Who Can Survive Adolescence?

Adolescence is just hard! It is hard for the kids as they go through it, for those with whom they interact and especially for their parents. Working in administration at a school for two years opened my eyes to just how challenging this time is for everyone. Even in the best school setting, we encountered bullying, hurtful words, children left out, social media issues, and lots and lots of hurt feelings.

This week, I got to be fully engaged in this struggle. My adolescent boy hurt his friend on Friday. Sadly, he hurt a very good friend. The friend felt betrayed, rejected, left out and disliked. Ouch! Even as an adult woman, those feelings are devastating to me. My boy was disappointed in himself and deeply regretted the pain he caused. Still, the damage was done. The best apologies can lead to reconciliation, but they don’t wipe out the pain. Nothing does that but time and the healing time can bring.

The beauty of the pain is that I have had some incredible heartfelt conversations with my son and with his friend’s parents. Acknowledging pain, feeling pain and working through pain can be oh so hard, but it is well worth it! Doing that hard work allows us to live authentically in relationships with others and with ourselves. True reconciliation cannot happen without the pain.

The timing of this situation is ideal. Yesterday was Good Friday. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, died the most painful and humiliating death so that we can live forgiven. Jesus died because he knew, despite our best intentions, you and I could never live a sinless life.

This morning, as I meditated on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice there, I envisioned myself standing under the cross. I saw the blood of Jesus, the tears and the sweat. I saw Jesus look down at me, and I knew his sacrifice was for me, for my son, for all of us.  Jesus death allows for reconciliation with our heavenly Father and with each other.

Adolescence is just hard, but thank God for the cross and for the forgiveness that happens there. My son and I will make it. My son’s friend and his family will make it; in fact, the boys are out playing airsoft as I type. You will make it.  IF, we are willing to acknowledge the pain, feel the pain and work through the pain with our eyes on the cross.

Into Your Hands I Commit My Life

I am not sure I have ever done this, but I want to quote my husband’s book this morning. In THE CRUCIFIED LIFE devotion for today, Charlie writes: “The key to receiving the life of God is in surrendering our spirit to His Spirit that we might be mysteriously united in the wonderful mystery of His will.”
 
This week, the study has been focused on surrender. Jesus speaks these words from the cross right before he dies: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirt (Luke 23:46).” Jesus, being fully God and fully human, entrusts himself to the Father all the way to the cross, to his last dying breath.
 
There is nothing I want more than to fully entrust myself to the Lord. I have been wrestling with this all week in my devotions, prayers, thoughts and in my journal. In my mind, I know that God is good; His ways are good; He is fully worthy of my trust and submission. In my flesh, I want what I want. I feel like I have to make things happen, yet I find myself incapable of doing the things that I want to do. Romans 7 and 8 describe my ongoing battle.
 
Ultimately, I want to land into the loving arms of my Father. I want to submit my spirit, my very life to Him. I have been asking Him to show me how to do this, to make His will my will, His desires my desires. I wish I could say that after a week of wrestling and praying that I have this fully mastered. I don’t! But, it has become my daily heartfelt prayer.
 
Romans 8:31-32 says: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how we he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
 
God is for us! He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I may not have this surrender thing down, but I will daily lay my life before the Lord and ask Him to help me fully commit myself and my ways before Him. I want Him. I want His life. Charlie ends the devotional writing today with these words:  “Entrust Him with your entire life today.”  Let’s do that today then again tomorrow and the next day.  He alone is worthy of our lives!