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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Part 5: We Need to Start Over, The Last Step

Franklin Graham, the son of internationally famous Billy Graham, was running away from being a Graham. He spent time doing all the things that he had been told not to do. Until at 22 years of age, he broke down. While reading the Gospel of John in a hotel in Jerusalem, he confessed his sin and embraced the Savior that he had resisted for so long.

As parents, we long for the best for our children. But, often we feel powerless to make it happen. When we try too hard, we often make things worse through manipulation or emotional enmeshment.

The reality is that our children have just as much right to choose their own path as we do to choose ours. They have been given the ability to choose.
God gave them that ability.
If we try to override their choices, we are fighting against our children.
And we are fighting against God.

Not a fight worth fighting.
Not a fight we can win.

But, there is hope. If you have tracking through these steps and chosen to repent, rethink, and redo, then the final two steps come together. First we respond to our child and then we restart the relationship.


The time may come to respond. See what signs your child is giving you. Wait for something positive, anything positive. Any sign that they haven’t completely given up on their relationship with you. Pour God’s grace into that situation or comment.

Be honest and open, trusting God to protect your heart.
Be patient and kind.
Be long suffering.
Love your child.
Be courageous and be extravagant!

As they continue to respond positively to your love and grace, pour out more love and more grace.

Be extravagant in expressing your love. Don’t hold anything back. Be completely honest about how much you love your child. Tell them that your love has no bounds.

Read and study the parables of the Lost Son, the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep from Luke 15.

Picture your child as the one you have lost.
You cannot rescue them from the consequences of their choices, but as soon as they are ready to return and face those consequences, be ready to open your heart to them again.

Picture yourself celebrating when the lost one is found. Tell them how much restoring your relationship would mean to you.

CAUTION: Don’t respond too early. First, if you respond to their negativity, you may push them further away. Second, if you speak about extravagant love before you repent and have a plan, it will sound like empty words coming from the latest book you’ve read.

"There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes - seize it, don't miss it.” ~Max Lucado[1]


If and when your teen begins to desire a relationship with you that is built on mutual love and respect, it is time to restart. When it is time, I believe that you will know it.

WARNING: I also strongly believe that until that time, you will always wonder and hope that the time has come for this step. Remain. Restarting must be the last step, because it is necessarily the first step of a new era in your relationship.

A restart is when the cocoon that your child has hidden in breaks open and a butterfly is released. It is when the old relationship dies, like a seed planted in the ground, and a new relationship emerges, full of life and hope.

This comes after your child accepts your apology and offers you forgiveness. It comes after your child acknowledges their own sin and asks for your forgiveness. If this concept is new to them, it may not be as simple and direct as that sentence makes it appear. Know your child, listen to their change of tone, watch their body language and observe what changes they have made.

They may need your help and patience. They may even need you to verbalize what they are thinking. They may not have the vocabulary to ask for forgiveness. You may need to take the first step for them. They may come in and interrupt you, but not know what to say. Don’t jump the gun, don’t interrupt their thoughts, but be sensitive to the Spirit of God.

You may have to ask, “Are you feeling sad?” If yes, “Are you feeling lots of confusing emotions?” Draw them out. Try to get them to say what they can. And, if the time is right, say, “I want you to know that I forgive you. I am not sure if you are feeling this way because you feel bad about things that you have said and done to me in the past. But, I want you to know that I forgive you for all of it, for everything. I won’t let any of that come between us. And, I really hope that you won’t either.” If your child seems responsive to this. Ask if they have asked God for forgiveness yet. Then, ask if you can pray with them. Lead them. Teach them by example.

Discernment is key. Remain ... until the opportunity to restart arises. If you try to respond and restart too early, you could derail whatever progress has been made. God is at work in your child’s life, partner with Him and wait.

Please comment if this series has been helpful to you. The more specific you can be, the more helpful your post can be to others who are looking for encouragement on the journey.

Please repost these if you think someone would benefit from them

[1] Max Lucado. And The Angels Were Silent. (Nashville: Multnomah Books, 1995), 183.

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