Focus on the Family Broadcast

Praying for Your Teen’s Heart and Future (Part 1 of 2)

Praying for Your Teen’s Heart and Future (Part 1 of 2)

Parents often face the teen years with fear because we often don’t fully understand what struggles teens are dealing with. Jodie wants to equip parents of teens to pray with confidence about dating, peer pressure, social media, prodigals and more — using the power of God’s Word. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 19, 2024


Jodie Berndt: My favorite parenting teen prayer comes out of Philippians 2 Verse 13. That verse says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” In other words, He’s giving you, He’s giving your teens, the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. We think it’s on us. I’ve gotta get my kid to think and say and do, you know, the right thing.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Jodie Berndt describing a parent’s passion for the protection and wellbeing of their child, especially during the teen years. And we’re gonna hear more from Jodie today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and thanks for joining us.

Jim Daly: John, we know a lot of moms and dads, uh, may have an underlying sense of fear. I admit to that, uh, especially in those teen years-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … like, “Uh-oh, is this going in the right direction?” Uh, the challenges teenagers face today seem so much greater than what our generation dealt with. It’s right in their face. Social media brings it right into every room.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, they’re just constantly battling it throughout the day. Think about the pressures of social media, depression, anxiety, addiction, and how teens can become disillusioned about, uh, their faith, how does their faith help them in these very specific ways.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: All of these issues can terrify us as parents. I know Jean and I went through that, you know, the, the explicit stuff that our boys could trip on looking at the phone-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … their friends might show ’em, whatever it might be. So we’re connecting on this. But, you know, 2 Timothy 1 reminds us God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. That’s what we have to equip our kids to possess, and our roles as parents, uh, is to pray for our kids, to help them know those boundaries, to lift them up in prayer, and today we’re gonna talk about that element, of how we lift our teens up in prayer and trust God for the outcome.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And if you’re honest, and, uh, as I’m trying to be, that’s hard to do.

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah, kids will, especially teens, give you lots of opportunity to develop a prayer life, and Jodie Berndt is going to help us really think through, uh, how to do that. She’s been here a number of times, and is a Bible teacher and speaker, and has written a series of books about praying the scriptures for your marriage and for your family and, uh, she’s got a book called Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, which forms-

Jim: (laughs)

John: … the foundation of our conversation today.

Jim: Probably the most important book you’ve ever written, Jodie (laughs).

John: (laughs)

Jodie: (laughs)

John: Yeah, it’s, it’s a great book. It’s full of great practical daily exercises of prayer that you can engage in, and we’ve got details about the book. Get a copy from us. Uh, just stop by the website. That’s

Jim: Jodie, welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Jodie: Uh, thank you so much, Jim. It’s great to be here. But I’ll tell you, I don’t know that we have much to talk about. I think in that intro-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: … you just nailed it. You said there’s problems out there, God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, and He invites us to pray. Done, right (laughs)?

Jim: That’s true, but, man, putting it into practice is another issue.

Jodie: Oh, it is. I know.

Jim: So that’s why we’re gonna talk today and tomorrow about this topic. So good that Robbie, your husband, is in the gallery there and joining.

Jodie: Yay, Robbie.

Jim: It’s nice that he traveled with you.

Jodie: He’s-

Jim: Way to go, Robbie.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: Hey, um, that is, you know, part of it, uh, this fear factor that many parents have and, you know, Jean and I fit in that camp, too. Uh, when you’re parenting children, there are gonna be time when you’re going, “Okay, can I really trust the Lord?”

Jodie: Right.

Jim: If you’re honest. And things may not be going the way that I anticipated they should go, and in this can I really trust the Lord? So, I guess, generally the, the idea is, you know, every mountain a molehill, every molehill a mountain. That’s kinda how Jean and I react (laughs)-

Jodie: (laughs)

Jim: … uh, you know? We’re always saying, “Okay, is this a mountain or a molehill?” Speak to that issue of discernment, I guess, and, uh, what parenting is like today just whacking down all these threats that we see.

Jodie: Well, I don’t know. I would wonder if every generation doesn’t think we’re in the hardest time. I don’t-

Jim: I think that’s true.

Jodie: I don’t know that, but, but those mountain/molehill distinguishing characteristics, you know, how can you tell is this something to really worry about, is this something to not? And I think that’s where prayer really does come in, because we don’t know all the answers. We don’t know our teen’s heart. We don’t even know where they are some of the time physically, and we certainly don’t always know where they are emotionally. But the beautiful thing is that God does. You know, He searches hearts. His understanding, scripture says, has no limit. So even though we might not know, He does. And we can ask him to equip us with that kind of discernment. And, as you said in the intro, again, to give us a spirit of self-control, of confidence, a sound mind, not so that we have to be victims of fear.

Jim: And I want to… The parents that are listening or watching on YouTube, um, I just want to encourage you to stick with this, because we’re not gonna dance around the tough issues. We’ll talk about the teens that are, uh, prodigals and doing difficult things, and how do we pray for them really. You’re gonna pray for them, Jodie. You want, you know, we’ll get to all of that. But I think, generally speaking, um, what’s the encouragement that you would give us right from the get-go here about praying for our teenagers? How did you pray for your teenagers? Let’s just ask that question (laughs).

Jodie: How did I pray? Well, you know, uh, I prayed a lot. I, uh, I-

Jim: And that’s very honest. And you’re very honest in the book about-

Jodie: Uh, yeah, I didn’t think-

Jim: … difficulties.

Jodie: I, I wasn’t planning to write the book. Um-

Jim: (laughs) This is the one you didn’t want to write.

Jodie: Uh, this… I didn’t want to write this one. I had-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: … written Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, and that book covered, I don’t know, 20, 24 different topics about their faith and their character and their future, all that.

Jim: Taking care of their boo-boos.

Jodie: All of that. Um-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: But I had written in there about their future, their marriage partner, their purpose in life, and then I’ll never forget our, our daughter came home, um, and there was a guy with her, and he was wearing a t-shirt that had a word on it that you can’t say on air, certainly not on Focus on the Family.

Jim: And he’s, he, he’s… They’re how old?

Jodie: And he’s w-, he was, uh, they were teens, young teens.

Jim: Okay.

Jodie: And, you know, s-, they were in our home and I saw his shirt, and I saw my younger son, who was learning to read trying to sound it out, you know? And I (laughs)-

Jim: Oh (laughs).

John: (laughs)

Jodie: And I just thought where are we going with this? So I thought, I’ve gotta figure out some prayers for my daughter and her dating relationships and her friendships as she’s mov-

Jim: Wow, yeah.

Jodie: So I grabbed that first book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children.

Jim: Oh, I thought you were gonna say you grabbed the shirt (laughs).

John: (laughs)

Jodie: No. No, I wanted to grab, wanted to grab the shirt.

Jim: So you grabbed the book (laughs)?

Jodie: Oh, yeah, I… Yeah, so I, you know, later that day I went and I got the book and I thought, “Okay, what’s in here?” And I realized I’d moved from praying for your child’s friendships to praying for your child’s marriage partner eventually. I was-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … thought I was being future-thinking, and I never wrote anything about those dating years. And I thought, “Okay, we’ve gotta go back to the drawing board here. I need to interview some wiser parents. I need to get some scriptures in my arsenal to be able to cover my daughter with those things.” And, uh, you said it already. There’s so many different, uh, things we pray about as our kids move through the teen years. Their friendships, their dating relationships, but also their emotional health, their mental health, the character. I think it is so hard today, you know, rates of anxiety, depression, all-time high. So lots and lots to cover. And, um, the good thing is God’s a parent. He gets it. He’s been everywhere we are.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And so, uh, He invites us to partner with Him through our prayers.

Jim: That’s so true. And I, you know, again, there’s a, a wide spectrum of households represented in the Christian community. Some will have pretty strict rules of-

Jodie: Some don’t have a boy with a bad word on his shirt, I know, but we’ve been (laughs)-

Jim: Correct, and, and no dating.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And, uh, and we get that. And then others will be in the middle. We have boundaries. We know that the boys and girls are gonna date at 16, 17, or what have you. So, uh, uh, again, just be gentle as we talk through this-

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … if you’re listening and, and viewing.

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: And just apply the principles, I would suggest, to what we’re talking about, because you’ve done a great job crafting this. Always good to start with scripture, so let’s get into 1 Samuel 7.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: This huge battle that occurred, and then, uh-

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: … the victor did something unique that caught your attention when it comes to parenting.

Jodie: Well, I love that story. The Israelites were on the battlefield yet again. You know the Old Testament is full of, of, uh, battles.

Jim: Battles (laughs).

Jodie: But (laughs), but I think so is parenting, right? So we get a lot of encouragement from that. And in this particular case in 1 Samuel, they’re fighting and it’s not going well, and they cry out to Samuel, saying, “Pray for us. Pray for us.” And he does pray for them, and they win that particular battle, but they know the war is not over. And yet I love that instead of just leaving it there and moving on, they erect what scripture calls an Ebeneezer stone. They put up this monument to say, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” And for me as I parented our teens, I was, I tried to be, and Robbie as well, super intentional about marking those times when we knew God had helped us. I actually wrote it on a rock at one point. 1 Samuel 7, I think it’s Verse 12, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” And I kept it in the console of my car, because just-

Jim: Hmm.

Jodie: … looking at what he had done in one situation would fill me with faith to pray for the next. Because, I don’t know about you, Jim, but I never have fully learned to relax and trust God. Every new mountain that comes along, every wave that hits, we live at the beach and I feel like there’s a lot of, you know, hurricane warnings. Every time we get one of those things in our parenting, my default position can be immediately to go to worry, what if, you know? Can I trust God? And so I think those Ebeneezer stones, those times of reflection of what God has done in the past, Thus far He’s helped us, can really equip us to pray with faith and boldness for the future.

Jim: Well, and I think this theme will permeate our discussion, but, you know, for the people, the 99 percent, that are gonna be right where you’re at, you know, I’m, uh, leaving some percentage, maybe 1 percent (laughs), 5 percent-

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … where they deeply believe and trust the Lord, and it doesn’t rock their boat when that hurricane comes in their teen year, you know, the kids’ teen years. But, uh, how do you rest in God with that? It, it-

Jodie: Hmm.

Jim: This is the ultimate question, right?

Jodie: It really is. It’s the ultimate question.

Jim: And I don’t know that there’s any easy answer, but there’s tools we can apply, and that’s what (laughs) we’re gonna do today.

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah, there’s not an easy answer, and, you know, not to get too deep too quick, but I will say I have walked that road and wrestled, and I was praying for my teens, and then my adult children, and, uh, I didn’t think the needle was moving, and in some cases, uh, it was definitely not the answer I was looking for. And I remember saying to the Lord, “I trusted You, you know? I trusted You, God. I know You’re good. I know You’re faithful. I know this would be a good outcome. Why, why is this not resolving itself in the right way?” And He was so good. He was gentle, but very firm, saying to me, you know, “Jodie, you didn’t trust in Me. You trusted in an outcome that you thought was the right one.” You know? “I don’t want you to want the gift. I want you to want the giver. I don’t want you to want the result. I want you to want the relationship. I want you to know what it feels like to trust Me. And, not only that, but when things aren’t goin’ the way you think, you’re welcome to climb into my embrace, let me comfort you, you know? Let me tend to your hurts,” mama, or daddy, whoever you are, thinking through this stuff. Let God comfort you in that and strength you to send you back out into that battlefield to pray. Because He is good and He is trustworthy, but we don’t always see it.

Jim: You know, when you think about that, so many great thinkers, Gary Thomas on marriage and others.

Jodie: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Jim: When you look at all of life and the structures that God has put in place, whether it’s marriage or parenting, He’s trying to teach us something in this.

Jodie: (laughs) Yes.

Jim: And it is that rest in Him kind of attitude.

Jodie: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: And it, it’s amazing how dense we can be getting there. And, you know, we’re all human. We have our shortcomings, but that does seem to be the purpose of life is to build our trust and faith and hope in Him.

Jodie: There’s so much that He does-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: … in us and in the people around us that we’re not aware of. And, you know, you said Robbie’s in the gallery. I’ll tell you he’s probably right now saying, “You need to say this, Jodie.” Tim Keller, one of our favorite authors, Robbie’s favorite Keller quote is about prayer, and it is, “When we pray, God will either give us what we ask for or what we would’ve asked for had we known everything He knows.”

Jim: Yeah (laughs).

Jodie: And I think that’s a great thing to remember-

Jim: Beautiful.

Jodie: … as we’re parenting teenagers, is God’s on it.

Jim: The other thing is it sets the right expectation. And speaking of that, let’s get to that parent/teen conflict area.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think, you know, as you, as you’re growing as a parent, of course we all have… I think it’s healthy to have that trauma when the hospital person puts that little baby in your arms-

Jodie: (laughs)

Jim: … and says, “Okay, you can go home now.” You’re going, “Wait a minute. What?”

John: (laughs)

Jodie: Wait a minute. Are you coming with me? (laughs)

Jim: Uh, where’s the manual?

John: Yeah.

Jim: What do I do now?

John: Yeah.

Jim: I don’t, you know. Jean and I felt like that with Trent.

Jodie: Yeah, sure.

Jim: We were like, “We don’t know what to do.” And, uh, boom, you’re on your way home. And now it starts rolling. And it’s pretty good in the early years (laughs), you know? Things go normally. He likes to follow you around the house-

Jodie: Sure, you get-

Jim: … and go to work with you, and, “Daddy, let’s play catch,” and all those things are going along. Then there’s something that happens. Some kind of dust comes over their room (laughs)-

Jodie: (laughs)

Jim: … and it’s called teenager.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And then they get up and go, “Aww, I don’t really feel like doin’ that.”

Jodie: They start having their own opinions.

Jim: “How you doin’ today?” “‘Eh.”

Jodie: And playing with friends-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … that maybe you didn’t pick. All of that, yep, yep.

Jim: It’s the one-word answers. I didn’t have the benefit of girls, but, John, you, you can describe the, uh, teen girl behavior.

John: Oh, they’re, they’re a breeze.

Jodie: (laughs)

John: They’re a breeze.

Jim: (laugh) Darn it. But, you know, let’s speak to that conflict area, uh, which to a degree is probably inevitable. It’s probably natural.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: It’s probably healthy-

Jodie: Sure, yeah.

Jim: … that the separation begins. But now puts us on a whole other parenting journey about trust, hope, faith.

Jodie: All of that.

Jim: Future.

Jodie: And you’re right. You say it’s probably healthy.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Jodie: I think it is healthy, you know, that, that, um… In fact, my friend, Lisa Robertson, used to always say, “As your teens get closer and closer to the time they’re gonna leave your nest, whether it’s for a job or college or whatever,” she says, “they can really begin to become a butt.” (laughs) B-U-T-T.

Jim: How do you spell that?

Jodie: B-U-T-T-, yes.

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: And she said, she said, “But that’s God’s way sometimes of beginning to separate you, to be able to allow you to relinquish them, to release them,” but it is so hard, as you say. You want to be able to control who they’re with, what they say, what they do.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Jodie: All of that. And we can’t always do that.

Jim: So in that point of conflict, a real practical question, in that point of conflict where that-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … you know that first 13-year-old thing happens.

Jodie: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: The attitude flares.

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: What are things we need to think about as parents?

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And really, thankfully, a young parent can listen to this and go, “Okay, my-

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: … child is only nine.”

Jodie: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: So we’re equipping them to say, “Here’s how you’re, you’re gonna want to think about that moment of conflict.”

Jodie: Right. Yeah. Well, and there will be. And for one… That’s… Right there, knowing that there will be, I think, is freeing for parents, because you don’t have to think, “Oh, no.” Y- you’re not-

Jim: You’re not a failure.

Jodie: You’re not a failure and you’re not alone and this is normal.

Jim: Yeah (laughs).

Jodie: But having humility and having trust, I think, are the two things that can help preserve your relationship with your teen. Humility to consider that you might not always be right, you know? That sometimes you need to take whatever this issue is to the Lord, or if you’re married, to your spouse, because they can be kind of a, uh, a level setter. Robbie certainly was for me, because I would be freaking out about something, and he would-

Jim: And that’s a good thing, the two of you working together.

Jodie: It is such a good thing, yes. Um, and then the second thing, in addition to that humility to, to recognize that, you know, we’re all navigating this journey. We might not have all the answers as parents, but then trust, too. To trust that God is our backstop. He is there. He knows. He gets it. And He will see us through.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and today we’re talking to Jodie Berndt about her book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens. Obviously, there’s a lot here. Make a donation today of any amount, either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift, uh, as generous as you can, and we’ll send that book to you, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens. Uh, just stop by the website. Uh, that’s Also at the website, we’re gonna be linking over to a calendar Jodie’s put together, 31 Days of Prayer for Your Teens. It’s a terrific one a day, uh, scripture for you to pray for your child. I think you’ll find it really helpful.

Jim: Jodie, a common tension point in parenting centers around a little word called control. Who’s in control? And, again, at the teen years, that’s really when this is blossoming, to use a positive metaphor (laughs). Your teen is blossoming into decision-making and control. Yeah, they actually get to drive a car at 16-

Jodie: Right.

Jim: … in most states. That’s a little crazy. Fifteen in others.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, so speak to this, uh, issue. I think you had a story about a mom named Leslie who struggled with her teen daughter, a great example, so let’s go there.

Jodie: Yeah, yeah. Leslie is a friend, and she, um, had a lovely daughter, has a lovely daughter, Sarah Kay, and Sarah Kay, uh, was… Their whole family was gonna go to another sibling’s college graduation, and Sarah Kay found out it was the same weekend as prom.

Jim: Hold it, we need music. Da-da-da-dah.

Jodie: Right.

John: Oh, the conflict.

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: Yes, the conflict coming, right. So the mother, of course, thinks, “Graduation, once in a lifetime event, we need to be there for your sister as a family.” And Sarah Kay thinks, “What on earth? This is my prom. I’m in high school. I don’t want to miss this.” And so tension, tension, tension. And I loved how Leslie approached it, because, again, she took the humility to think, okay, let me, uh, and this wasn’t right away, you know? There was definitely a lot of tension in there, uh, to start with. But she got to the point where she was willing to pray about it and say, “God, I don’t see how this could be. I believe we need to be together, uh, for the college graduation, but I’m gonna now trust you as the way-maker.” Well, as she’s praying, what she doesn’t know, what’s happening is that a family friend also wants to go to the graduation and has offered to take Sarah Kay the next day so they’ll get there in time for the ceremony, and it, it all works out. And what none of them could have predicted is that Sarah Kay would be named Prom Queen.

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: I mean-

John: Aww.

Jim: That would have been a big mess (laughs).

Jodie: That would have been a big mess, you know? And this mom could’ve just stuck to her guns and said, “Nope,” you know, “we’re goin’ as a family,” but instead she backed off and thought, “I don’t know how we can do this. I want us all there as a family, but I’m gonna pray about it,” and as she prayed then this other transportation presented itself, and everything was able to work out.

Jim: The, this issue of control is a big one, and it is… It needs to be observed by the parent that this is a natural progression, that… Did you ever really have control-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: … is a good starting question.

Jodie: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Trent, my oldest, when he went off to college, you know, he, he was ready. His door… His foot was out the door the day of graduation from high school (laughs).

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And moving into, uh, you know, a student complex-

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … an apartment complex, and I was like panicked.

Jodie: (laughs)

Jim: Like, okay, there’s gonna be drugs and other things going on there. So I had the, you know, the talk about, “Hey, you’ve gotta be really careful.”

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And he just looked at me and goes, “Dad, you’ve taught me the right things to do.”

Jodie: Aww, that’s beautiful.

Jim: But let me… But he went on. This was the control part. He goes, “You know how I am. No one’s gonna talk me into doin’ something I don’t want to do, but if I want to do somethin’, I’m gonna do it, you know that.”

Jodie: (laughs)

Jim: And he said, “But you’ve taught me the things not to do-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … and the, the things to do.” So he said, you know, “Just trust that.” I was like, “Okay.” (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jodie: Okay. Thank you. But you’re so right, though, you know?

Jim: Uh, but, I mean, that’s a strong-willed child, but, you don’t… You’re never really in control in the teens-

John: Right.

Jim: … or beyond.

Jodie: You’re never really in control and your kids, like we said earlier, they can be out of your reach. They might not be… They might be still at your dinner table and they’re out of your reach, because they’re not there emotionally. They don’t want to listen to what you have to say. You, Jim, are teaching your son, but is he picking it up? You don’t know. And yet, that’s where the gift of prayer comes in, because God invites us to partner with Him-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … through our prayers to accomplish His best purposes in our kids’ lives.

Jim: I think the lack of that feedback loop is a great point, because I think, you know, when you’re, you’re raising your children, you’re saying, “Now, say please and thank you,” and, you know, they stumble through that. And then all of a sudden at some age, like you hear them say it on their own without coaching.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And you’re going, “Oh, my goodness. They heard me.”

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s kinda the same in this area of responsibility, you know? You’re saying, “Do this, do that,” or, “Let’s pray about this.”

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “Let’s think this way about this.”

Jodie: Yep.

Jim: And, and you do that almost like a rehearsal all the time, all the time.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And then hopefully you’re gonna see that spark, that one day they do it for themselves.

Jodie: Right. And if you don’t see it-

Jim: And you’re going, yes.

Jodie: … you can still have the confidence that God is working. Like my favorite parenting teen prayer comes out of Philippians 2 Verse 13. That verse says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” In other words, He’s giving you, He’s giving your teens, the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. We think it’s on us. I’ve gotta get my kid to think and say and do, you know, the right thing. And God is saying, Philippians 2, it’s the Lord who’s working all of this.

Jim: (laughs) I think often we read that scripture and put us in there, right?

Jodie: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: It is dad’s job (laugh)-

Jodie: I’m like, I work in them, yeah (laughs).

Jim: … or mom’s job.

Jodie: I know, I know.

Jim: That’s so true.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: Um let’s recognize that it can be heartbreaking for parents when their teenagers struggle, uh, with friends or-

Jodie: Hmm, yeah, yeah.

Jim: … you know, they, they’re-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … there’s just something socially that’s not working, and, uh, I understand that this was an issue, uh, during your early teen years.

Jodie: Oh, yes.

Jim: Which is hard to believe because you’re so outgoing-

Jodie: Oh.

Jim: … and so pleasant.

Jodie: Oh, well, thanks be to God. I thank Him.

Jim: Uh, but what, you know, what was going on for you as a child?

Jodie: Okay. Okay, true story.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: True story. And I wish I had a photo. You know, back then we didn’t have our phones and could take pictures all the time, but this would be classic. You could pop it up for the audience to see, but-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: … um, I went through middle school, and I had these little wire-rimmed John Lennon glasses, and I had braces on my teeth, and I had this headgear that I wore every day.

Jim: Aww.

Jodie: It wrapped around the back of my head, it wrapped around my neck. I mean, I mean, I told myself. I tried to tell myself it was jewelry, you know? It was an accessory, but it was not. It was not attractive. But not only that, um-

Jim: In junior high?

Jodie: In junior high.

Jim: That’s tough.

Jodie: Middle school. That’s really tough, you know?

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: Um, hats off to my parents. Honestly, parents listening, they were great at telling me that they thought I was beautiful (laughs). And, you know, when you hear that enough from your parents it can start to take root in your soul, even when you’re wrapped up in metal headgear and glasses and all that. But the other thing my parents did, and, parents, I’m not sure I’d recommend this one. Um, I wanted, uh, a purse to look like all the other girls, ’cause the cool girls had these beautiful leather purses that had flowers-

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: … etched in them and colored and I said, “I just… All I want for my birthday is a leather purse with the flowers,” and, and they went to the Christian bookstore where they got a discount, and they found a purse, but my purse was twice the size of the other girls’, and it came not just with the flowers engraved, but the words Jesus is Lord were engraved on my purse. And, y’all, I carried that purse to school every day. So there I am in my headgear and my braces and my glasses and my Jesus is Lord purse. And so you’re wondering why I said (laughs), why I just-

Jim: I’m not responding to any of this.

Jodie: Jim, I wish people could see your face right now.

Jim: I’m just- (laughs)

Jodie: I’m just sayin’. I know, I know. I don’t… Maybe I had read that verse-

Jim: I’m a boy, but I could feel your pain.

John: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Jodie: (laughs) Thank you. I guess I’d read that verse, you know, if anyone’s ashamed of me, I’ll be ashamed of him in my kingdom. I don’t know what-

Jim: I-

Jodie: … what made me do it, but I did it.

Jim: We’re stacking the deck against you there.

Jodie: But, but I will tell you, during that lonely season, and it was a lonely season-

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Jodie: … um, I really leaned into the Lord. I’m grateful that I knew Him even as a teenager, a young teen, and I think that that time, um, helped shape me and form me to know that He would never leave me and He was with me. And for a parent who has a child going through that, without friends, and maybe they’re not (laughs) as extreme as I was, but to just pray that they can sense God’s nearness, His presence, His comfort, and then continue to use your words, mom and dad, uh, Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill. Words give life. They’re either poison or fruit. You choose.” That’s the message translation of that Proverbs 18. I think we can give our kids, our loneliest kids life-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … when we speak those words over them. You are beautiful, you know? You are so kind. You are accomplished. God loves you so much. You’re his masterpiece.

Jim: You know, I totally agree. And next time when we come back, we’ll talk more about identity, identify in Christ.

Jodie: Oh, yeah, yeah. Okay.

Jim: Because it’s so critical today.

Jodie: Absolutely.

Jim: I don’t know that we can do enough, because that’s such a big well for young people, that we can do enough to fill it-

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … but we have got to concentrate on that.

Jodie: Absolutely

Jim: So they don’t get lost in some other identity-

Jodie: Right.

Jim: … other than rooted in Christ.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: Belonging to Christ, etc.

Jodie: Yep.

Jim: Let’s end on this one, and we’re gonna come back next time like we talked about and pick up the discussion there, but you warn parents about turning their teens into an idol.

Jodie: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: This is really important.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: How does that happen, and what should we be doing instead?

Jodie: Well, you know, uh, I think when you say that, don’t turn your teens into an idol, what comes to people’s minds is the idea that, oh, my kid is, uh, you know, on the varsity football team, he’s the quarterback. My daughter is homecoming queen. My child’s the-

Jim: There is a certain pride that comes with that (laughs).

Jodie: … the valedictorian. Sure. You can see how a parent can make a child an idol with that. But I want to speak to the parents whose kids are, uh, presenting concerns for them, because I think we can make our children into idols when we give into worry and fear, when we allow those concerns to take up the radar screen of our thoughts and our minds rather than God and His glory and His throne and His power.

Jim: Hmm.

Jodie: Kids can become idols when they make us so proud, and they can become idols when they make us so worried. So I would just encourage people to-

Jim: Boy, that’s so good.

Jodie: … trust their kids with the, to the Lord.

Jim: Yeah. That’s so good, Jodie. I can’t wait to get into the conversation next time, too-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and cover more of these things, like I said, identity and some of the other difficulties that teens are facing and where do parents show up. Here’s some good news. When they do the research, teenagers will say the most significant relationship they had, by far, is with their parents.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s a good thing. It’s not social media. They may not be expressing it. They’re might showing… They might be showing that distance, but they say it overwhelmingly, it’s like 75-80% of teens say, “My most important relationship is with my parents.” And that’s a good thing. So let’s build on it.

Jodie: It’s a great thing.

Jim: Um, this has been great. Uh, John, you’ve said it, if you can contact us and, and would like a copy of this, make a donation of any amount and we will send it to you as our way of saying thank you. It’s a good way to support the ministry. That’s why we do that in that way. If you buy it from another group-

John: (laughs)

Jim: … uh, through direct mail, you certainly are helping their profit, but that money is not going back into ministry. And it’s a fun way to do both, get a great resource and support ministry. So do that. One of the things that I’d like to encourage you to consider is Friends of Focus on the Family. It’s a membership drive that we have going right now. We’re trying to find 1,000 people that will step up. John and Dena do it this way, Jean and I. Uh, we support Focus on the Family monthly, and there’s about 50,000 people that are doing that right now, and we’d like to see if there’s another 1,000 that would like to join that group. So, if you can, uh, join monthly. And, again, we’ll send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah, we invite you to prayerfully consider joining the support team and be a monthly, uh, donor if you can be. Uh, if you’re not in a spot, uh, to do that, make a one-time gift of any amount. Either way, we’ll send a copy of Jodie’s terrific book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, Opening the Door for God’s Provision in Their Lives. Uh, this is such a practical, helpful resource. Get a copy from us here today when you donate, and you can call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY to do that, or stop by And don’t forget, we’ve got a link to Jodie’s 31 Days of Prayer for Your Teen’s calendar that you can print out and, uh, have that with you and pray that every day for your teens.

Jim: Jodie, again, thanks for being with us, and let’s get into it next time.

Jodie: Oh, thanks. Can’t wait.

John: And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back, as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens: Opening the Door for God's Provision in Their Lives

Receive the book Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens and the audio download of the broadcast "Praying for Your Teen's Heart and Future" for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Organizing the Chaos in Your Home

Kristi Clover, mother of 5, shares quick and simple tips to bring joy into your home by getting more organized. From clearing the clutter to choosing your top priorities, you’ll learn some techniques to make housework easy and fun for the whole family!

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Encouraging Your Kids to Discuss Their Feelings

Feelings can be confusing for children to experience and express. In this upbeat message, Dr. Joshua Straub will equip you to create a safe environment in your home, so that your children can express what they are feeling and learn how to manage their emotions.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Walking With God Through Trials (Part 2 of 2)

Michele Cushatt shares her story of walking through difficult times and how faithful God was throughout. She explores ten practices—concepts such as lament, humility, contentment, and perspective—that will help you build and strengthen your faith so you can weather those stressful seasons with God. (Part 2 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.