It’s noon. I get a distress call from a sweet friend asking for prayer and counsel about some things her daughter is going through. And now, just a few hours later I find myself sharing her distress as the floors … Continue reading
Yes I am one of “those” moms. The kind that have their kids passwords to social websites and check frequently to ensure that content is appropriate. But the other night on one of my checks I saw a message to my daughter that I didn’t expect. “I wish I had made a better first impression with your mom and that she liked me as much as she likes your other friend.” For the first time I felt a bit guilty that I had seen this private message.
For the last year, we have carpooled a young girl, after she received Christ. nearly every Sunday and Wednesday. And it was this ride home on Wednesday night that gave me the opportunity to talk to her about her Facebook message. I had prayed throughout the day about the conversation and felt lead by the Holy Spirit to share very specific things with her.
Here are a few things I shared. First she didn’t make a bad first impression. In fact, of all of my daughter’s friends, their friendship in many ways is the easiest. But easy relationships are not the only ones we should have. We shouldn’t shy away from those people that challenge us. That will confront us. That will push us even when it is uncomfortable. I explained that I didn’t have a favorite but that I recognized different girls had different strengths and that I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what I saw as her strengths.
I wasn’t even slightly embellishing when I expressed I thought she may very well have the greatest impact in bringing people to church and Christ than any young girl I have ever met. She is one of those girls that people tell their secrets to. The kind that makes you feel so accepted that you don’t question being judged. Even in this last year she had asked me for help in talking to a few friends that had shared with her they were starting to experiment with drugs, and another that had told her he was planning to take his life.
I also knew that every time they are compelled to invite friends to church she doesn’t just invite a close friend that goes to another church…. she invites everyone. She invites every kid that dresses differently, has different family dynamics, different socioeconomic status, everyone! Every friend in her contacts list gets texted invitations and not just one. This girl is a future social media-marketing executive. She really goes aggressive. Her strength is LOVE.
But she isn’t strong in all areas, and coming home to a family that doesn’t support your walk with Christ makes it difficult for her to navigate a path to growth in Christ. That is where I expressed the “other friend” is strong. She is committed to Christ. She is committed to daily Bible reading and is in church every time the doors are open. She is structured and disciplined and really a “model” young person in many ways…. and yes I want my daughter to continue investing in that friendship as well.
I explained this to her. I talked to her about her calling and gift to reach out to students that were in really difficult situations. I shared a story to help her understand.
A few summers ago we were at a hotel that had a slide that emptied into the deeper end of the pool. Although Kendall could hold her own she over estimated her strength when she beckoned her little 2-year-old brother to come down the slide into her arms. “I can catch you she said.” Within seconds it was necessary for my husband to jump in and save them both. You see, she wasn’t strong enough to handle the weight of another person. I shared that if God was going to use her to reach some of the most difficult and broken young people in her school she would need to be strong enough to not be pulled under when they relied on her strength.
I shared that I prayed for a day when those in their school that love God would help each other in their areas of weakness. A day where the girl who found it easy to love would encourage those who quickly judge to love others outside of their circle. A day when those who had passion for God would share their habits and offer encouragement and accountability. (I know….idealism runs deeply through my veins but I am convinced I get it from my Abba Father.) OK, I know this is long and in that way is true to our conversation but I will wrap up my blow by blow story by mirroring what I did with her that evening…..a summation and prayer.
I was so thankful that the Holy Spirit directed the conversation and allowed me to know that she wasn’t feeling valued because she wasn’t the “perfect Christian girl with the perfect Christian family.” That feeling “safe” as a mom was not more important than being used to reach others. Trust me I am tempted to envy those who have kids who seem content to stay in a tight little boundary, and only invite others in that reflect their same highest standards and requirements. I have come to realize that is not my lot. My kids are going to reach out far beyond that box. And in so doing, they keep me on my knees. I am thankful that their hearts reflect Christ by reaching those who need Him. Because He came to seek and save the lost, not stroke the egos of those who claimed righteousness. So I guess when I have prayed to make my kids more like Christ, I shouldn’t be surprised that it will stretch me, put me on my knees, and look different from the safe picture I have been far too willing to paint.
Lord, thank You for continuing to reveal Yourself to me. For moving in my children. For stretching me. For being my faithful partner on this journey of parenting. Oh how I love You!