“Mom, Can you come in here? I think there’s a mouse in my room. A Barbie just fell.”
For the record, I hate mice and if I had any fear there actually could be a mouse I would’ve sent my husband. But, with a history of zero mice in the house and a brimming over the top of the basket Barbie collection, my confidence in the situation led me right into her room.
“Honey, there is no mouse, “ I assured. “Were the Barbies piled high over the top?”
“So do you think it’s reasonable that you accidentally just knocked her over getting back into bed?”
“Ya, that makes the most sense.”
I thought our conversation was done and pivoted to exit the room.
“Mom, how do you know who you are going to date? I mean, you can’t just be walking around and then all of a sudden be dating.”
Why do these conversations always come from left field? Weren’t we just worried about a mouse?
She loves 19 Kids and Counting and on recent episodes Jill is preparing for marriage. Knowing this was going to be a longer chat, I crawled into bed beside her.
“Long before you date any boy you think about the qualities you want in a date. Things like knowing them well, that they love Jesus, and that they treat girls nice… because you only want to go on a date with someone that respects you and dad approves of. It’s important to be slow and selective.”
“I know some boys who love Jesus and treat girls nice in my class, mom,” Hannah pipes in from the top bunk. “Should I start a list of potentials for when I’m older?”
That girl is always good for comic relief and, while it came from a true place of sincerity in her heart, I was grateful for the laughter it bubbled, lightening the moment.
“You can wait, Hannah. We aren’t dating anyone before we’re 16. You’ve got some years to focus just on friendship.”
I’m ready to go but the wheels are still clearly spinning in Grace’s head.
“So if you’re careful about who you date then how do you know if the person you date is the person you are supposed to marry?”
She’s N-I-N-E! I know this is the planting of seeds and falls directly into the lap of my work but I’m still a normal parent, desperately praying to get this right.
“That takes time too. And a whole lotta prayer. As you date and talk to God and that person about how you are feeling God shows you if you are better together. Your dad is my best friend. We love being together but we also strengthen each other in tough times or when we are sad, and he inspires me to live for God in all the decisions we make. God gave me a ‘for sure’ feeling that I didn’t want to spend a day without him.”
“Okay. So when should I be married by?”
I smiled through the darkness at the innocence of a curious little person trying to figure out what makes a fulfilling, successful life. “Not everyone gets married. The best life comes in living for The One not in finding someone. You just need to listen to His voice and trust it always because God has a plan for your joy and ignoring what He desires for you always leads to pain.”
“Alright. Thanks for the talk and picking up my Barbie.”
I exited their room and promptly rewarded myself with a huge peppermint patty stuffed chocolate cookie bar. Holy cow did I deserve it and boy was I thankful to return to the mundane folding of the laundry.
However, as I folded, I peered into their room. Two tiny little heads, crazy hair all over their face, who mean the world to me. Two girls I wish I could shield of every pain. Two girls I pray never settle.
So what of the purity ring thing?
Like many of you my husband and I intend to one day have special one on one dates with each of our girls to accompany the “big talk” and gift them with a reminder of their value, giving object permanence to the importance of their life, body, and purity.
And God makes very clear ALWAYS POINT TO ME.
In a world of Barbie and Disney where happily ever after most often comes in the finding of a spouse we need to be mindful as parents that the underlying messages and giving of these somewhat common gifts doesn’t sell self-completion through marriage. To do so is to set some of our children up for feelings of failure and it makes their primary focus finding “the one” instead of keeping a steadfast mind on “THE ONE” who truly has their best at heart. Motivation is found in the flesh rather than experiencing true reward in the Spirit. It sends the message, “I am not complete until…”
I never want that for my girls and I’m quite confident you don’t want that for your kids either.
So it is with that in mind that one day we will present a gift with the message, “Wear this as a reminder of The Bridegroom that loves you more than any human ever will. Trust in His heart and his boundaries and live for Him because then eternal fulfillment will be yours. Please wear this as a reminder that you ARE whole. And if, one day, a man of God blesses your life, take it off for the ring symbolizing a life committed to jointly serve, but always keep this as memento of who you are.”
And then I shall promptly reward myself with dessert once more J
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