How can I teach the girls to be holy and set apart from this world? How do I know which relationships with non- believers are ministry and which are destructive to their faith? How do I monitor behaviors and attitudes when they are among their peers without seeming rigid or legalistic? How do I train them up in the way they should go, while allowing them to play among those who are probably going another direction?
These are my thoughts and prayers recently, as I tiptoe into the waters of mothering a "tween". Cailin is 10, and tends to be a little more innocent than many others her age, partly due to attending a Christian school, and partly because of our home. Still, I have become aware that I may have become a little more lax, a little more tolerant, than I would hope. I have permitted her and her sister to watch tv that I don't approve of just because I felt I was constantly saying "no". I have allowed her to wear clothing that was offensive to me (obviously nothing risque, of course, but just personally offensive to me) because I questioned my attitude, wondering if I was being too uptight.
Many of my friends, who are also Christians, are much more lenient with their daughters, and I think I was feeling a little old fashioned and out of touch. I wasn't concerned with "fitting in", but I was allowing others perceptions of my decisions to affect me. I asked God to show me where I have missed His mark and to guide me in the boundaries I should establish for the girls. Today He met me in my devotional time as I watched a favorite ministry program.
Lisa Bevere was speaking about her new book "Kissed The Girls and Made Them Cry", which is a study in cultivating purity in our daughters. Her words went straight to my heart as she reminded me that God's call for purity in our minds and bodies is not old fashioned or inhibiting. His ideals for our lives are freeing and liberating, as we are able to walk in the blessing of His wisdom and pleasure when we obey His Words. Lisa said that as Christians, we are constantly struggling to see how far we can go before we fall out of favor, or actually sin against God. Yet that isn't what we are called to. God didn't issue commands so we could follow rules. He created them so we would have safe parameters in which to experience the fullness of joy only He can provide.
What encouragement this was to me. God knew that I needed the reminder that our decisions, though temporarily sometimes painful to the girls, are still the right choices and in their best interest. We are raising them to be holy, not necessarily happy, and need to keep the ultimate goal in mind.
Thank You God, for speaking to me about those precious girls. Please strengthen me in my resolve to protect them from those things that are harmful, and I ask the Holy Spirirt to bring to my attention any areas that I am lacking in. You are a mighty and gracious God. Thank You for loving me.