Saving Face or Amazing Grace?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Corinthians 12:9)

Parenting teenagers is hard enough but when they rebel? Emotions can run high, unkind words are spoken and hurt can happen…on both sides. This is where I found myself a few months ago.

I walked in my daughter’s bedroom and looked around. The bed was unmade. Dirty clothes poured out of the closet and onto her floor. School work was strewn here and there. Wrinkled work clothes were wadded up in the corner.

I could feel the tears begin to sting. How did we get here? What happened to us? Flashes of the past few weeks were vivid in my mind’s eye. The refusal to listen to boundaries set in place. The arguments. The ugliness. The fear of her running away to be with someone who was not good for her. I was sad and mad, hurt and frustrated. Something had to give. And soon.

So I knelt down by her bed once again and prayed for my subversive child but this time was different. Instead of, Lord change her. I prayed, Lord change me. My heart is too hurt and my mind is too mad. Show me how to love her like you would love her. I dried my tears, got up off my knees and as I was turning to leave that still small voice whispered…

Clean up her room.


Clean up her room.

But Lord, you know what these past few weeks have been like. She doesn’t deserve it!

Maybe, but neither did you.

You see extending grace only to those who deserve it isn’t grace at all. The very definition of grace is mercy, unmerited favor or goodwill. Unearned. Undeserved.

I had a choice to make that day. I could stubbornly hold on to my hurt and anger and save face. Or I could trust this was the answer to my prayer and show my rebellious teenage daughter about amazing grace.

So I got busy. I washed her bedding and even sprayed it with her favorite linens spray. I washed, dried, folded and put away her clothes. I picked up, dusted and vacuumed her room. I left a note for her on her pillowcase telling her how much I loved her and that we WOULD get through this rough time.

She got home that night from work and went straight upstairs to her room with nary a word to me. It didn’t take long for her to come back down the stairs, note in hand.

Why’d you do that?

Because I love you. Because I wanted to show you, not just tell you about grace.

It has been different since that day. Perfect? Heaven’s no! She’s still a teenager trying to figure things out. I’m still an imperfect parent trying to maneuver these rough waters without drowning either of us.

But we both learned:

Grace in the messy is when it’s most amazing.


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