Teenagers are a unique group of people. They can text 4,000 words a second but can’t speak in complete sentences. They remember 8,000 e-mail addresses but claim memory loss on trash day. They sustain electric energy during all-night social events but become comatose at two-hour family functions.
I have four teenagers. Four teenagers whose hormones regularly enable each to give birth to another person—their evil twin—who shows up when asked to do something . . . such as making eye contact. Sometimes I refer to each of my teenagers as “Thing One” and “Thing Two,” in reference to Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. If we count the “evil twins,” our home includes a total of eight teenagers. And my son Jon, according to his neurologist, counts as eight teenagers all on his own. So, by my calculations, we have the equivalent of 18 people, two big dogs, and a bird fluttering at any given moment through our home.
All kidding aside, my teenagers are incredibly resilient, courageous, and accepting of life on life’s terms. They live with pain, persevere through grief, treasure their disabled sibling Jon, and share their souls with me. My teenagers teach me a lot through their example, actually. They help me see how I relate to God sometimes. And God’s example stirs gratefulness in me and teaches me how I should respond to my teenagers.
God accepts me when I am acting like “Thing One” and “Thing Two.” He doesn’t seem bothered when I forget His faithful mercy. He is ever-alert and ever-present when I fall asleep in our shared time. He hears all my pleas and petitions, worries, whispers, and woes, despite my deafness to His command that I surrender to His will. And finally, He has pardoned my sins and forgiven my debts. When this life is over, He will completely take away the diseases in my soul and will welcome me into His eternal kingdom.
I am so thankful for all that He teaches me, especially for what He teaches me through my teenagers.
Colleen Swindoll Thompson holds a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from Trinity International University as well as minors in psychology and education. Colleen serves as the director of Reframing Ministries at Insight for Living Ministries. From the personal challenges of raising a child with disabilities (her son Jonathan), Colleen offers help, hope, and a good dose of humor through speaking, writing, and counseling those affected by disability. Colleen and her husband, Toban, have five children and reside in Frisco, Texas.
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