Far too often they get a bad rap! Teenagers are really amazing individuals just trying to figure out who they are!
When I went to college, I started volunteering at my church in Bowling Green with eighth grade girls and got to be with them until their junior year of high school. I watched not just this small group of girls, but some of the teenagers from the youth group grow so in love with Jesus that they committed their lives to Christ and now that they’re in college or past college now, they’re doing crazy things for Jesus! It’s amazing.
Teenagers turn into adults!
And what I love about teenagers is that they’re learning to think for themselves!
After college, I started teaching in a middle school–with 8th graders! And I loved those students! They taught me so many life lessons, but the thing I loved the most about them is that they’re honest. They’re looking and seeking, and have all these weird crazy hormonal changes happening to them and they’re just trying to navigate it the best they can.
As their teacher, the only thing I could push them towards in the midst of tears is reminding them of the awesomeness I see in them! No matter if it was a disciplining conversation or a laugh-until-we-cried conversation, my goal was to point them to the things I saw them do right and well!
Not that long ago, Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis came across my email list of books! The subtitle says “10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter” and although I don’t have teenage daughters, I thought this would be an interesting read because it’s about loving teen girls well!
AND. I. LOVED. IT.
Kari writes specially for the mom and daughter, but to be honest, I think this book should be read by anyone with teenagers in their lives.
She gives fact based information that makes Gen Z or iGen different than any other generation that I believe is imperative to understanding and being able to relate to teens of today. Each generation has had their fair share of trails that make them unique, but it’s good to see how the different generational differences shape people from their teens into adults.
Now, Kari has a heart for teens as well! She’s written two other books for teen girls, but this is her debut book for moms! It’s fantastic! I can’t say that enough!
Not only does she speak about the generation, but she gives practical tips of what the MOM (or anyone who works with teenagers) can do. This book isn’t about fixing the teenager–which I think is critical. Kari gives advice to the mom on how to Love Her Well (hints the title). She does this in the form of lists–and I just love lists.
For example she’s giving you TEN different ways to find joy and connection, but as she breaks down each of these ten, she’s giving you more lists. Some of them range from things teenagers are challenged with today to ways you can actually surprise your daughter to communicate and show her love. Check out these pictures:
Each chapter, she gives other ways for you to either grow in understanding a teenage girl or ways for you, the reader, to love her.
My favorite list comes in the last chapter–Kari saved the BEST for LAST–and it’s on prayer! She gives FIFTY ways to pray for your daughter! I snapped a few pictures just so you could see how awesome this is!
I think the thing that makes this book so powerful is that she talks about how perfection will never be achieved. Instead she encourages the reader to press into God’s perfection. God is the only one who can do parenthood perfect. God is the only one who can walk perfectly in relationship. Kari constantly pushes the reader back to God–knowing that on earth we’re striving for progress not perfection.
As she points others back to the gospel, she shares the importance of confessing our failures or the ways we’ve sinned against others. Just like with any relationship, humbling ourselves to seek forgiveness is key. Just like what Jesus says, repent and believe, that’s Kari’s goal. She wants moms to understand that if they mess up with their daughters, the answer is the same as Jesus’ repent and believe. As you repent not just before God, but desire to seek forgiveness from your daughter, it may open the lines of communication. And if our mistakes are owned instead of blamed onto others, better relationships just might happen.
I love this! I don’t think that is something that is JUST for teenage girls and moms, but for EVERYONE. The message is the same regardless of the audience–repent and believe. Seek forgiveness from God, but also let someone know when you messed up.
Even beyond owning mistakes, Kari’s desire is to equip moms to remind their daughters of God and how God sees HIS daughters. Far too often, the truth of what God says about us is replaced with a lie from Satan. Kari shares God’s truth throughout the book for us to focus on the One who loves perfectly!
And in order to apply these chapters to your life, Kari has included reflection questions at the end of each chapter. I love these because it really makes her words not just advice, but applicable. She even encourages the book to be read with a small group of women–but she cautions on how much to share about your teen girl in order to protect your relationship with her.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a mom or even if you have teenagers in your life, this book left me challenged.
How are you doing when it comes to loving well?
Do you desire more to be understood or to be right? Or do you desire to understand and LISTEN?
When it comes to love, only God does it perfectly.
Are we pressing into God to show us how to speak truth in love?
These are hard questions to think about simply because it challenges you to think beyond yourself and what you want. And when we’re confronted with the idea that we’re not loving others well, our selfishness is revealed.
What do you do with that?
Run to Jesus. Confess it before Him and leave it at His feet. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to love like Jesus loves–pushing aside your selfishness.
God isn’t surprised by your sin, and He’s not expecting perfection. Instead He’s calling you and me into walking with the Perfector of our faith to make us more holy and more like Him.
It’s progress, not perfection.
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2
GIVEAWAY: If you’re interested in reading Love Her Well, click here for a chance to win the book!
PURCHASE: And if you want to snag a copy in the meantime, it’s pretty much available anywhere, but I love 2-Day Shipping from Amazon! So here’s the Amazon link! 🙂
FREEBIES: If you go ahead and purchase the book, make sure to go HERE to get all the FREEBIES that come alongside of it!
Happy Reading!! ENJOY!