Advice for Teenagers, Alone-Ness, Breathe, Commentary, Enjoy The Journey, Life, Love, Loving Things Living, Rise, Teenagers, Religion and How Grace Changes Things

“Teenagers, What I Want You to Know”

There are so many things that I want to tell young people. That time in life when you are searching for meaning, looking for your place, trying to fit in. If you will give me your ear, I promise I will not judge. Here are a few suggestions that may make the journey a little less painful.

1. Pain is normal. Everyone feels it. Don’t run from pain, lean into it and allow yourself to take shape. Life is a series of ups and downs, without the downs you wouldn’t appreciate the ups and it’s the ride that will color your life and make you strong. This idea that you are the only one feeling what your feeling is common. Those feelings are very real and in some cases frightening, it’s ok. You are not in this fight alone. It is in these times that you reach beyond yourself, beyond your reasoning and your age to something higher. It’s now that you begin to lean on and trust your creator. God equipped you with everything you need and even when you can’t see it or feel it, trust Him. He has got you, just trust Him. Tell Him you trust Him, give the pain to Him, give the confusion, the heartache, the fear to Him and trust that He has you.

2. You will make mistakes, it’s a part of the growing process. No one on the planet can do it all right. Be willing to acknowledge your need for help. There is nothing shameful or weak in needing help with things. Anyone that tells you that you shouldn’t ask questions and get help is doing damage, don’t listen, don’t be a part of the lie. It is this very willingness to admit your weakness that brings you your greatest strength. When you are weak He is strong. God isn’t afraid of your weakness, He knows you are imperfect, He is cool with that. He made you so you will trust Him, not so you will do it all yourself. Trust Him and at the same time allow others to be used by Him to help you.

3. Your identity is not found in labels. No matter what label you have been given, whether good or bad, whether positive or negative. You may be gifted and talented, you may have ADHD, you may be athletic, you may be musical, and you may have no idea at all what you are. These things do not identify you. What identifies you comes from where you get your life. As a believer your life is not music, athletics, sexuality, diagnosis, these are not your life. These are things your life deals with, but who you are is who Christ is. Who you are is loved, forgiven, new and right, just to name a few. In fact, Christ is your life. Recognize that, acknowledge that and the labels and the diagnosis are just a part of your journey. Enjoy the journey, but don’t mistake those things for your life. Someday the athletics will end, the talent will fade, the diagnosis will not be such a burden, but Christ will always be your life, allow Him to live through you.

4. If you are in a situation and something doesn’t feel right, listen to that and act on it. Trust your heart. Listen to the still small voice in your heart and allow it to guide you. It will save you from mistakes, hurt and disappointment. Listen to those who have had this journey already, people like your grandparents. Respect their knowledge and their years. They may have different views than you, but try and see the world through their eyes. You don’t have to agree, but listen, respect and give them your time. Theirs is limited.

5. Finally, when you are laying in your bed at night with the lights out and your eyes closed, think about Christ life moving through your hormones and your veins. See His light transforming you, see yourself swimming around in it. Drink it in. Try and imagine the depth of the love that He has for you, with no regard for faults, or labels. Accept that love, see yourself running in a wide-open field of it. Then wake up knowing that His life is your life, His strength is your strength, His peace is your peace, His mind is your mind and go conquer the day!

Wynema I Clark – 4/24/2017

Commentary, Cross, Life, Religious, Short Story

Words, Honesty, Apology, Grace

Here’s a bit of brutal honesty. Try as I may, I seem to say something dumb at least once a week. It’s not intentional. It’s born of frustration or emotion and although it’s hard to admit, sometimes it’s just ignorance. Am I alone in this? I think not…I hope not.

The most challenging times are in the passenger seat while my daughter is driving, or in a department store trying to convince her that the lesser expensive pair of sweatpants are equally as good as the ridiculously expensive sweatpants. Truth be told, the expensive sweatpants are probably better, but heck, they are sweatpants and they are ridiculously expensive! So in the heat of the argument I say something that seems appropriate to me but painfully hurtful to her.

Unfortunately my brain doesn’t register, “inappropriate” until she hits back with a verbal upper cut. Suddenly we both find ourselves suffering from emotional internal bleeding. Then it all goes quiet and I know I’ve done it again. I know I’ve spoken out of the heat of the moment instead of the truth.

Once the arguing stops, I explain my point of view. We argue some more and finally I apologize…again. I say “again” because this ain’t my first rodeo. Once we stop and listen to each other, I mean really hear each other out, it ends up in forgiveness. But there is still a deep sense of shame and regret that I’m not aware enough to avoid these mis-steps.

Then I think about my Heavenly Father and the fact that His plan made allowance for my humanity. As if He knew somehow that in the eons of time Wynema and Hannah would need a lot of grace. That because of the blood of Jesus I am allowed to make mistakes and my daughter is allowed to desire the expensive sweatpants and I am allowed to tell her “no”. The emotions of the moment are still real, the words just as painful. But at least I know it’s going to be good, it’s all ok. I think as His grace is working in me, it can work through me toward Hannah or whomever happens to need it at the moment. And hopefully through Hannah toward me who need grace quit consistently. I’m growing, she’s growing, all God’s children should be growing in Grace.

Hannah_Sweet16-27.jpg

Poetry

Put The Device Down

What do you expect to find
Staring at that screen all the time?
Does it make you better when your ill, or numb the pain to what you feel,
Sing you songs when you’re afraid
Or give you plans better laid?
As you look upon that screen
Is it there your hopes will lean?
I hope you’re shooting deeper still,
Than what the screen shows as real.
Cause nothing takes the place of
Human touch and face to face.
So put the device you’re holding away
Look me in the eye and hear me say:

I NEED TO SEE THE COLOR OF YOUR EYES WHEN I SPEAK,
WHEN I SAY “I LOVE YOU” I WANT TO KNOW YOU HEAR ME IN MORE THAN JUST A TWEAT.