Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
Watching our children wade through the murky waters of teens is difficult. They are not perfect, nor am I. They are searching for purpose, direction, and identity in a sea of peers, expectations, new experiences, youthful desires. Their thinking is not always logical. Their decisions are impulsive. Their emotions run ahead of them.
What do I do when what initially appeared to be a childish decision has become a consistent part of their character? Am I to blame for not being persistent or jumping on it sooner? Could I have pursued another route or have I failed to see the heart of the problem too late?
If they were a toddler, the answer seems obvious. Immediate consequences. Restoration. Try again. With some young children the lesson is quickly learned. With others the reinforcement day after day is required, but with consistency and unconditional love it is received in time.
I am not willing to let our teenagers raise themselves. The world would be more than willing to scoop them up and carry them along. But I will face the conflict and the hurtful looks if that is what it takes. I will be the bearer of unwanted discipline and wipe away the tears if that is what is required. I will stay up all night and pray and repent of my own sin as it glares back at me. I will trust and stand of God's promises of fruitfulness, peace and life for those who follow Him.
Christ did not leave me in my sin to please myself. He reached down. Called me. Saved me from myself. Walks with me through this life. Molds me. Shapes me. Disciplines me as only a Loving Father can. Restores. Redeems. Rejoices over me.
That's tough love. That's what I'm living.