Teenagers. Who knew?

When I finished college, I remember telling God that I would teach anywhere – with 2 exceptions: wherever there were preschoolers and wherever there were teenagers. Since I wasn’t married and didn’t have children of my own, I knew I’d never have enough patience for the tiny people – preschoolers. Since I didn’t have children of my own, I knew I’d never have patience for the bigger people – teens. (also, they’re bigger than me). So I spent a few years teaching in middle schools/junior high schools. (ahem. . . they’re bigger than me, too.)

Fast forward a lot of years and all of my best efforts to control the ages of the kid population around me have crumbled. I am now a mother of 5 children, 4 of them teenagers. 4. Yes. Fast forward a lot of years and I realize that all of my dodging the big kids was for naught. Early on, from a distance, before I had a few of my own, I mistakenly decided that teens – at best – had two skills . . . rebellion and attitude. Turns out, they have a few other qualities that are only visible upon closer inspection.

Within the collection of teenagers who live with me everyday, there is no shortage of personalities and gifts. There are leaders, and servants. There are musicians and writers. There are those whose thoughts are known instantly (because they “update” constantly) and there are those whose thoughts run deep – you’ll only know them if you inquire. There are generous givers of money and time. There are a few who “wing it” and never  worry because “God’s got it Mom!” and there is a meticulous planner, born clutching a clip board. There are one or two who could take charge of a gathering at a moment’s notice if called upon. And there is one who would never seek to take charge, but whose words and faith would challenge – but only if you slow down enough to listen. Sometimes there are displays of compassion and maturity among them that surprise me. There are smiling, humming, huggy morning people and there are night owls. There are some who battle perfectionism and some who . . . don’t. Among them there is no shortage of opinions on endless issues. The spectrum can run from constant goofiness and humor to random goofiness and humor. “Bored” is not an adjective I use very often (ever.)

I have learned that God has called each of us to a specific purpose in life. He has gifted every single breathing person with talents and gifts and personality traits that the world needs – desperately. My teenagers, your teenagers,are among those so gifted by God.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech,conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example. . .(1 Timothy 4:12)

I recently heard the next generation described as a generous, non-judgmental, volunteer, merciful generation!” There is a calling upon this next generation that is unlike any before them. I assume this is because . . . “the times, they are a’changing” – spiritually speaking. In my opinion, this next generation may be responsible for ushering in the remainder of the Body of Christ. They are “wired” differently because that is what is required for the task ahead.

I have been watching for some time now. I have heard the prophecies concerning this generation of youth. I have been paying attention to how they act, what they respond to, what and who they respect, what they cling to and what they give away. They are as comfortable talking to a homeless person under a bridge as they are a person of “prominence”. They are content with last minute changes to the plan. They are equipped to lead and content to follow. They are humble enough to be up front and visible, if necessary, and brave enough to labor behind the scenes. God is up to something. I’m just saying . . .

If there are teens in your life and you don’t yet see anything resembling the previous paragraphs, ask God to begin to open your eyes. Maybe they’re distracted. Maybe the enemy knows the call on their life and he is working full time to make sure they never find out about it. Maybe they just don’t know. Maybe you should tell them.


6 Responses to “Teenagers. Who knew?”

  1. Julie, Says:

    I loved your post. I too have a house full of teenagers, 3 to be exact and one waiting in the wings…..thinking she is a teenager. My oldest hit the legal age this year of 21.

    I am so grateful for each one of these blessings and their hearts for God.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    I am choosing to look and call them out into who they are inside…the true identity….

    Thanks for the reminder.


  2. Carole Turner Says:

    I totally agree.

  3. Amy Says:

    good post – we don’t have that many personalities at our house I feel left out

  4. lori@allyouhavetogive Says:

    DARNELLE….I thought the last one was the best….but NOPE, this one was!! I LOVED it! What a great perspective on your own children and this generation following….

    Mine oldest just entered TEENDOM, and you know it’s been great ~ she is one amazing girl…ready to set the world on fire….as soon as she finishes math!:)

    These kids have such resources, such opportunities to connect to a global world….praying that mine will see that and see that God has created each of them with gifts and talents that He’d love to see used for His glory….

    Girl, I’d love to meet YOURS someday….I imagine they are a CHIP off the old block…they’ve got a “pretty cool preachin’ momma!!” 🙂

    LoVE you!

  5. Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife Says:

    I don’t have any teens yet but we have a church full that break my heart. Nothing we can do for them is cool enough. Several are unashamedly sexually active. I feel we are losing them and powerless to do anything about it. Your post gives me hope! 😉

  6. Linda at 2nd cup Says:

    Darnelle, this is excellent, and so encouraging for those of us with teens and those who work with teens, as in youth ministry and teaching. thank you for this word.

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