You Don’t Understand. A Teenager.

Sep 24, 2012 | Faith

We stood there, our voices rising.

“You’re not listening to what I’m saying” I said, exasperated.

“You just don’t understand!”

These rants went back and forth like a ping pong ball.

I do understand. If only you’d hear me. 

A conversation between a parent and teenager.

These scenes flashed through my mind as I audibly heard Psalm 116:1 this morning,

“I love the Lord, for He heard my voice.”

What a poignant statement from David.  He heard me.

I wonder how often communication with God is like the scene above.  This conversation played out for years between my firstborn and I.   Most times, I understood what Firstborn was saying.  But the adolescent mind of not-thinking-parents-know-anything kicked in fast and furious at thirteen and didn’t stop.  Just about every conversation included a faulty communication.   We said things to one another without hearing each other .  False assumptions and expectations were road blocks.  How could I let her know that I understood her, that I was on her side? That I heard her?

God has a sense of humor placing teenagers in our lives to make us understand Him better.  David’s simple statement that God heard him reminds me that faulty assumptions, expectations, and different perspectives aren’t just barriers between parent and child.  They can become barriers in our communication with God.  Like teenagers, how often do we think God doesn’t hear or understand our situation?  In response, do we become obstinate, argumentative, losing faith that He knows what is best for us?

Unfortunately, I can’t compare myself to a gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love God-Parent (Psalm 103:8) in how I handled the faulty communication in our home.  While I thought I understood my child and had good intentions for her, I failed at communicating in gracious, compassionate, slow-to-anger ways.  Thank goodness our Lord is not that way.

When we don’t feel like God hears us or we don’t see immediate answers, we are assured, like David,

He does hears us.

If we seek to listen, understand and trust His goodness for us, we can rest in what He’s doing, even though we don’t  see His perspective or wisdom in the moment.

I wonder what we’d discover about God if we took time to trust His wisdom, understanding He knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139), and that He’s on our side.

Hind site is always 20/20.  Fortunately for the other teens in our home, I’ve learned from the mistakes of broken communication.  I’ve learned my Firstborn did listen during those years.   I’m learning to be more gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Now when a teen says, “You don’t understand!” I can listen with grace and better understanding.

Perhaps, like David, they’ll even feel heard.

I’m thankful God isn’t a first-time parent with us.

 When we don’t think He hears, He is patient.

 When we tell Him he’s screwing up our lives, He is gracious.

When we tell Him we’re done with Him, He is slow to anger.

When we don’t trust Him for our future, He is abounding in love.

When our rant ends and we realize He is on our side, we can also say,

I love you, Lord, for you heard my voice.

Because you have turned an ear to me,

I will call on you as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2

Where do you need the Lord to hear you today?  

Holy and righteous Father, thank you that do not fail like earthly parents.  Thank you that you know us, love us, are gracious and compassionate with us.   Thank you that you hear our every cry, our  every question, our wrestling and our cares.  Thank you for not turning us away when we come to you frustration, angst, even anger.   Thank you for not turning a deaf ear to us.  Thank you for hearing our voice.  



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  1. Janette's Sage

    Amen…oh been there and at times I am still there…what can I say I have six children…and I even notice more miss-communication is coming as they are adults than even when teens. I am so glad God listens, that He will also give me a hearing ear if I stop and listen.

    Your blog looks great…way to go…I have no idea how you do all this…I guess I need to get up to date.


    • brendayoder

      Janette, I am thankful I am not alone. I am sure with six children communication is a challenge that often seems never ending. I am thankful to be able to partner with a friend in that is walking that stage with adult children. Thank you so much for the encouragement on the website. It’s been a process of learning, that’s for sure!

  2. Amelia

    I’ve been thinking about this lately – that He sees and He hears. And FYI when my kids enter the teen years, I’m calling you!

    • brendayoder

      Thank you, Amelia. I have learned the hard way for more than a dozen other moms out there. It would be my privilege to walk with you through those years. In the meantime, hug Little Miss Sunshine for me each morning. I so miss that.

      • Amelia

        I will do that! I have awhile before we hit that teen phase. But I have a hunch it flies by.

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