Saturday, October 26, 2013

Concessions of the Heart: The Domino Effect of Our Every Day Decisions

I still remember taking her in to the nursery to say goodbye to my co-workers when the tears erupted like Mount Vesuvius.  Grace was bundled tight in her five point harness, looking up at me as if to say, “What’s next?”

I had no idea.  Sleep was on forefront on my mind.

Sweet Loretta put her arm around me and asked what was wrong.  I could have blamed it on the hormones.  I could have said exhaustion.  But the truth was after my husband I and spent years crying out to God for a baby He had answered and now I suddenly felt a frightening mix of thanks that the Lord allowed us to be parents and sheer fright that we were now fully responsible for the upbringing of this innocent child.  “I can’t believe we get to take her home.”

 

I am sitting at my computer at the stroke of midnight.  Now a mother of three time is not my own and restful nights a distant memory.  Writing work begs of being done and in my inbox sits a slew of emails, the last from a student who knows Pam Stenzel and my name from a book spine.  I know not what she looks like - only a name and age - yet everything in me wants to reach through my computer and give her a hug.  Her story rocks me.  Her parents let her date very young.  Too emotionally immature to handle the issues that accompany that privilege she made a choice that has left her an expectant mother.  A baby having a baby.  A house divided.  Futures at stake.

I shut the computer to call it a night.  In a few hours my alarm would go off and the morning excitement was sure to be on high given the fall parties happening at school that day.  I needed sleep.  Only I couldn’t sleep because I felt for everyone in what had to feel a cold house.  My heart pounded for a baby at the mercy of an adolescent mother with unrealistic expectations for the future.  My heart ached for this girl who felt alone.  My heart hurt for her parents who had to be feeling massive regret because, while their daughter had to own the choice to have premarital sex, it was their blessing to allow dating before she could even drive that placed her in a position to unlock powerful questions and emotions long before the proper time.

We can give an inch and unravel a spiritual mile.

This is with every decision you make, my child.

I hate it when God decides to work on my heart at night J  But I suppose I should be used to it.  Walking in faith requires us to be alert at all times, never turning our eyes from Truth or shutting them from reality because when we do we can pretty much expect a slow fade to follow.

“This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 31:21

These are big Scriptural shoes to fill but He promises His presence to guide us along the way.  And, whether we are making decisions for ourselves or in the parenting of children, we need to be conscious that any step, no matter how seemingly small, from the biblical path will open the door to the potential exploration of understandings not of the Lord and ways of living apart from Him that could lead to some very painful detours.

I’m not dealing with dating or sex with my girls….yet.  (And, Lord, if you want to use my work in purity ministry to scare any wayward boys away that would be lovely).   But in that moment of insomnia God was revealing to me just how consequential all the seemingly “little” choices we make are.

Are the web sites we let them visit and games we let them play promoting respect for life or corruption?

Are the underwear we’re pulling off the shelves to purchase for them speaking of child blamelessness or inviting a modesty meltdown that begins the exploration of sexy that'll attract them to the “Bright Young Things” line before they are bright enough to understand the message it sends?  (And why are those basic covering cottons next to impossible to find, by the way?)

Are the shows/movies we let them tune into filled with language that encourages niceness or do they teach tearing others down? 

Do the lyrics to the music they’re listening to defile others or promote God’s design?

Do I talk about food and exercise in a way that minimizes their body to a number or tells them of the temple their body is made special by their Creator?

Are they in the presence of friends that live well or not?

I’m becoming increasingly aware just how awake I need to be because I don’t think there is such thing as a menial decision anymore.  EVERY yes and no we make has an effect on another decision made.  The enormity of this truth nearly sucks my breath away.  I want my kids to love what is good and God honoring so much that they aren’t enticed by the side steps and detours.  I want to live my life in a way that sets a good example.

I know I won’t get it all right.  And, I know that my kids don’t get immunity even with my line of work and they will make mistakes their own. (Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness)  But, I can choose to be intentional.  I can choose to be the parent and not the friend.  I can choose to lean in on God’s promise to qualify me in all I face.

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