(one family’s experience at Reigning Grace Counseling Center)
I came home from an errand one recent afternoon to the smell of sugar cookies and the sweet laughter of my two daughters. My angelic sweethearts were rolling out dough and pressing cookie cutters contentedly. Upon entering the kitchen, I was greeted with pleadings for me to make buttercream frosting. With such a ruckus in progress, I could hardly refuse. It was a wonderful moment. Happiness wafting through the air like vanilla extract. I breathed it in and savored it.
Our days have not always been like this, and, truth be told, are not always like this. This day, in fact, it didn’t take long for one to offend the other, and soon, they had separated. The frosting made was not perfect, or even satisfactory, so that was met with some outlandish outrage. The cookies themselves were frequently a touch too brown, and no one wanted to finish. Without real warning, my kitchen was empty, but for the dishes and the sugar strewn across the countertops.
My first response was to lament and be annoyed. Where was the Pinterest ending, the “happily-ever-after” moment? These days, however, I am pretty quickly drawn back to gratitude. As I said, our days have not always been like this.
From the Ash Heap
Several years ago, I would not have believed the picture I see in my home today. The desperate prayer of my heart then, was for God to protect one of my daughters who was living a self-destructive life, far, far from God. There were countless, sleepless nights—for each of us. We were raw and weary. During that dark time, God brought us many allies, many brothers and sisters in Christ, for whom we remain ever thankful. Prayer warriors and encouragers surrounded us, though, many, I’m sure, had little idea of our struggles.
Significant among them was Reigning Grace Counseling Center. As parents new, completely new, to teenagers, it did not take us long to see that we were ill-equipped to navigate our struggles through the lens of Scripture on our own. We required “wise guidance” to “wage war,” as Proverbs 24:6 indicates.
“for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
I have always prayed that my daughters would be “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1), knowing my husband and I would stumble and fall along this narrow way (Proverbs 24:16). One of God’s many answers to our pleadings during that time came through RGCC where we were time and again pointed to Christ and His all-sufficient Word. It was at Reigning Grace that my daughter found a sounding board, which eventually led to an eternal bond with the God of the universe. And, here, at RGCC, we have bonded with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ, who still pour into our lives wholeheartedly.
We have been fortunate. Many people have poured into us in ways, looking back, I never would have imagined possible. God has been good, so very good. My family has truly been favored by God through His church—and through His people.
This buried treasure we found in the midst of our trials is one I hope you will not hesitate to uncover as well, in the midst of trial or even when you simply don’t know where to go for answers. Perhaps you have struggles too. Dear friend, God’s Word is all-sufficient for you all the time. Sometimes, though, our struggles are so painful, it’s hard to know where to start that search for comfort, for direction, or for wisdom.
That’s one of the ways Reigning Grace helped our family—to see the “how” embedded in Scripture. Reigning Grace thrives on seeing lives changed through heart change, so it’s not a superficial remedy. These are real people who have walked through the fire not only in their own lives but with each discipleship relationship that is fostered. Their guidance is marked by study and reflection in God’s word.
Perfect? Not yet!
No, our lives are not perfect yet. I don’t want to give you a false impression! The sanctification process is often slow-moving or at a standstill. My family is far from cookie cutter. We fight, we fail, we sin. But our imperfections have a way of sending us careening to the One who is perfect, the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. What a great comfort it is to know we are not alone! God is with us and His amazing provision is seen through His people. I pray that you will know that God, who walks with us every step of the way.
Do you or someone you know need help understanding how to parent a teen from a biblical perspective? Reigning Grace can help! Contact us at (816) 694-1677 or visit our website for more information on how we can help you, https://www.rgcconline.org/counseling.html.