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March 4, 2015 |  In this issue: What pinball taught me about parenting    View this email in your browser
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR SURE TODAY
LOVE BOLDLY  |  BE IN AWE

Divine anticipation from the 4 Acts of Love
Be in awe... God is actively involved in your life, all the time, helping you live and thrive above the places you fear.

Consider a pinball machine as a metaphor for parenting.

It’s chaotic and noisy, and between the bumpers, flippers, and chutes, we're continually trying to push things upward while scoring as many points as possible. It seems pretty straightforward until the ball zings off in the wrong direction and we’re frantically pressing every button trying to regain control.

But we don’t win by pounding the machine or tilting it with reckless power. We win by patiently anticipating the direction of the ball and consistently keeping it in play.

And sometimes when we mess up, we just have to start the game over again.

Perhaps what God wants us to do as parents of teenagers is to stay patient and consistent with our love and presence—not react in panic, retreat in fear, stress over our loss of control, or frantically wonder what more we could or should do.      

We know that’s easier said than done. (seriously, we really do.)

But God models this for us by not necessarily revealing a powerful breakthrough each day, but by always loving us and being with us each day.
LOVE BOLDLY  |  3 Parenting Tips Inspired by Pinball  
  • Establish bumpers: Proverbs 16:3 says to commit everything you do to the Lord and he shall establish your plans. This means that no matter what we intend to do, God gets the final say in how it plays out. It's a great template for parenting; teens need to understand that they can't get everything they want in the way they want it. Establish "bumpers" by defining clear rules and expectations, and have frequent conversations with your kids about responsibilities, boundaries, and consequences. (Also, don’t be afraid to enforce consequences.)
  • Use flippers: Instead of wanting to control everything as their parent, look for ways that boost your teen’s confidence by helping them own their voice and decisions. For example, if your teen has a request that doesn’t require an obvious parental “no,” invite them to offer an informal presentation for why it should happen. Evaluate the pros and cons together—ask for time to pray about it—and come to a mutual, respectful decision. 
  • Reclaim lost balls: Every parent dreads seeing their kids suffer a loss or heartbreak. In John 16:33, Jesus reminds us that we will face trials in this world, but to have peace in him. So instead of desperately trying to protect your son or daughter from experiencing disappointment, walk with them through tough moments and be fully present alongside them. Point them to Scripture, pray with them, and pray for them. You're not just preparing your kid for the world, you’re raising a future adult who has to learn how to experience failure and lean on God through it.
REAL STORIES | Expert in a Year
Sam Priestley was never really a great ping pong player. That is, until the day he resolved to play a few matches every day for a whole year. As a way to tell his story of facing down his awkwardness, he assembled a video of his progress that shows his slow improvements over time.  [watch it]
  • Family Activity and Application: Watch this video with your teen and talk about something in his or her life that seems overwhelming and intimidating. Reveal something similar from your own life, and then walk through what it might mean to face each of these things down over time with the wisdom of God. Mentally pretend what the future "one-year" video of each of these might look like, perhaps even resolving to film a daily journal of you both taking steps in these areas.
REAL HELP | 99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers
If you’re the parent of a teenager, you probably appreciate all the help you can get. In this simple book, you’ll learn dynamic truths such as: How do you help your children make wise choices? How do you invest your time and energy in ways that make an eternal difference in your children’s lives?

On sale this week $5.39 [Shop now]
A BLESSING FOR YOU THIS WEEK
May you experience the sweetness
of hearing Jesus' name,
knowing that "God with us" means
our pain can be soothed,
our wounds can be healed,
and our fear can be gone.
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