parenting by faith

Parenting by Faith: Adolescents


I recently stumbled on this piece and wanted to share it with you to encourage you to anchor in God’s Word and heart in your own parenting. Enjoy!


Lord, please tell me what to do! 

The helpless plea swirled around the room as I knelt by the bed, the door closed and locked, my mind reeling from a brief but loaded incident with my 12-year-old son . . .

My son turned twelve this week. At least I think it was my son. I say this because he is so different than he was just six months ago. He has the same hair, the same slow deliberate walk, the same eyes, but sometimes I feel like the son I know, the sweet, mild-mannered delight with the ready smile, was abducted by aliens and replaced with a look-alike gremlin of raw testosterone.


parenting by faith


And it rattles me.

Sometimes it drives me to a blind run on every parenting book I can lay my hands on. So as I sat there, I frantically sifted through my options. Biblical principles and wisdom gleaned in parenting classes paraded erratically through my mind, but none addressed the problem directly — and I needed direct help.

Who do I know . . . ?  My mind triumphantly fastened on a close friend that had successfully raised three boys — “successful” as in, they have respectable jobs, families, a walk with God, and of highest priority today —

— they weren’t the death of their mother.


I snatched up the phone and dialed. “Hi, you’ve reached 555…” Not the machine!  Deflated, I left a pathetic message and hung up.

Now what? My husband was out of town so I had no one else to consult.

I was parenting alone, stranded in a hothouse of pubescent testosterone with my man-child, and had no idea what to do.

Trapped without options, I knelt and prayed again, “Lord, please tell me what to do.”

Once again, the urge to scramble to the bookcase and ransack it for parenting help was immediate and strong. However, God chose that moment to remind me of a talk I was preparing featuring the sufficiency of Scripture to meet practical needs. In my notes I’d written, “Do you believe God will hear your prayers and speak to you? Is His Word really able to answer your questions and meet the need you face today?”

I was ready to challenge others, but was I ready to embrace the challenge myself?

Humbled, I decided to wait on God’s help and guidance from Scripture for my own pressing need.


Courtesy of

Courtesy of


A quick, definitive answer to my prayer didn’t come that day. But as I pressed in to God and listened and waited, He spoke deeply a few weeks later through my daily Bible study:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

These familiar words caught at my heart as I reflected on the many ways God had expressed His unconditional love for me. My mind replayed instance after instance of God’s patience and unmerited kindnesses toward me. It was in the midst of these revealing ruminations that my son’s face appeared in my mind’s eye.

Carefully, I considered the passage again and God’s voice broke in on my thoughts, “Just as surely as you have needed and relied on My love, so your son needs unconditional love from you more than anything else today.” As God’s gentle words soaked into the freshly tilled soil of my heart I knew:

The transformation that needed to happen wasn’t within my son, it was within me. [Tweet “The transformation that needed to happen wasn’t within my son, it was within me.”]

That afternoon when my son climbed into the car after school, he looked different to me. Instead of the multi-headed, green-eyed gremlin, I saw a vulnerable young boy caught in the swift and unpredictable current of emerging manhood.

I saw a child who needed his mom to love him.


parenting by faith adolescence

Courtesy of


God continues to transform my perspective. He helps me see past my son’s erratic attitudes and into the emotional and spiritual battle surrounding his struggle toward manhood. And bit by bit, gems of wisdom tumble out of God’s Word and into my heart reminding me that I’m called to live by faith as a mom, too. [Tweet “We are called to live by faith as moms, too.”]

Today my son is still trapped in the jaws of the hormonal beast, and sometimes I miss the parenting clues God faithfully provides. But one thing is certain, I no longer view my son through a distorted lens of fear, I see him through the steady eye of faith —

— and love.


I wrote this story almost ten years ago and am thrilled to report that clinging to God’s Word and anchoring in His heart was indeed “enough” to impart the wisdom I desperately needed as we passed through the difficult passage of adolescence. As a result, God built a strong relationship based on unconditional love and trust that is still thriving today.


What about you? What is the biggest challenge you face as a mom?

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