Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Lesson in Parenting

Since summer break began, McKayla’s social calendar has been quite the buzz in our house. The first weekend after school was out, she was invited to go out on the lake with another family and was so excited at the invitation. Everything within me was screaming NO! I could think of lots of reasons not to allow her to go, but I was also sensing that it was time to give her a little freedom. Reluctantly, we let her granted her request, and chose to trust that God’s hand was upon her. I will be honest and tell you that I prayed many times that day for her safety because I love her so much that it hurts and cannot bear the thought of something happening to her. God did watch over her and He brought her safely home to us, but she came home with some questions. It all started with something as simple as a radio station.

She realized while out with her friends that “everybody” doesn’t listen to Christian music and for the first time felt “uncool” toward those around her. She felt this way because she didn’t know the words to the songs they were singing. I could feel my motherly pride welling up when she started to tell me that she asked to change the station to KLove, but that proudness turned to pain when she explained that they didn’t listen to it for long. No one else in the car knew the songs. For the first time in her young life, she was faced with the choice to follow the crowd or stand for Christ. Her question for us when she returned home was if she could start listening to stations other than Christian radio.

My heart sank, I felt like a part of my “baby” was fading away and that our window of influence had just gotten smaller. Granted, this wasn’t a “big deal” morally or spiritually speaking, (it could have been much worse) but it was a great teaching opportunity for us. We explained to her that it’s not necessarily “wrong” to listen to other music, but it’s not what’s best for us. If she has Jesus in her heart, her body is His temple, and we should be careful what we allow into that temple. We also told her that the longer and closer she walks with Jesus, the smaller the crowd around her will get, and there may be times when she feels like it is just her and Him. After a long talk with her, we did not forbid her changing what she listened to, we told her the choice was hers. I wanted so much to just flat out say “NO! Absolutely not, this is my house and you will follow MY rules!” But I didn’t. I tucked her in bed that night, prayed with her, and chose to trust God with the rest. I felt we had done the best job we knew to do in teaching her what God’s Word says, teaching her to honor Him with her life, and to flee from evil. The choice was hers.

Todd and I were both a little sad when we went to bed that night, but it didn’t take God long to show us hope. The next day she went in her room, turned on the other station and began listening. Much to our amazement, before even the first song finished, she turned it off and put on one of her Christian CD’s. When asked why, her answer was “the things they were singing just weren’t appropriate and I didn’t want to hear it.” I will tell you I had my own little celebration with God when I heard that!

As I drove home from work that day, I was replaying everything in my mind and I realized that God does this with us everyday. He has given us everything we need to live life in a godly manner (1Pet 1:3), but He lets us try it on our own and gives us the chance to make our own decisions. He wants us to do what is right, but a mere demand is empty of the sacrifice and love required in a choice. A choice shows the heart. This decision McKayla made meant so much more to her and to us than any of our demands could have ever made. That’s why our obedience is so special to Him. Our obedience is a choice, our love for Him is a choice, so when we choose Him over the things of this world, it brings Him joy unspeakable.

Amy Dotson, RPDOTK (Royal Princess Daughter Of The King)
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