When my kids were little I would overhear people talking about how hard it was to parent teenagers. I would read about kids from wonderful Christian homes who went astray. I realized no matter what parents did there were no guarantees. I worried with dread wondering how we would get through the teenage years.

So several years ago I started reading the book, Boundaries with Teens, but I never finished it. In chapter one Dr. Townsend suggested we journal about our own adolescence. I tried journaling but I couldn’t remember much. The few things I could recall (locking cigarettes in my car when I was 17, “cruising” with my girlfriends at 15 (none of us had a license) and hosting a party when my parents were out of town my senior year), made me feel worse and at that time the exercise seemed so futile. My kids were sweet tweenagers who caused me little grief, so I stopped reading.    

The last few weeks however, in the throes of some hard conversations I’ve had with my teenagers, I’ve remembered. I remembered how badly I wanted to be free from my parents’ rules while at the same time being somewhat terrified of adulthood. God reminded me of my insecurities, my desire to be unique and how conflicting it was to love, yet abhor my parents all at the same time. In short, God has helped me remember what I’ve needed to parent my teenagers better.
But how did this miracle occur? I can’t remember what I had for lunch (people who host beer parties don’t have many brain cells left). How did the memories of 1986 Laura come back suddenly?

Well it happened, because I’ve asked. In the past few months God has reminded me, instead of replying with my usual sarcasm, wit or condemnation, to ask him for something I’ve asked for literally thousands of times since becoming a mom: wisdom and discernment (1 Kings 3:9). When I remember to ask God for guidance before I speak He gives me exactly what my kids need (and shocker, it’s rarely what I was going to do or say).

Corrie Tenboom tells the story of her father asking, “’When you and I go to Amsterdam–when do I give you your ticket?” She sniffed a few times before responding with ‘Why, just before we get on the train.’ Her father then went on, ‘Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes… you will look into your heart and find the strength you need–just in time.’” 

It is good to be prepared. It is good to read books, talk to wise friends and use common sense when raising teenagers, but the most important thing we can do is pray for God’s wisdom and discernment daily and then wait for our Father to give us what we need…at exactly the right time.