All of us have been through those middle school years. For some the transition may have been smooth. Then there was the other half, whose transition came with many obstacles. Either way your life was changed. You entered as a little kid out of elementary school and left as a teenager ready to meet the high school years. Not only was your body going through transformation, but so was your mind and emotions.
If you are a parent of middle school children, or should I say tweens who end up as teenagers, it can be like a riding a carnival ride. You want to have fun, but you also realize that the ride was put together in only a couple days. It can be a little unstable and perhaps a little scary.
During one of those tumultuous rides I have had the privilege of experiencing, I was having a very serious talk with the Lord. I was asking for wisdom and felt the Lord gave me three areas that I could spend time praying over.
- Revelation of God’s love.
- Loving Oneself.
- Understanding the power of honoring (or respecting) one’s mother and father.
That sounded simple enough. But as I was thinking about those concepts, I needed to make sure they were stable in my life. First, I needed to adjust my oxygen mask, so to speak, then through prayer I could help adjust my middle schooler’s.
REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE-
That is simple enough. We know the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve read the bumper stickers, “Smile God Loves You” that is inclusive of a smiley face. I know how cliché these words can sound without the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have been told that God loves me since I was a child. But it took me a LONG time to get the revelation.
In my youth I worked hard for that love so I could have a pat on the back. And as an adult I resolved to have a godly home. But it wasn’t always the case and when I would make unwise choices for my life, I would beat myself up. If I let someone down, especially my heavenly Father, I would be angry at myself.
But if I REALLY had the revelation of God’s love, it wouldn’t have been such a strenuous walk. There was a time while I was beaten down emotionally and spiritually when the Lord spoke to my spirit to trust him. My reply: but I don’t trust myself! I knew that I was imperfect and would make mistakes.
Then I heard him say, “I never told you to trust yourself, I said to trust ME.” It is hard for those of us who want to have control to let go and allow the Lord to work in our lives and in those around us. But it is necessary to allow him to display his love towards us. So, I chose to take the step to trust God’s love.
It was that same love that David experienced. Though he had made unwise choices at times, his heart was humble, and he was devoted to the Lord. God said about him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22)
It was because of the revelation of God’s love that John could write, “the disciple that Jesus loved” about himself in the Gospel of John. He understood the deep love that the Lord had for him. It allowed him to stand with his Lord at the cross. It allowed him to endure suffering, as well. It also allowed him the honor to receive the visions to write the book of Revelation.
When I say to love yourself, I do not mean it to be a self-centered statement. It means to take genuine care of oneself. It’s concept: “I am worthy.” It gives a person the ability to make wise choices for themselves whether it is mentally, physically or even spiritually. It gives the individual the power to put up boundaries and surround themselves with positive input.
It loves the body you are in. It even makes it easier to consume the proper food, view clean content and make wise friendships and life influences. Believe me, this concept will keep you from much heartache.
Once you can love yourself, it will be easier to love those around you.
HONOR YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER –
Well, that is a nice statement and a great Bible verse. As parents is easy to want to share this one with our kids. But as I was meditating on it, the reality of its power became more evident.
“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise; so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)
If you think about it, respecting authority creates peace. Respect for our elders, teachers, bosses, police officers, judges and our highest office –presidency, begins with honoring our parents. Those you see fighting police officers, destroying property in the name of protest, making rude jesters and comments towards those in authority probably never learned to respect their own parents when they were young. (Of course, perhaps no one took the time to teach them.) Regardless, honor brings peace, peace brings blessings. Blessings create the ability to enjoy your life with longevity.
Though there are many views and suggestions to help raise our children, tweens and teens, these three concepts are some of the tools they will need to face the giants that will try to defeat them. This isn’t just for the young. It’s for all of us.
There is transforming power in God’s love. We can only love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
How can we share his love without the revelation of his love towards us? How we can love others if we do not first love ourselves.? How can we bring peace to our families and our societies if we do not first show them respect?
I pray that the youth today experience a God-encounter inclusive of the powerful revelation of HIS eternal love for them. I pray that they will take that revelation to their peers. I am believing and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform our children, tweens, teens, their parents and grandparents so that our land can rise up with the knowledge of God’s love.
Then we will be unstoppable and can spread his Gospel .