The Home With The Open Door – Powerful Parenting–by Lynn Donovan
It started with a pound of hamburger.
Yep, I discovered a door of trust and a bridge to relationships, as well as a ton of laughter, opened up in our home when I was in the kitchen with a pound of ground beef. In the very early years of parenting both my son and my daughter, I committed to making my home a place where my children’s friends were always welcome. As my kids grew, and even now as my daughter is a senior in high school, kids unexpectedly show up at our house to hang out.
As the noise enters the house, I ask, “How was your day?” followed by, “Are you hungry?” The answer to the first question often varies, but the answer to the second is always a loud and exuberant yes!
Thus the hamburger, and twenty minutes later, we have tacos for everyone. I’ve become known in teen circles around my town as Mexican-Food Mama. The teens chide me as they walk in, asking, “Hey, are we having tacos?” knowing full well what the answer will be. I smile at their kidding around and thank our Lord that I am accepted into their highly stressful and culturally challenging world. I am a voice in their lives. And it all started with a taco. Who knew?
What I’ve slowly realized is that, almost by accident, I’ve created a soft place to land for my children and their friends. Over the years, while kids munched on tacos and tortilla chips, I lingered with them in the kitchen, participating in something rare and special. I became part of their world, learning about their friendships and their families. I joined in laughter as they relived some crazy antic that took place in the drama class, and I empathized with them as they conveyed their complaints about their school projects, their challenging teachers and their troubles at home. My daughter and her best friend included me as they talked about their fears and concerns for students who were choosing the troubled path of drugs, and they shared their concern and pain with me about a friend of theirs who had decided to have sex with her boyfriend.
Over time and with intention, I’ve built relationships with these kids. I’ve welcomed them to step through our open door, and I have loved each one of them. My token offering of a taco turned out to be a rich investment in a number of young people. I’ve developed relationships through love and acceptance by purposely leaving judgments about these kids’ clothes, music choices, sexual identities, hairstyles, etc. at the front door. I’m a safe adult in a world in which many kids don’t know what it feels like.
Being the parent with the open door actually reduces my mom-stress. I know where my child is, and I know whom she is with. The open door also allows me something far more important: it lets me know what to pray for my daughter and her friends as they try to navigate the difficulties of adolescence.
I think it goes without saying that friendships bear significant influence on our children’s choices, on how they process life and on how they react to the world around them. As a praying mom, I’m compelled to bring these teens before God in prayer, and more importantly, I bring my son and daughter before God with requests, concerns and hopes. I want God’s wisdom, power and love to influence and impact my children and their friends. So I pray words from a mother’s heart.
Having been a mom now for more than 30 years, I’m convinced that a mother’s prayer is one of the most powerful on earth. Read this passage from James with me: “The prayer of a righteous man (woman) is powerful and effective” (5:16). My friends, this passage is amplified when a mom whispers words filled with passion, seeking God’s protection, intervention and wisdom for her children.
It’s my hope that you will also be a mom who is the keeper of The Open Door. ~Lynn Donovan
In Not Alone, you’ll find encouragement and inspiration from Scripture and true-life stories from other spiritually mismatched moms. Plus, find practical tips for capturing teachable moments with eternity in mind, and discovery questions to help you grow as a parent.
This is a parenting book, but it’s much more. It’s a love letter to all mothers—a message that changes our homes, our kids and our lives. It’s about the Father’s love that impacts those around us and changes ordinary moms into women of extraordinary grace, beauty and wisdom.
You may sometimes feel you’re on your own when it comes to godly parenting, but Jesus promised to be with you always. You’re not alone!
Lynn Donovan is a women’s ministry leader, a retreat/conference speaker and an ordinary mom and wife who shares with audiences her everyday adventures of living in the Presence of God. Her delight is igniting women’s hearts with Holy Spirit fire. And to encourage women to step fully into their high and holy calling of marriage and motherhood with joy, laughter and God’s favor. She has been featured guest on The Miracle Channel, 700 Club Interactive, Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk and FamilyLife Today. She is the coauthor of the award winning book, Winning Him Without Words and her newest parenting book title is, Not Alone. Lynn lives with her husband in Temecula, California and they have two adult children, daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. Visit Lynn online at mismatchedandthriving.com.