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love first (a teenager offense)

by Shawni

I meant to add this to my post yesterday, but it got too long with too many tangents so here I am with one more thing to say about teenagers today.

I love this painting by Brian Kershisnik called “halo repair” because man alive, as a mother I sure think I need a little repair every single day as I try to figure out teenagers.

I was listening to this “Better than Happy” podcast, Jody Moor’s interview with Kurt Francom a couple weeks ago and it spoke to me (it is HERE If you want to listen, it is SO GOOD)

I think part of why it resonated so much for me was 1) because I was in that “ministering” quandary in preparation for the interview I was getting ready for and it touched beautifully on that. But also, 2) it resonated because lately I’ve been quick to jump on a couple of my kids’ cases, wishing they would do things that I, as their mother, can so clearly should be done, Ha! (especially spiritually lately for some reason). I know I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes isn’t it so easy to think our kids should understand, as a teenager or young adult what it’s taken us a couple decades to learn? I think this came true a little bit for me in thinking about ministering. I mean, why can’t they just see what needs to be done and do it, without my prodding them? Are they listening to the “nudges” to help them along their way? Are they clearing the way for those nudges to even be noticed?

Do we, as mothers, sometimes get so busy trying to train our kids to be kind and to love others that I forget to show love for them. Do they know we love them unconditionally? No matter what they do? Do WE know that God loves US unconditionally, no matter what WE do? The podcast goes into some pretty beautiful thoughts about this…loved the part where it talks about how God is never disappointed in us. Which means he’s not disappointed in our kids either.

I stopped and took notes at some of my favorite spots of the podcast:

  • Ministering doesn’t really happen in church (except the formal part). It is simply all about showing LOVE.
  • We show love through our example. It doesn’t start with preaching about Jesus, it starts with BEING like Jesus.
  • We are called to love far before we are called to judge.
  • In Mosiah 18:9 it says, “Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things” He talked about how that order is beautiful here. We should reach out and love…mourn with those who mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and THEN testify of Christ.

One of the questions in our interview the other day was “How can a parent point their teenager towards Christ?” and my answer is this: we point teenagers to Christ by being like Him in any way we can. It’s not words, it’s actions.

There will always be a time to speak of Jesus. If we are religious, our teenagers pretty much know we love Him. We’re not afraid to belt it out, to testify of it. But do they know, and I’m talking really know, that we love them? And if they do, it’s because we are showing them grace and understanding even when they make dumb mistakes. Because we’re trying to be like Jesus.

Just something I’ve been pondering that I wanted to share, thinking maybe it will help in my own halo repair 😉

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4 comments

Sarah February 19, 2020 - 6:35 am

Thank you for this…as I am entering the whole new world of parenting a teen stage with two of mine right now, I definitely needed to read your words this morning!

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Sarah Tardiff February 19, 2020 - 12:53 pm

LOVE this post! Although I cannot relate to “ministering” to children (I am single, no children), I can relate to “ministering” to the rest of my family who are not members of the Church. I am the ONLY member in my family. I remember watching President Nelson’s Birthday special, and one of his daughters said that she was amazed at how much her parents taught her and her siblings, without actually speaking. It made me realize, that it’s our actions and they way we choose to live our lives that lets others see Christ in us. This has made a world of difference in how I interact with family and friends.

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라이브스코어 February 23, 2020 - 10:38 pm

Couldn’t agree more! Love this!!

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Sarah Sabey February 25, 2020 - 6:21 am

Lovely thoughts. And that painting is amazing. I love the image of trying again (and getting help) to become sanctified. Keep going, momma!

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