Wisdom for the Teen Years: Day Six
the power of cake & grace
By Vanessa Hunt
I freely admit to not being prepared for the roller coaster ride that is teenage hormones. Sometimes it feels like there is not a single easy interaction to be had and after countless eye rolls, slammed doors and tension-filled conversations, the temptation is to pull away from our teens rather than pull them in closer. Recently my fifteen year old and I were in a particularly rough patch and I was more than happy to drop him off at youth group despite the fact that he really didn’t want to go. He slammed the car door (of course!) and headed towards the youth building only to quickly turn around and return. “Mom, I just don’t want to go tonight! Please don’t make me!” He hopped back into the car and I angrily pulled out of the parking lot. But as we drove I began to pray for him and for us. I could feel the Holy Spirit softening my heart and I quickly changed course. He noticed that we missed our turn and asked where we were going. “We’re going to get a slice of cake!”, I declared. And I watched as the tears welled up in his eyes and rolled down his face. “I don’t feel like I deserve a piece of cake”, he said. I sighed a big sigh and felt all the feelings and said, “Well, buddy, sometimes when we feel we don’t deserve something is the EXACT time when we need it the most.”
You see, I believe that it is only when we acknowledge our undeservedness, when we feel it right down in the very bottom of our souls, that we can truly experience the full magnitude of receiving unmerited grace. My son didn’t think he deserved cake because of his behavior. And yet, at that moment, eating a slice of cake with his mom and having a chance to just escape from the world for a bit was exactly what he needed the most.
God’s grace comes along at the exact moment when we feel the least deserving. It isn’t held at bay until we get our act together. Because, if it was, let’s face it, we would never get to experience it. We can be an example of this to our teens. And we can keep the cake coming!
Scripture Meditation: Now as you excel in everything- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us- excel also in this grace. 2 Corinthians 8:7
Do you find it difficult to extend the same grace to your teenager that you yourself want to receive from your Heavenly Father?
What would it look like if you were to pull your teenager in closer when all you really want to do is get away from them?
Have you yourself personally accepted the grace offered to you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and do you live your life reflecting the joy that comes from receiving it?
Lord, I admit that while I hungrily accept the grace you offer to me I often struggle to extend that same grace to my teenager(s). And, just like you do for me, help me to pull them in closer when they mess up. Give me wisdom to know how to discipline in ways that are filled with truth AND grace so that my teen will see in me the best earthly example of the love of their Heavenly Father.