Teaching a Full-Grown Child to Love the Lord

full-grown child

Doesn’t your heart hurt when your beloved, full-gown child makes foolish choices?

If your full-grown child lives at home, you have leverage. Define expectations. Let her experience consequences to foolish decisions. In other words, don’t pay her speeding ticket!

But what about foolish young adults who get arrested, drop out of college, cannot hold on to a job, or who tell you Jesus is “a joke”? How do you teach these young adults to love the Lord?

In this article, you discover:

  • the best way to teach your full-grown child
  • handling your own emotions when he or she make a foolish choice

This article is the third in a four-part series on teaching your children. The first one focused on younger kids, the second looked at teens, and the last one on you, the parent. If you’re married, why not share these articles with your husband?

The goal: to encourage and equip you

with help and hope for your heart!

Loving a Wayward Full-Grown Child

My friend’s son flunked out of high school. She wondered, “What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t he just show up to school and pay attention?” Later he took the GED, passed, and now has a job — not a great job, but a job.

Her tears dried. She smiled again.

I recommend you take a cue from my friend: pray, speak of God’s wonderful plans, and encourage him to seek God’s will. This is how she taught him to love the Lord. 

PRAYER: She had prayed for that boy all the days of his life. Her prayers multiplied when he had school trouble and hung out with a rough group.

She had tried the usual punishments to effect godly change in her child. They didn’t work. She also tried positive incentives. Still, nothing. She reminded her full-grown child regularly that she prayed for him and loved him unconditionally.

Another way she taught him was through patience! Did you know that young people’s brains are not fully developed until 25 years old? Does this encourage you? It encouraged my friend.

WONDERFUL PLANS. God says the plans he has for his children are “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Hold on to this truth and share it with your grown-up child, especially when stuggling.

Also, Paul says in Ephesians 2:10,

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

BIBLE INSTRUCTION. Sometimes young adults and their parents struggle with knowing God’s will for their them. This may create anxiety. Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t keep his will top secret?

He spells out his will in many scriptures. Here are three.

  • “For this is the will of God: your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
  • “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  • “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15).

Where God doesn’t clarify his will, he gives wisdom to you and your full-grown child wisdom. Pray for wisdom and follow his lead.

Handling Your Own Emotions

No mom wishes that her full-grown child does drugs, loses their job, gets divorced, or lives in their parents’ basement year after year.

Do any of these sketches of real people resonnate with you?

Andrea disagrees with her daughter’s lesbian lifestyle.

Carol feels sad that her son committed adultery.

Jana is confused that her college-educated son quit his job, moved across the country, and is living on government handouts.

So how do you handle your own fear, anger, and disappointment?

  1. Ask God to make his glory the deepest desire of your heart.
  2. Speak the truth in love to the one who hurt you.
  3. Provide counsel when your grown-up child is making foolish choices.
  4. Trust the Lord.


What’s a mom to do? How does she handle her pain when a full-grown child chooses a disastrous path? You must trust the Lord with your child and leave them in His hands.

This is easy to say and hard to do. Remember that God’s plan for your full-grown child is better than your plan. Find comfort in this. Desire God’s way above all.

My Offer to You

Is your adult child giving you grief? Do you want help in how to handle the situation and find contentment? Please contact me and we can talk by Skype or in person (greater Chicago). I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. Just ask.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,




Teaching Your Teen to Love God


Teaching your teen to love God is among your most important jobs, isn’t it? And it’s tough. It can also be gratifying and wonderful and amazing!

Before long, your teen or preteen will graduate high school and be at college or in the workforce or Armed Forces. But maybe he’ll waste hour after hour playing Special Ops and trashing your basement.

Be encouraged, Christian mom, the Lord has equipped you to teach your teen well. He has given you the Bible, a “handbook” to solving life’s problems (2 Peter 1:7). He is with you, guiding you. He loves you and your teen. God never lets go.

This article is the second in a four-part series on teaching your children. The first one focused on younger kids, the next one looks at young adults, and the last one on you, the parent. If you’re married, why not share these articles with your husband?

The goal: to encourage and equip you

with help and hope for your heart!

3 Quick Helps for Moms

  1. Agree with the truth God requires you to obey and apply it. “Bring (your children) up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4, ESV

2. See the teenage years as a time of opportunity.

3. Be wise not naive. “So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

From ‘Perfect Family’ to Rebellion!

Jim Newheiser, a pastor and executive director at The Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship, shares a story of his eldest son. Barely 18, he told his parents on home visit that he no longer believes in God and was dating a Buddhist girl.

Then the youngest brother, age 13, rebelled too. He informed his parent he no longer wanted to be homeschooled. He desired to attend public school and be “normal.” Can you imagine the parents’ shock?

Has your teen or preteen shocked you too? Do her friends seem sketchy? Does he say “whatever” when you mention Jesus? Has she become a proclaimed atheist or a well-behaved “Pharisee” whose heart is far from God?

In When Good Kids Make Bad Choices, Newheiser reveals,

“We wondered if our sons’ rebellion was our fault. Did our kids turn away from the Lord because we failed to live for the Lord as we should? . . .Can we hope our rebellious children will eventually come back to the truth when they are older?”

Among the statements I’ve heard in my counseling office:

  • My daughter used to be such a good kid.
  • I’ve tried everything. I don’t know what else to do.
  • Do you think God is punishing me?

Not Just Hormones

Sure, hormones are raging, but something deeper is going on in the heart of a rebellious teen:

failure to fear the Lord.

The teen is choosing his way over God’s will. You’ve heard the familiar Bible verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from up” (Proverbs 22:6). Doesn’t this sound like a promise? That good parenting guarantees good kids? And that teens who stray from the Lord will return to Christ?

But the truth is, proverbs are maxims that describe how God has made the world to work, generally speaking. The authors of When Good Kids Make Bad Choices say the Bible teaches three factors, not just one, that determine how kids turn out:

PARENTS: Parents are responsible to honor the Lord and obey his Word in training their children, from infancy to teenage years.

CHILDREN, PRETEENS, AND TEENS: They are responsible to honor their parents and the Lord by responding in obedience.

THE LORD: He sovereignly rules over the lives of parents, children, and teens, and he directs them according to his good purposes.

Keep Your Focus of God

When your teen snaps at you or shuts herself in her room or refuses to do his chores or (you fill in the blank), you may feel like giving up. Fear overwhelms. Anger nips at your heels.

May I encourage you to keep your heart filled with truth about God?

His truth is hope.

You may want to turn inward and focus on yourself and your problems with your teen. Please don’t. Instead, look upward to the Lord, the one who has the real answer, who has given you an opportunity to grow spiritually.

Count it al joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Resources for Parents of Teens

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp

Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook by Lou Priolo

Growing in Wisdom: A Bible Study in Proverbs for Fathers and Sons by Dr. Ron Allchin, D.Min.

When Good Kids Make Bad Choices by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jim Newheiser

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,



Fight Your Battle in Gospel Shoes!


When life becomes a battle, you need sturdy shoes.

Forget high heels. Lace up sturdy shoes to stand strong in tough times.

In this short article, you’ll discover:

  • The real battle is spiritual.
  • 3 part of the shoes you need.

The Real Battle Is Spiritual

Ephesians 6 employs the metaphor of a battle-ready soldier. On his feet are heavy, military shoes. He’d slip and fail if he wore flip flops or went barefoot.

Stand therefore. . .(wearing) shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:14-15, ESV)

The gospel is your firm foundation.

The gospel is the good news that

Christ saves sinners by grace through faith.

It brings you peace and lets you stand while Satan’s lies and worldly philosophy try to bowl you over.

You’ve heard these lies, haven’t you? That God isn’t fair? Or that you’re worthless? Or don’t measure up?

SOCIAL MEDIA MANIA. If you spend a minute or two on social media, you see pictures and cute quips from beautiful people eating beautiful food with their beautiful friends and family. Doesn’t all that pretty tempt you to become jealous, depressed, or angry? Or throw up?

Please don’t. The other day a friend told me that minutes before she snapped a photo of her kids to share on Facebook they were all yelling at each other and pointing fingers.

This describes our real battle:

 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Fighting can lead to doubt and discouragment when you and I believe lies. This is one reason to stand in study shoes.

3 Parts of the Shoes You Need

The soldier in Ephesians 6 put on his shoes. He was careful. He was intentional.

1. Pray.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

2. Know Scripture.

3. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).

You and I are soldiers in God’s army too. Our spiritual battle requires sturdy shoes fitted with the gospel of peace. God’s peace.

Together let’s stand strong in the battle.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,


Emotions Reveal Your True Thoughts

emotionsYOUR EMOTIONS tell you a lot about your thoughts. Guess where your thoughts originate? Your thoughts come from your deeply held beliefs! When your beliefs line up with God’s Word, you experience a transformed life

You feel what you feel because you think what you think. What does this have to do with a transformed life? More than you might imagine. Your thoughts are the key to transformation.

In the short article, you’ll discover:

  1. Emotions “talk.”
  2. Change your thoughts, and you’ll change your emotions.
  3. Experiencing life transformation.

Emotions Say Something Important

Emotions “talk.” They reveal thoughts. When you know what you’re thinking you can ask yourself, Do my thoughts agree with God’s Word.

To see how this works, “hear” the thoughts in this parable where the rich man feels the emotion of fear of loss.

And he (Jesus) told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21, ESV)

In the parable, the rich man thought he’d have his crops a long time and told himself to relax, eat, drink, and be merry (actions). His thoughts and actions were based on the godless belief that pleasure is what matters, not God. His fearful emotion was an early signal to pay attention to his thoughts and change them as necessary.

What is one of your common thoughts?

  • Life’s not fair?
  • I’m a loser/ugly/stupid?
  • If I had more money/status/popularity, then I’d be happy?

Ask yourself, Does my thought agree with Scripture?

Change Your Thoughts and Emotions Change

Years ago I counseled a Christian woman I’ll call Anna, who was sexually abused by a family friend at age 13. This family friend led a Christian camp, contributing to her twisted image of God. To her God was weak and uncaring, even evil.

She thought sex was a way to get what she wanted most: affection and love. She settled for the false love of naked embraces and murmured “I love you”s” from high school boys.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23, NIV

In time, Anna discovered that only God fulfills her deep need for true love. Her emotions changed from fear and sadness to peace and contentment. Her beliefs changed too as she believed God’s Word and applied its truths to her life.

Experience Life Transformation

Believing the Word of God is crucial to thinking in line with God’s thoughts. As you believe God and spend time reading and meditating on Bible verses, God renews your mind. He transforms your life. Check out Romans 12:2.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 

As God transforms your thinking, your actions change too.

  • You thank God for your home rather than complaining about your old furniture.
  • You pray more often because you want to draw near to God.
  • You replace the habit of spending hours on Facebook with spending time with your kids.

As you take your eyes off your emotions and as your thoughts change, guess what happens? You begin to experience inner contentment, joy, hope, and peace. Who doesn’t want the abundant life?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10, ESV


Sharing Hope with Your Heart,


A Divorce? Hope for Christian Women!


Is there life after divorce? Yes! There definitely is. 

No one need to tell you divorce is a type of death. Sure, you have a pulse but your dreams cracked open, and you feel broken. Shattered.

“Will I ever be happy?” a recently divorced woman and mother of several adult children asked me.

“Yes, as God fits together the pieces, and as you apply God’s Word to your life, you’ll experience a joy that’s deeper than circumstantial happiness,” I replied. “Do you want to get better?”

She twisted the tissue in her hands. “Yes.”

In this article, I’ll share hope and help in three significant ways:

  1. Identifying the ultimate cause of divorce
  2. Giving encouragement from divorced Christian women.
  3. Three tips toward wholeness after divorce.

Ultimate Cause of Divorce

The ultimate cause of divorce is sin. Sin is selfish, prideful, and misaligned with God’s written Word, that is, the Bible. In the Bible, God gives two legitimate grounds for divorce:

  • Unrepentant, sexual adultery. (Matthew 5:31, 19:9)
  • Desertion by an unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)

Even though these are legitimate grounds for divorce, God always meant for marriage to be for life. In Malachi 2:16, God says he hates divorce because it’s borne from sin and brings destruction.

In what ways have you experienced the effects of destruction? Have you received care or condemnation from your Christian friends?

Remember, for Christians:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, ESV)

God doesn’t condemn you, dear friend, even though you and your ex sinned against each other. When God brings together two sinners in a marriage, guess what? They sin. God uses marriage to chip away at your character flaws–and his. Sometimes marital conflict seems unbearable, doesn’t it?

Encouraging Words 

“I used to feel rejected,” Lana said. “That first year was unbearable. My sleep was awful and I couldn’t stop eating junk food.

A neighbor asked me over for coffee. This was a turning point.

“We talked and I began to see that it wasn’t just his fault. I was selfish too. My friend listened. I thank God for her.”


“I went back to bed after I got the kids off to school,” Annie shared. “Life seemed black after the divorce. What kept me going were my kids and going to church on Sundays.

“I thought I went to church for them so they could be in Sunday School, but

the worship songs melted by hardened heart.

“I began to look up again. It still hurts and money is still tight, but I have hope now.”


“My husband was into porn,” Jess said. “I didn’t know about his addiction when we married. We talked to the pastor. Justin would stop for a while then I’d catch him at it again. I felt so numb, I didn’t know what to do. He said he didn’t want to hurt me so he divorced me.”

“I guess the good that came out of it was getting counseling and growing closer to the Lord.”

Three Tips Toward Wholeness

  1. Learn conflict resolution. A main reason for bitterness in marriage is failing to work through problems. Commit to speaking the truth in love to family members, coworkers, and people at church and in your neighborhood. When you speak the truth in love, you communicate your feelings lovingly and work toward a solution.
  2. Figure out what kindles your anger and fear. As your identify the thoughts that prompt your emotions you can change them. “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:5).
  3. Cling to your identity in Christ. You are God’s beloved child. Get my 64-page eBook to savor the “5 Amazing Names God Calls You!”

Join the Conversation

How has divorced touched your life? Where did you find hope and healing?

AN OFFER: Get a free consultation! Great for any woman going through hurt or who has questions. Contact me now.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,