighth grade year. Looking back at her growth and maturity over the last nearly fourteen years I am in awe of what amazing work God can do. God continues to reveal so much of Himself to me through the process of raising children. It is a feat that I cannot imagine trying to tackle without God and His word to rely on. Her appreciation over her dress for her end of the year eighth grade dance brought this writing to mind and I thought I would share on the blog.

The mystery of the dress that has been a minor irritation to me for the last three months from having first laid eyes on the thing has come to a close. The dress bought for the eighth grade fall ball at the middle school that at the very last minute the thirteen year old decided not to attend. The dress that I watched get tossed onto our church gymnasium floor after tediously ironing its sheer material, the dress that we thought was left in Carbondale, left on the bus, or discarded in the trash. The dress that the daughter saw for weeks in the chorus room and never spoke up to claim it because it was not convenient to carry it straight to lunch from chorus. After the teenage daughter who is learning and has so much more to learn finished her chorus concert tonight, mom walked with said daughter up to the chorus teacher to ask about the dress. Mystery solved and a prayer I had when the dress first went missing was answered. Due to the fact the dress was never claimed she finally gave it away. A young girl had asked if she could have it because no one had claimed it. I told the teacher that I had hoped that it went to someone who really needed it and she assured me vocally as well as the look on her face assured me that the young girl did indeed need it. I would have rather Michaela saw a need and had given it away herself. Now my prayer is that she has learned a lesson about responsibility, gratitude, appreciation, and generosity. I had asked her how she would feel if some day she had a daughter that she had worked hard to earn money to buy her a dress and the daughter was careless and not appreciative of the gift. She stated that she would be mad. It makes me think of how God must feel for His One and only Son Jesus to be rejected. A free gift of life, eternal salvation, unaccepted and underappreciated by so many. The gift of the ultimate sacrifice who left the glory of heaven to endure temptation, sorrow, and pain as we face. Who took the payment for our sins by dying the most horrific death on the cross. To prove that He is God by rising again just as He said and as God had told the prophets of the Old Testament He would do. The dress itself has not been the true frustration. It has been the desire to raise gracious, appreciative, responsible, and generous children and seeing the sacrifices and lessons taught go unappreciated. We all make mistakes and have to learn and grow as I know my daughter will learn from this. Parenting continues to teach me more and more of the ways of God. Parenting teaches me to appreciate the most amazing gift that I ever have or will receive. The gift of eternal life through my Savior Jesus is the most precious part of my life. He is showing me daily just how amazing that gift of grace and mercy is. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”