Thursday, September 29, 2011

Car Conversations and Teen Talks

She climbed into the back seat of my car two weeks ago. "How was your day?" I asked. Short brown hair falling into her eyes, she buckled her seat belt as we drove away.

After a few minutes of conversation, my teen daughter burst out, the story tumbling from her lips. Someone had made barbed comments several times that day, couched in the term, "It was just a joke."

I listened to my daughter's accounts and tears, reaching back to squeeze her hand as I drove one-handed. We tried to reason out the situation, striving to understand and read pure intentions into the person's actions. Recognizing our own human insecurities, she and I talked of forgiveness, and grace, and love-filled assertive words.

Arriving home, we sat in our driveway for a few minutes to hug, wipe away last tears, and pray for a chance to show unconditional love to this person, while practicing helpful assertive phrases. Then we gathered our belongings and started through the door to prepare lunch.

Once upstairs, God suddenly nudged me. In all of our good psychological responding, I hadn't yet filled Morgan's void up with God's truth of who she was. Rushing downstairs, I grabbed her, pulling her close to me. Whispering in her ears for privacy, I started speaking God's words to her.

"You are loved, precious, highly valued, his child, bought with a price, a daughter of the king, a new creation, the apple of his eye. The king is enthralled with your beauty. He died for you, will rejoice over you with singing, takes great delight in you, carves your name into his hand, gathers up your tears, saves you, calls you his own, created by him, as his masterpiece, created to do great things which he has created in advance for you."

Her tears fell on my shoulder as she melted into me. A sigh shuddered her, and I felt truth course through her. "Thank you, Mom," she whispered, hugging me fiercely. "Thank you, God," I mouthed quietly to my Abba Dad.

What about you? What truths resonate deeply in you about who God says you are? What experiences have you had with teen children and friendships? 

(Update: My daughter is thankful for all the people in her life, and that situation is going much better now.)


Kay said...

It is so easy to forget who God says we are...I'm thankful your daughter has someone to remind her of that. I'm thankful her situation is improving too.

Jacob said...

Oh my goodness...brought tears to my eyes! A great post. If only all kids who are bullied in any way at school had parents who could share with them what a treasure they are!, I haven't added to my MK site in forever. I haven't even had time for my regular blog...much to my parents' chagrin; they miss me, I mean, the grandkids! :)


Jacob said...

Ugh - my son was signed in. Sorry - that comment is from Kathleen from Treasured Chapters, etc...:-)

And now I don't know how to sign out and sign back in without losing my comments. Sorry. Meet my son, Jacob! :)

Cheryl Barker said...

Thanks, Jennifer, for visiting my blog today. Always fun to meet new folks -- especially fellow writers! -- thought blogging.

I love to think of how I am a dearly loved child of God -- and I need to remind myself of it time and again. I tend to forget it.

Blessings to you and your family!

Lisa notes... said...

What an incredibly godly thing to do. Your daughter is very blessed to have a mother who can whisper God's words in her ear at those hard moments! Keep it up.

Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

Thank you for your post. I live with my daughter who is raising her sister's daughter. (my youngest daughter passed away) Schanae (my granddaughter) has a lot of self worth issues and it is so easy to forget to tell her she is in Christ Jesus. Your post encouraged me to do better. Thank you.

Michelle said...

Ooooh! I felt that one Jennifer. Thanks for the reminder to not just band aid the emotional owies of our children but to administer spiritual pro-biotics daily!

Heather said...

This post really brought tears to my eyes. You are a wonderful writer and mother!

Ernestine Edna said...

Hi Jennifer! Please email me your mailing address so I can send you your Starbucks gift card! Thanks! Jill

ernestineedna at gmail dot com

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Hi Jen!
Thanks for stopping by my Eternity Cafe blog. Thanks for your interest in my kids.

Regarding their missionary hopes, as you asked: Since they were 12 & 14, they each have been on summer mission trips all over the world through an organization called Touch The World. They're now 21 & 23 and want to go into mission work through their "careers."

Lauren's goal is to open an arts center here in NJ and one in Africa. She is a dancer and doing student teaching this semester. She'll graduate in Dec, and go to Hillsong Leadership College in Australia in Jan. for a year.

AJ was studying architecture until he decided he wanted to build buildings rather than just draw them. He wants to be out on the mission field building homes, schools, churches, hospitals, etc. after he graduates. So now he's majoring in Construction Mgmt.

And I'd like to encourage you and your husband in your work with youth. I credit a wonderful youth pastor and wife for inspiring my kids' growth in the Lord and their desire to serve Him. They're not perfect kids for sure, but their hearts truly do desire to seek and to do His will.

I pray that they were a tiny witness in the whole American Idol environment.
Blessings to you and yours,

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

ps - keep those car conversations coming! My daughter accepted Christ as her Savior in the car because of one of those! I learned more about my kids during those trips here and there. Many teachable moments! That's one reason it was so hard when they got their drivers' licenses!

angelonwheels said...

Beautiful Truths~ Thank you for visiting my blog!

Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

Great post, your child is truly blessed. God bless you and strengthen you for future talks.

Glenda Parker

Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you. I am thankful for kids who are patient with me when I need to apologize too, and thankful for God's help on the days I choose to do the right thing too.

We're in this together, huh? :)

Jennifer Dougan