A two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…
Dear 15-year-old Dani,
You just got back from a mission trip to Mexico, you’re experiencing your first taste of falling into “like” and you are growing up, faster than you know how. Your family is building a house themselves and you are sometimes frustrated by lack of space.
You are tough, determined, and you see things your way. This can be good: you’re not a pushover, you hold to your convictions with an iron grip and you are fearlessly headstrong and loyal. Just don’t forget to give a little.
I know. I KNOW. You feel pushed around and, never one to take an insult lying down, you push back. But the people who love you the most – who will love you unconditionally FOREVER – are not trying to be pushy for pushy’s sake. They’re not trying to control you or hurt you or keep you locked up forever. Yes, we’re talking about mom and dad, and they are trying to protect you.
Grace is something you struggle with, and you always will. But only if you grant it to those you love will you start to experience it yourself.
I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret, from more than a decade later: your parents aren’t perfect. Nobody knows how to have a teenage daughter and you sure didn’t come with manual.
But they LOVE you. They deserve your grace and respect because they aren’t perfect, because they love you and because you can only find grace for yourself when you give it to others.
2 Corinthians 12:9 reads: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
Grace is your weakness, and Christ will only amplify it as you grow in Him. It seems impossible now, but He will use this very thing to give you hope and strength when you need it, when all the bull-headed determination in the world can’t accomplish what a small dose of His Grace can. His power dwells in you!
You already have so many fabulous memories with your mom and dad and so many more to come. Embrace their love and extend grace to them when they need it, and to yourself when you fall. You’ll learn how to wire electrical outlets from Dad, you’ll make home-made chili for the first time with Mom. You’ll laugh together, getting the giggles from Mom’s outrageous stories, and you’ll sit outside with Dad and eat ice cream, resting on a soon-to-be-used lumber pile and learning the tricks of the house-building trade. Don’t lose these moments to frustration. Embrace the joys of an unconventional family life – one built on time together, enduring principles, hard work and Grace.
His Grace, extended to you that you may extend it to others.
Go ahead and grow up – in Grace, in love, and in the knowledge that your mom and dad are, and always will be, your biggest cheerleaders and the foremost purveyors of God’s Grace to you.
Dani Nichols is a writer and editor from the backwoods of Oregon, currently residing by the beach in Southern California with her hot and Godly husband and an assortment of tents, kayaks, snowshoes and at least half the contents of any well-stocked REI. She loves trying new recipes, burning candles, debating politics and chasing food trucks. She also writes about her (mis)adventures at www.wranglerdani.com/blog