Editor’s Note: On the weekends during the month of September, we’ll be featuring excerpts from Barbara Canale’s new daily devotional for parents of teens, Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer. In the introduction, the author describes this books as “a vitamin to boost the soul.” Enjoy these reflections on how parents of teens can survive–and thrive–during those turbulent years, by turning to God in the troubled and joyful times. –Barb
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ (Ephesians 4:31–32).
Whenever I feel angry, I take a walk. I begin with fast strides, having considerable energy to burn, but then I slow down as I listen to the birds singing in the trees. Sometimes I get lost looking at nature, the beauty of the changing foliage, the way the leaves rustle as a gentle breeze blows through them. Then I thank God for allowing me to step away and enjoy all he created. Before I know it, my anger has dissipated and I can think logically about what upset me.
Sometimes I am unable to solve my dilemmas, but I trust in God’s plan. I give my problems to God and continue living. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But it isn’t easy to do when you feel your blood boiling and you want to wring someone’s neck. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but Christ wants us to be compassionate and loving creatures. It’s a choice: Hold on to anger or let it go. Holding on to rage gnaws at you, creating bitterness and resentment. It prevents you from learning, growing, and moving forward. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you weren’t hurt but that you care more about your relationship than “getting even” or being vindicated.
Has your teenager hurt you recently? What have you done about it?
Let go of your teen’s problems without letting go of the kid. You can never stop loving your teen, no matter how deep the pain is.
The willingness to accept an offense and move on is liberating. Forgiveness keeps disappointments from clouding our view of life. It allows us to see someone’s faults and help. It also warns us to avoid similar situations in the future. Forgiveness draws us closer to God because when we forgive we are living the life he intended for us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Touch my aching heart with your mercy and love. Fill me up with goodness so I can be more forgiving to (name). Let me rise above it, learn, and grow in the joy you put into my world. I love you. Amen.
From Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer: Daily Devotions for Parents of Teenagers. Copyright Liguori Publications, 2015. Used with permission. Available at Liguori.org
About the author:
Barbara Canale’s writing career began after she adopted her two daughters, now young adults, from Romania. She writes for the Catholic Sun in Syracuse, NY and has contributed to eleven Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotional books include the latest Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer (2015) for parents of teenagers, the award-winning Prayers, Papers, and Play (2013) for college students, and To Have and to Hold (2014) for married couples.