Day 27 of Lent – we are talking 16 things I want my 16 year old to know about life and God.
Today is our daughter Z’s 16th birthday. Yes, sweet 16 and like all the parents who have gone before me in raising kids – yes, it does happen way too fast. As Z goes into her sixteenth year of life and her wings start to expand a bit more, there is so much left to teach her. In just a few years, she will fly away – but before she jumps, there are something I want her to know about life and God.
- You Can’t Control Everything
- Prayer Works – Just Not Always In Your Timing
- Grace is a Beautiful Thing
- Love Everyone
- Not All People Are Nice
- It’s Better to Give Than Get
- Questioning God is Normal
- Unconditional Love
- We Are All Sinners
- Trust in God
- Life Does Not Always Go As Planned
- You are Loved
- The World is Not the Bubble We Live In
- Don’t Be Afraid to Change Directions
- Everybody Has a Story
- We Are Always Here
Let’s diving into these 16 things about life and God that I want you to know as you turn 16-years-old.
You Can’t Control Everything
I know, sweet child. You are type-a and I am not, but it’s okay to let things go. One of the things in life that has helped me most is understanding that you can’t control everything. While yes, the majority of life can be scheduled, planned and what have you – there will always still be things that are out of your control. Just roll with it as best as possible.
Prayer Works – Just Not Always In Your Timing
Prayer is our communication to God. It’s how we thank Him and how we give our requests, but know this – don’t always expect your prayers to be answered like you asked them to be and in the time frame you want. God has a special way and it always works out in the end, just typically not how we planned.
Grace is a Beautiful Thing
Grace – give it and accept it.
Love all, even the bad boss, the mean neighbor or the ex-friend who talks crap behind your back. God calls us to love. You are so good at this, but it’s a good reminder.
Not All People Are Nice
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was nice and trust-worthy? Unfortunately, that isn’t the world we live in.
It’s Better to Give Than Get
To give is better than to receive. I know this concept as a 16-year-old is way hard to wrap your head around. Just remember what I told you about your uncle. He is such a giving person and it will always come back to him. Just give without expecting anything in return. Find joy in making others happy. Money is a renewable resource.
Questioning God is Normal
There comes a time when you may scratch your head about the whole God thing.
Is he real? Could that really be true? This is totally normal.
Unconditional love is loving without conditions means that no matter what you do or what you have done, you are loved.
We Are All Sinners
While I’d love to say live a life without sin, the truth of the matter is – Jesus is the only one who never sinned. We are born sinners, but we are also forgiven.
Trust in God
If the last year has taught our family anything, it should be that we can survive by trusting in God. Without trust in God, I honestly don’t know mentally the state our family would be in.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
Life Does Not Always Go As Planned
While I would love to say, this is how your life will go. You will go to college, meet a boy, start a job, marry that boy, buy a house, get a dog, have a baby and so on – that isn’t how life goes. Kind of like the whole you can’t control everything, thing – life just doesn’t always go as planned.
You are Loved
Whenever you feel alone, know that you are loved by your parents and by God.
The World is Not the Bubble We Live In
We live in a town where everyone is well, of a certain demographic. While we adore this town, the lack of diversity is down right sad. The world is so much greater than the bubble that we live in. Not everyone drives nice cars and can afford the things our neighbors have. There are so many different religions and beliefs – both good and bad, that make up this world we live in. Be open minded and accepting, love all – and know that while this is home – this is not the reality of the world at large.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Directions
Shifting can be hard, but can take you places that you never knew possible. Be okay with changing directions in life. Maybe this means becoming a dentist, after all (inside joke.) In all seriousness, follow the winds of life. They will turn you left, they will turn you right – and they will take you to where you need to go, even if its temporary.
Everybody Has a Story
Behind each human being, there is a story that has made them who they are today. Sometimes the story is tragic and this can sway who they are in both good ways in bad. Maybe their story is filled with shame, making them appear anxious and afraid. While you won’t be able to know everyone’s story – do know that everyone has one. That story created who they are, accept and love them for that. And when the time comes that someone does tell you their story, be an ear, an open heart and show that love and grace we talked about earlier.
We Are Always Here
While we may not have all of the money in the world, we do have all the love for you – sweet girl. God gave us you as a gift, and know that we are always here for you.
Happy Birthday, sweet Z! Sweet 16 – may this year be filled wonderfully with all the new things. While this year, you get to spread your wings a little further, it’s not quite time to jump.
We still have a few things to teach you, and we are holding on tightly to the few years we have left with you under our care. But I do know this. When it’s time to jump to fly, baby you will soar. God has big plans for you life. As sad as it makes me that time has passed so quickly, you are a beautiful, witty, personable, brave and smart woman. Happy Birthday!