My youngest turns 13 today. No longer a mere child, or even a tween. She is now, officially… a teen.
This is a big one. “Double-digits” was kind of epic, but this. There is something about thirteen that opens the door to young adulthood. Greater responsibility. Greater opportunity. But more than anything, the teen years present a greater need for grace.
In a world where peers define each other by popularity, looks and ability (does anything really change with age?), learning to live by the grace of God in Jesus becomes the battle in every teen’s heart who professes to be a disciple of Jesus.
It is the struggle for identity. What is my righteousness? For what will I be known? What is the defining truth and reality of my life?
There are only two options for determining identity. What I will achieve, or what I will receive?
If we can be honest for a minute (and that is asking a lot!), we will admit that the craving of “the flesh” in all of us is to have a name that will be praised. To be known for some great thing – my victory, my award, my physique, my GPA, my degrees, my successfull, my obedient children, my bank account and on and on.
For a young teen, it may be something as simple as sitting with the right people at the lunch table, or getting invited to the party or being liked by the coolest, most athletic guy. It may be answering the answer correctly in class or wearing the latest fad in footwear, and not the knock off brand.
In view of these pressures and temptations to define yourself based on self-achievement, this is my prayer for my precious young teen, Sarah Wynn.
“Father in heaven, I pray that Sarah Wynn–whom you know I love with my whole heart and find precious beyond words–will know and experience the indescribable joy and radical freedom of embracing her identity as your beloved precious, who, because of the gift-righteousness of Jesus, not longer has to make a name for herself. In the gospel, Sarah Wynn has been declared beautiful in your sight. More than fully forgiven. She is perfectly accepted. Adored as an object of your unrelenting affection. She has nothing to prove to you… nor to anyone else. In view of your love for her in your Son, let her be set free from the bondage of longing for her name to be praised. Instead, give her a heart response to grace that is overjoyed to have her Savior’s name praised as her sin-bearer and righteousness provider. May Jesus be her precious, even as she is his. May it be her delight to known, not for what she has done, but for what Jesus has done for her, and is now doing in her by his Spirit, cultivating a strong joy, freedom, humility and confidence as a daughter of the King.”
Sarah Wynn, may your 13th year be your most fruitful year yet. Not only to grow in stature but also, and most significantly, to grow in an experiential knowledge of God’s identity defining grace to you and his unqualified love for you in Jesus. Then you will be prepared to thrive in the midst of whatever pressures and challenges you face in this new, often exciting, sometimes terrifying teenage world.
I treasure you with all my heart,