I am ever so grateful for my friends who have children much older than mine that help me navigate through some of the tough years of parenting. I am not going to sugar coat this: Parenting teens and even early twenties young adults is tough for me. I can do toddlers all day long… maybe because with toddlers seem I can believe that I’m the one in control. But when it comes to the older years I feel like a deer in headlights and, “Oh my. What do I do?” Especially trying to navigate the world that these kids have to grow up in today. I love how God speaks to my heart and reveals certain things to me. Just this past weekend, I was having a conversation with one of my children about choices (we just so happened to be at the Auto Bell car wash). As the car drove through the wash, I continued on. “There are some choices that we may make in life that are not in line with what I would consider ‘God’s Best’ and leave us wallowing in a pit of guilt.” I was trying to explain that once these choices are made, the enemy wants to step in and rob and destroy any chance of relationship. He wants to keep you in the pit of despair… and guilt, tricking you into thinking that there is no way out. We sat there in the scorching heat and as the car rounded the corner for the finishing touches and complete cleaning on the interior, the Lord continued to nudge my heart. I paid for the Manager’s Special - a complete cleaning. So, I continued on, “There is a way out. Despite some of the bad choices we may make in life, we serve a God who loves us unconditionally.” I wanted my children (and to remind myself!) to know that we wake up every morning to Grace and Mercy. No matter what we do, we can come to a God who loves us and wants us to experience a “Manager’s Special” : A complete healing and cleansing, knowing that when He climbed up on the cross and His blood was shed, it was shed for us. With Christ, unlike Auto Bell, there are no upgrades. Christ’s love is always premium. His love, grace and mercy are universally offered with the same cleansing, detail and coverage when we come to Him with bowed hearts. I have always loved what my mom wrote in her book The Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God (a handbook for praying God’s word). She writes about guilt, "Guilt destroys the soul, for it completely negates the covenant with God’s people. Jesus died on the cross for your sins and your guilt. Remember the scripture ‘I will acknowledge my sin to you and my iniquity I will not hide…I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and the Lord will forgive the guilt of my sin’ Psalm 32:5. That is exactly what God does when you confess Him as the Son of God. If you truly accept Him and His Word and repent, you will know that and be free of all sin and guilt. You will hold fast to God’s word and nothing will cause you to doubt. Doubt brings distrust, distrust brings anguish, anguish brings fear, fear brings separation, separation brings sin, and sin brings guilt, and that guilt brings sickness to the mind, body and soul. Satan is the author of sin, guilt and death. I the Lord am the author of Life. Choose Life!"