Thursday, May 6, 2010
“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord” -Psa. 31:24
While I was waiting on the birth of my granddaughter a few weeks ago, I spent some time wandering around the hospital in Amarillo. A bit lost, I found myself walking through the halls of the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. These newborn care units are amazing. They provide a high level of care for ill or premature babies and truly work miracles on the precious babies that need help. They bring hope to families that are dealing with the unplanned problems with their precious newborns. By the way, did you know that James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada) was the earliest premature baby in the world. He was 128 days premature (21 weeks and 5 days gestation) and weighed 1 pound 6 ounces. He survived and is quite healthy.
As I ventured down the hallway of the NICU, I noticed these posters hanging on the walls. They were pictures of older kids with the length of time they’d been in the intensive care unit written below their snapshot. Each child on the poster was smiling as if to say, “yes, when I was a baby, I was in the NICU unit for a while, and things looked pretty bleak, but look at me now! I’m doing great. There are no guarantees, but you can be encouraged and have hope now because of me.” What a great idea! Yes, do everything medically possible to heal these precious babies. But also do something to provide hope for the parents and family. The posters cry out “hope” to everyone who walks down those halls.
Wow! What parent of a teenager doesn't need that encouragement? Sometimes raising teens can be very difficult. Sometimes the way to go seems so unclear. But there is hope. The hallways of the parenting years are lined with pictures of adults that were once difficult teenagers. Maybe your picture is even hanging in that hallway. It’s tough being a teenager and learning to be responsible, but God promises that in Him there is strength, courage and hope.
When the going is tough and you’re seemingly disconnected from your teenager, remember that most difficult phases of the teenage years pass and healing happens. We work hard to bring hope to families through Shelterwood. Maintain your hope because many times it’s your confidence and hope in your teen that carries them through the difficult periods of adolescents.
I love the hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.” What is your hope built on today? It might be your hundredth time to do this, but once again, give your teen over to the loving God that knows them best. Base your hope on your teen in the Lord. Keep praying for their future.
There are no guarantees, but pray that one day your teen will be an encouraging poster on the wall to encourage others.
By Joseph Staples ©