Dare 21 – The Respect Dare – Another Request?!? For Parents of 20-Somethings

Standing in the laundry room after a few days out of town, Anita was amazed at the piles of laundry that still needed washed, dried, folded, and put away. “This will take me hours!” she voiced to no one who could hear. Having just moved the second load into the washer, she was wistfully looking out the window at the beautiful day when she heard the phone ring in the other room. “Maybe I should pretend that I’m not back yet and go out and sit on the deck with a book,” she laughed to herself hoping to have a quiet day to relax and play catchup from the fun extended weekend with her husband.

Looking at caller ID she recognized the number. Her 23-year old daughter was calling to probably check to see if she was back. Picking up the phone she responded with a cheery “Hi, Kari. How was your weekend?”

“It was just okay. Nothing exciting.”

“What did you do?”

Kari just shared minor snippets. Anita had the impression all Kari really did was work through the weekend. Then the true reason for the call became clear. “Mom, I’m standing here with mountains of dirty laundry and I won’t have enough money this week to go to the Laundromat. I’m off today. I thought maybe I’d swing by and throw a couple of loads in your machine if that is okay.”

“Kari, I’m sorry. I’m doing laundry right now and I’m sure it will take me to the end of the day. Maybe you can do it another day this week?”

“Mom, this is my only day off work this week. I really need some clean underwear.”

“Maybe you could try to wash a few pairs out in your sink and hang them to dry? That should get you through the week.”

“I guess I could do that. I was just hoping to get all my laundry done today.”

“Hmm, that’s too bad. I’m really sorry I didn’t know sooner. I could have potentially postponed a few of my loads. Now I’m in full swing for the day.”

“By the way, any special reason why you are so short on cash this week?”

“Mom, I wasn’t really going to tell you, but Mitch and I decided to go camping on Saturday. It was my first Saturday off in over a month. We ended up in a big fight because he didn’t have enough gas to get us back home. I got stuck with having to fill up his tank which means I don’t have enough money to get through the week.”

“Have you asked him to pay you back?”

“We’re not speaking at the moment.”

“Did you work out the financial arrangements before you left on the campout?”

“I thought we had. Obviously, I was wrong.”

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out how you would have liked. Maybe you will find a way to talk to him this week and work things out.”

Kari chatted a little more bemoaning the woes of her relationship with Mitch. Mom listened intently, offering emotional support that she knew her daughter needed at the moment. As the conversation started waning, she quietly offered to let her mom go back to her laundry.

“Hope you can get enough of your underwear washed by hand to get you through the week,” Mom chuckled. “Let me know if you want to come over another day before work this week and throw in a load or two.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;


Sometimes as parents of 20-somethings, we are overtly willing to put what we are doing aside to “rescue” our children from natural consequences. In some instances, it does make sense to bail them out even when we know it will cost us something; time, money, or emotional energy. Other times, they need to learn to make-do with what they have at their disposal and learn to manage their time and resources better without always running to Mom and Dad for last minute bailouts. Either way, don’t forget to fill the emotional tank.:)

Dare you to discern what lessons your 20-something needs to learn on their own while still striving to keep the relationship intact.

“Let go…and let God,”

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.



Dare 20 – The Respect Dare – How do I Respect My 20-Something?

I was absolutely elated! The phone call had finally come! “We’ve been able to move your son’s appointment up to July. Will that work?”

“Absolutely! You really did get him in for July? This is great! I was beginning to doubt this would even be a possibility! Thank you.”

As I started listening to the details of the scheduled appointments for my son’s medical condition, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement at what God was doing. I had shared the prayer request with everyone that I knew. His original appointment had been scheduled for September, almost 20 days after his junior year of college was to begin. If the appointment hadn’t been changed, he would have had a decision to make: college and continued pain or the possibility of resolution at a pain clinic. I knew what he was thinking. There was no way he wanted to skip a year of college waiting for what “might happen.”

After hanging up the phone, I couldn’t wait to start telling everyone the news. My son would be able to start classes in August as we had hoped! God had answered our prayer!

Just as I began the Facebook post giving God the glory, my fingers paused. “How will Michael take the news? It means that he will only have a week left of his summer vacation. It means a 23 hour car ride. It means he will live out of a hotel for 3 ½ weeks. It means a full-day program going to doctor after doctor. It means going straight from the pain program into college classes.

And I began to feel a real sadness…for him and for me.

It means that summer is almost over.

It means the mad rush of getting things in order to leave in a week.

As we sat at the dinner table that night, I wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. He did it for me. “What did you do today, Mom?”

“I was on the phone a lot.”

“What for?”

“Well, I need to tell you, I’ve got some good news and possibly some bad news.”

“Like what, Mom?”

“They were able to move your clinic appointment up.”

His jaw dropped.

“But it means we’ll have to leave next week. You’ll be back right in time for classes to start.”

That’s when his frustration began to rise.

“What do you mean? My summer is over! This is crazy. I don’t want to go. I’m not ready to give up the rest of my summer! I’m 21 and I don’t have to go. Tell me you won’t make me. You’re not going to hold this over my head are you? Are you going to start taking things away because I won’t do what you think I should do?” All the angst and frustration at the situation came tumbling out.

I held my tongue and let him spew.

It wasn’t easy.

I tried to resist telling him all the reasons why my logic made more sense than his did at the moment. And I told him how sorry I was for the circumstances he was in. I told him I would probably feel the same way if I was in his shoes.

He started sorting through all the reasons why this was a bad idea while I tried to gently counter his thinking. Then the words came out. “Mom, is this MY decision?”

The moment of truth had arrived. Could I live with it being HIS decision?

And that’s when I realized that in actuality I couldn’t make this man’s decision for him. He may be my son, but he is a man…responsible to God for whatever decisions he makes. He is the one who would have to be willing to work through their program. I could spend all my time and energy getting him there, I could spend money on a hotel for the 3 ½ week program, but in reality, it had to be him to do the work. This was for him and not for me.

Painfully, I assured him that it was his decision.

He then told me that he would need to hear back from a couple of loose ends from doctors he had recently seen before he would be willing to commit to the program.

I told him I would be praying for his decision.

The next day, God showed up! The doctor called closing up the loose ends.

Meanwhile, I prayed that God would show my son which path to take. I continued to make arrangements in hopes of my son making the decision to go through with the program.

Finally, I ventured into potential conflict. “Michael, I’d really like you to help me make some of the decisions around this trip. I want to make it as much of an enjoyable time as is possible given the circumstances. Would you help me pick a hotel?”

“We’re going to have to go, aren’t we, Mom?” he whispered in a voice not wanting to believe that it was necessary.

“I think it is best.”

As the silence ensued, I looked at him. “God has purpose in all this, son. Maybe you are supposed to be here at this time so you can minister to someone else. There will be lots of kids there in pain. Maybe you can make their time easier. You know, the younger ones will look up to you. You’ve been working with high school kids all summer at church. Maybe you can help the time pass more quickly for everyone.”

“Mom, let’s stay at the hotel across from the clinic. Maybe I can get some card games going in the lobby at the end of the day! I’d like to be in an easy access location so that kids can come hang out.”

Psalm 40:2

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Really knowing our 20-somethings and letting them recognize that we respect them as adults can make a huge difference in the decisions they make.

Dare you to try out some of these skills.

  1. Allow your 20-something to vent when they are frustrated.
  2. Validate their feelings. Let them know you would probably feel the same way if you were in their shoes.
  3. Recognize that they ARE adults. They will have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.
  4. Appeal to their bent. Help them see the positives of a good decision and how God might be using them.
  5. Celebrate their good choices and let them know you love to watch how God is maturing them.

Ephesians 3:20 NKJV

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

“Let go…and let God,”

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.






TRD – Dare 20 – Vulnerability? You’ve Got to be Kidding! For Parents of Tweens & Teens

Sitting on my back patio spending quiet time in the Word, I knew that God was calling me to take a risk. I knew that he was dogging me to volunteer for something that I would love to do. I also knew I was choosing to follow His lead, not just attempt to do something to make me look or feel good. I broached the subject with my husband to see what he thought about the volunteer position.

His response, “Go for it, Honey. Just don’t be hurt if they say ‘no’.”

Ouch! That would be the hard part. What if the person I needed to ask said ‘no’? Could I live with the embarrassment?

Before I put my neck out there, I decided to let my kids know what I was thinking. It would mean that they would need to be responsible for dinner and cleanup one night a week and would need to make sure any homework that needed to be reviewed was complete before 5:00.

Getting the thumbs up on the family front, I ventured the call. Trembling, I decided the make the offer informal. “Would you like to bring your kids over to swim in our neighborhood pool?”

We spent almost two hours sitting by the pool while our tweens swam. The longer we talked, the more comfortable I became at sharing my story. You know the one…the story of all the good, bad, and ugly that had gone in my life and how I thought God was calling me to this ministry. After all, that’s what this ministry was all about! Being brave enough to go out on a limb because God was calling me to action!

As our time came to a close, the ministry leader looked at me and said, “Debbie, I think it is great that God is calling you to do something. Just know that we are fully staffed right now and I really don’t have anything for you to do. Thanks for letting me know. Maybe God’s got something else out there for you.”

My heart nearly dropped out of my chest. It took everything within me to rein my emotion in and keep the tears from falling. Honestly, I wanted to grab her and shake her and tell her that God was asking me to do this! How could she possibly turn me down like that?

At dinner, Dave and the kids couldn’t wait to hear how my meeting went. With bowed head I admitted that they didn’t need me. “I really thought God wanted me to do this. Guess I didn’t have the timing right,” I responded through a cracked voice.

Even though the kids tried to cheer me up telling me what the ministry was missing out on, the lies continued to bombard me. “You aren’t anyone to them. You’re not good enough. What did you think, asking them to be part of the ministry? Now they know what a loser you really are!” And the self-defeating voices continued through the night.

Still in pj’s the next morning, I grabbed my Bible and sauntered into my office to close out the world. God and I needed to have a talk! “Why, God? Why did you have me make a fool of myself?” After letting Him know how frustrated I was and letting Him know that I didn’t understand why He had set me up for failure, His Word came loud and clear:

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And I kept reading.

Jeremiah 29:12-14

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

“Lord, I am so sorry. You are right! The lies I’m hearing in my head right now are taking me captive. I am your creation. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You made me who I am and you’ve asked me to do this ministry. Lord, I do not doubt what you’ve asked me to do, but now, Lord, I’m going to throw it back in your lap. I’ve contacted the ministry leader and now I’m going to patiently wait on you to let the ministry leader know that she is supposed to ask me to participate. But God, could you hurry up and let her know that she needs me? I really hate this waiting process. I promise that I will choose to not take it personally. I know that you’ve designed me to do this and you are calling me. I’m going to choose to be still and wait to see that You are God in this situation.”

By the time dinner rolled around, each of my children had separately asked me how I was doing. They knew I had been “turned down, excluded, or not chosen” (their words). It was a great opportunity to model “choosing” to let God work the details and not allowing myself to believe the lies that I hadn’t really heard God’s voice or had gotten it wrong or was a “nobody”. I assured them that I wasn’t going to wrap my identity up in this setback. “I’m going to let God sort it out,” became my mantra.

Two weeks later, God showed up big time! “Debbie, would you still be interested in working with us this year? I had someone step down for the Fall session and think you would be a perfect fit.”

Wow! A lot of learning took place over dinner table discussion that night! I was so glad that I had allowed my tweens and teen to see me hit a roadblock of life. I thanked God that He had given me the ability of waiting on Him to be modeled well for my children. Sharing where I was at with my children, at a time of feeling like a failure, has given us lots of opportunity for discussion for when they are “turned down, excluded, or not chosen” (my words.)

Dare you to be vulnerable with your kids when opportunity arises so they can learn from you how to “be still and watch God work in their lives.”

Let go…and let God,”

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.









The Respect Dare – Dare 19—Waiting for God to Show Up? — For Parents of Twenty-Somethings

For those of you who have been following my blog lately, I owe you an apology. And I need to say thank you for hanging in here with me. I promised to blog at least twice a week, but instead…

My Life Got Put on Hold!


Over two years ago, I woke up to my teen screaming in pain. He was struggling with each breath as he curled up in bed with tears rolling down his cheeks. Needless to say, he didn’t go to school that day or the next. Doctors made educated guesses as to the source of his pain. We did countless tests and scans. Somehow he managed to make it through the school year. He managed to even make it through a part-time job for part of the summer, but the stress was too much, the pain too intense.

He tried going away to college and succeeded for a semester, but the pain was persistent making life on a college campus too heavy a load.

We spent a year with him living at home, going to school part-time and going to doctors full-time. Surgery made no change in his pain levels.

Another semester away at school was agonizing…for me this time. Countless phone calls, last minute trips to campus to provide moral support and something to ease the pain. So desiring that life would somehow become “normal” in the midst of the storm, I made prayer my companion as I clocked countless miles to and from campus just to get him through the semester.

Summer will soon turn to fall, but here we are…still waiting.

Waiting to see the next specialist that doesn’t have a vacancy for months.

Waiting to see if the next medication will make a change.

Waiting to see if doctors in another state, at a more prestigious hospital, will have the answers. (That’s why I haven’t been blogging recently.:))

More scans, more tests, more medications…no answers yet.

Meanwhile, God is teaching me that timing is totally up to Him. And, I’ll admit, I hate that sometimes!

Sometimes I get so impatient. I want things to change now. I want answers and I’m willing to drive across the country in hopes of finding them.

The hard part about all of this is that I don’t get to always call the shots. I have to put aside my desires for my son and allow God to do His thing in His timing.

God is teaching me to wait more patiently. He’s got me trying to listen more intently. When I am up against a wall, frustrated that I can’t find the next door to walk through, or caught at a traffic circle with no idea of which direction to go, I’m learning to stop and wait until I hear His voice.

Yesterday was no exception. I was at a dead stand-still. Having researched a lead, I shared my idea with my 21-year old son. His response, “I’m tired of it, Mom! I’m not going to another doctor. I think you are heading down another rabbit trail. My answer is no!”

Thankfully, I’m learning to listen to my son and back off from pushing my agenda until the timing is right. He doesn’t want to hear my voice. He needs to hear God’s voice.

And later that day, God showed up!

After agonizing with a friend over my frustration, after asking her to pray, after sharing with her how I hated that we were still in the same place after over two years, the phone rang. It was an out of state call. It was one of the doctors my son had seen a few weeks ago.

Her words, “I think you need to have your son see another specialist. There is actually a really good one where you live. I know him.”

That’s when my mouth dropped open. You see, this doctor mentioned the same specialist that I had mentioned to my son earlier in the day. This doctor confirmed that my research was a good theory. This doctor was able to be the voice from God that assured my son that His mother wasn’t heading down another winding road that would lead no where! This doctor was God’s answer to my time of waiting. We now have another door to walk through!

I have to remember that when things are not going the way that I want them to, when my desires start to feel hopeless, or when parenting seems to be a difficult and arduous task, God is still on the throne.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Dare you to rely on Him no matter what situation you find yourself waiting in as you parent.

Let go…and let God,”

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.