Dreaded Teenage Rebellion

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Teens. Teens. Teens.
With all girls, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I feel sorry for you. Just you wait until the dreaded teenage years.”

I always respond under my breath, “I rebuke that in Jesus’ name.”

I seriously never believed I would go through some of this teenage junk. 
I know. I know what you are thinking. 
 
Are you stupid? 
Hello, naive mother, every teen talks back and rebels. 
Thanks for that. 🙂
No, I am not stupid. I just refuse to believe that every teen has to go through it. I believe there is a better way, and I am trying to learn it.
 
Key word: TRYING! 
This is how it went in one instance (and most every other day in the sweet year of 2014).
Me: 

“Did you go through the blah blah blah [you know that’s what she heard] like I asked you to?”

She: 

“No.”

She continues doing the same thing. 
No movement toward the thing she was asked to do. 
Music volume increases.



My head voice:

Really?

Big eyes.
Foot tapping.

Hello! Wake up! See the body language?

Me:

“Ahem.”

 Crickets.

 
Mom’s plotting thoughts:

Hmmm … what’s the consequence for this delayed obedience?
No more iPod for the next 10 years! 
I guess that’s not a natural consequence. Get real. 
You can do this, mom!
Well, that’s it. I’m going to have to swat her.

Okay, deep breath …

Wait, I know! I will pray.
I have not because I ask not, right?

Father, whhyyyy [whiny voice]? What is wrong with her? 
How do I get back to her heart?

Sigh. This isn’t helping. The music is too loud to pray. 
Why is she ignoring me and my request?
 


Don’t forget to breathe out, Sheri. 
 
Okay … 

 just walk away. 
 


Oh nelly, the music stopped. 


 
What does this mean?


 
Oh, wait … wait! 

Hallelujah! She’s back. 

Whew. 
 
She:
“Oh hey, 

Mom, I was just taking a short break because I completed three math lessons. That was exhausting.”
 

 

 

Humiliated Mom:
Really?
“Oh, great! Good job. I knew you were a wise time manager.”
What is wrong with me? Shut it.
Help! I am an idiot.
Have you ever been an idiot like me?
Maybe the dreaded teen years aren’t all the teenager’s fault. Maybe it’s partially our fault (along with uncontrollable hormones, appetites, and growing pains) 
for not transitioning our role from commander to coach.
Parents need to transition gradually from controlling our children (“You’d better or else!”) and requiring immediate obedience to waiting on the teen’s will to catch up to our request. We have to let go a little at a time, or we will find ourselves quickly losing ground and all of the influence we have with them. That’s when it’s just too late. 
I am in the influence stage.
All I have now is influence.

Every day that I choose to voice my frustrated words or body language is a day that reduces my influence.
  





Oh Father, teach me to remain silent. 
Help me to understand that I am not her army commander any longer. I have the privilege of coaching, mentoring, and influencing. Help me to embrace this incredible new season.
In love,
Sheri
P.S. I wrote this in the middle of this battle yesterday.
P.P.S. I am still growing and learning. You too?

Jesus’ Name and the Authority to Use It

In 2003, I didn’t have a clue that Jesus’ name was literally above every other name that could be named on earth. I had no clue that it was a name that had power in it or that it was for my use in my life to speak over mountains so they would be cast into the sea. I had no idea that I could use it in my family’s life while praying over them or for them. I had no idea I could share it with strangers at the grocery store and see them be healed.

In 2003, I was blind. I knew there was a God who loved me, but I wasn’t convinced that He was for me. I had no idea that He had left me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

From August of 2003 until about November of 2005, I dug into the word of God daily, searching and striving, hungrily devouring every page and every word. I would be in awe of who God is, who Jesus is. Hebrews says that Jesus is the exact representation of God.

I had an idea of who God was from the Old Testament and what I had been told by my church. I had an idea of who God was. I thought He was a God who was on a throne, dictating and controlling. He was kind of our puppeteer, if you will. Yet how could He be controlling a stepdad who was abusing his daughter? How could He be controlling my behavior? How could He be willing to put me through all of that? I’ll tell you how. He wasn’t. He was not. 

He is a God who is sitting on a throne and sent His Son, who loves me so much, to bail me out. He sent His Son through every temptation that I would ever walk through. He left His Son on the cross to die. When Jesus ascended to be with God, He sent His Holy Spirit to come and live inside of me. He sent a piece of Himself to live with me, inside of me. It is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance. Once He puts it in, He is not taking it back until He returns. It’s fully mine. I have full ownership of it. It’s part of who I am. I am in Him, and He is in me. 

When you look at the attributes of what comes with the Holy Spirit, you see power. It is delegated power from God. It is like the alien mother ship sent me down as an alien, part of His kingdom, to take back this world. Hello? Yes. 

He didn’t do it so I could spend every single day suffering and worrying about myself and taking care of myself. He gave me the same power that raised Christ from the dead and the name of Jesus Christ, which is a name above every other name, and the authority to use that name so that I could live life to the full and share it with others. How do people know we are His disciples? They know by our love. Amazing! Oh my goodness. I had no idea. 

I was not taught in church that Jesus’ name was above every other name and God had given me the authority to use it. It’s not my name. It’s the name of Jesus. It’s what He did for us. It’s the finished work He already completed. I have it. I have the opportunity to exercise it. I can have a trial come into my face—a sickness, a doctor’s report, bills, strife, teenage rebellion—but it cannot contain me. It cannot take me.

If I pull out the weapon of Jesus, whose name is above every other name, the giant must fall. The mountain will be reduced to dust because it is just a molehill under the name of Jesus Christ. I have the power to use that. It’s true that I have the power to complain. I have the power to agree with all the turmoil and all the trials that come in my direction. I also have the power to choose to stand in the name of Jesus Christ, in His name and His authority and His finished work.

I once was blind, but now I see. Scripture says that it’s for lack of knowledge that we perish. I once didn’t know, but now I do know. I have the knowledge. I have the relational knowledge of knowing God intimately and deeply. I know that I have access to the name of Jesus Christ, a name above every other name. 


Temple Fitness: Food Lust

Lust is a desire of the flesh. The flesh continues to press on to want and crave more and more. Its thought process is not being taken captive. But the Bible says to take every thought captive, not just some thoughts: “… take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). If you are constantly thinking about food—“What am I going to fix for dinner?” “How am I going to flavor that better?” “Maybe I should get this”—you become an idolater in the grocery store, idolizing everything that makes your mouth water. 

The lust we have for food in our society is no different from the lust people have to satisfy sexual desires. It is something pushing us into sin, gluttony, and consumption. We put other things above our God. Anything we put above God is an idol. 

If we place a high importance on food preparation and the cravings of our flesh and we are constantly trying to please our taste buds, it’s food lust. Regardless of whether you are going after a cookie, a cake, a flavored hamburger, or a turkey burger—anything that requires our mind’s conception is an idol. What are we supposed to do? We are supposed to keep our minds on God. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (ESV). This is the truth. God keeps our mind in perfect peace because it stays on Him. When you are not in perfect peace, it is because your mind is on something else.

A lot of times, with the way we have created food for pleasure, it’s easy to dive in and find something that is always pleasing in every meal. I think this is what makes us fat. It’s like, “Oh, I love cheese. Cheese makes it better.” Sometimes we need to shut down our taste buds so we can get back to enjoying raw food as Jesus did. When He walked, He simply pulled a fig off a tree and ate it. He didn’t pit it, blend it, and mix it in cookie dough to make it a pleasurable cookie. He ate the fig, and it was pleasing. It was fuel. It was good because He ate food in its raw form.

Food lust is a real struggle. It’s a sin in our society that has us spending millions of dollars for food every year. It has us exchanging recipes and buying recipe books to make all the raw resources in a new way so it will taste better. 

Quake Awake

I remember hearing about earthquakes in California when I was a young girl. I made a promise I would never live in California. We lived in Oklahoma, where we had horrible weather anyway. We have tornadoes, floods—it’s crazy. One season to the next, you can’t tell what time of year you’re in. One day it could be ice and the next day tornadoes in the middle of December.

However, in the last five years, earthquakes have been on the rise in Oklahoma because of fracking, dumping, and disposing water from oil wells into our earth. It is ridiculous. It was as if California came to Oklahoma. In many cases, Oklahoma earthquakes are actually more frequent and stronger than the ones in California.
I hate it. Why do I hate it so much? It’s because the earth is so big. We are so miniscule. We are the size of a speck in comparison. When the earth shakes, it trembles. It’s scary. Fear rises up in you. It is unbelievable what it feels like for the ground to rattle beneath you and shake your home. You don’t know when it is coming. There is no warning; there is no indication. It’s just—boom. There it is. It shows up and throws you out of bed in the middle of the night. Truly, we have no control, and it’s shocking what our response can be.
As people, we like to think we have control over things. We have control over ourselves, our family, maybe our children, maybe our husband, or maybe a friend—people who listen to us. As students, we have control over our homework. We have control over so much—what we do, what we say. But we have no control when the earth shakes beneath our feet.
We have to trust in the God who is in charge. We have to seek Him out. We have to use the authority He has given us in the name of Jesus to tame this earth and bring it into our control. We have to learn our authority in this life so the temporal of this earth will submit to the eternal.
In Jesus’ name, I pray today your eyes would be open, your ears would hear, and you would step into that authority.

Is God in Control?

I hear Christians say, “God is in control,” all the time. Generally, when I hear people say that, it is when they are freaking out. “God is in control. God is in control. I trust Him. He is in control.” I wonder if they truly believe this or if they are just saying it, trying to convince themselves of it.

I have been thinking about this line, “God is in control.” If God is in complete control, then how can we limit Him? Matthew Henry’s commentary regarding Psalm 78:41, about how God’s people limited God, explains, “They limited him by their ways and their timing.” They limited God because they had forgotten how powerful and miraculous and kind and awesome God is. Have you forgotten? Do you focus on the negativity and the things you lack rather than the God who provides plentifully? Maybe you are limiting God. If you are limiting Him, He is not in control of you.
If God is in control, why is He working things out for your good? If He is in control, why does He have to work everything that happens out for good? Working it out means He is fixing something you messed up or that went the wrong way or got redirected or delayed. Maybe something was delayed because you were limiting God and He was working it out for your good. Is God in control of that? Or is He in charge of that? If God is in control, why does His power only work in accordance “with his power at work in me” as Ephesians 3:20 says?
Have you met people in whom the power of God is more powerful than in someone else? It may be because of their faith or because of the Word in them. Maybe they have experienced God so far that His power operates more fully in them than in others. Have you seen this before? It’s not because they have more faith. It’s because they lean in, so their faith is more effectual. They trust God. They have kept the Word before their eyes.
Faith is made more effectual by hearing the Word of God. If I hear the Word of God more than you do, then I have the opportunity to make a difference in how much God’s power works in me. My decision to spend time in His Word—is God in control of that? Or am I in control of that? Is God in charge of me? If God is in control, why must I choose life? Why does Deuteronomy 30:19 say, “Today you have before you life and death, blessings and curses. Today choose life”? If God is in control, why is God not choosing life for me? Why do I have a choice?
I want to pose that question to you. Is God in control, or is God in charge? Maybe our terminology, somewhere along the way, became a little bit skewed based on something someone taught us or something they heard that didn’t actually come from the Word of God.
God is in control when we surrender and we pray every moment and every minute of the day. Are you in constant communion with God? I know I’m not. If God is in control, are we puppets tied to a string, doing what He says to do at every move because He is our master? Or is He in control only when we surrender our ways, our timing, our thinking, and our plans to His? Have you ever fully surrendered all of that to Him, or do you hold on to your own understanding and lean in on what you know and understand? Are we mere robots in this world, or do we have free will? Is God forceful, or does He allow us to make the decision to surrender to Him or not?
Why doesn’t God force His love on us? Why doesn’t He force us to accept Him? Have you ever had someone reject the gift you have given them or return it to the store? You’d think, “I worked hard to pick it out, and they don’t even like it.” Imagine how God feels. He has given you the greatest gift! Have you fully accepted it? Do you have a choice? Does He force you to? If God were in complete control, then every man would come to repentance because such is His heart. But does every man come to repentance? God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, so if He is in control, then why is there so much evil in this world?
I propose to you that God is in charge. He is in control when we surrender and give it up and stay in communion with Him, when He is the one guiding us and we allow Him to direct every move of every day. I don’t know one single person like that. Maybe you are. I am not. I have my agenda. I have my plan. I stay in communion with God, but I definitely lean on my own understanding and my own way sometimes.
I know many of you are struggling right now and you desperately want to cling to the Father and trust Him. You want to cling to His promises, and you are saying, “God is in control. He has got this. God is in control.” You are trying so hard to believe and trust Him. I want you to know it’s easier than you’re making it. It is not a hard work because the answer to all of God’s promises is yes and amen. His yes does not mean maybe. His yes does not mean no. His yes does not mean later. His yes means yes. Amen means the end. The final answer is yes.
Yes is the answer to His promises. You can cling to the truth of this. You don’t have to say, “God is in control.” You can say, “God is faithful to keep His promise, and I am standing on the Word of God, and this will come to pass.” I can say this with full assurance because God’s Word never changes. He never changes His mind. What He does for one man He will do for another because He is no respecter of persons.
I speak this over your life today in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.