In June 2010 my husband and I traveled to New York for a six-day vacation to celebrate our 11th anniversary in the Big Apple. It was a special time spent together touring touching places like the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the World Trade Center site and Ellis Island. We crammed all we could into our opportunity there. One thought consistently crossed my mind as we traveled about the city; God knew each and every individual we passed.
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Perhaps being from a small town contributes to the fascination I have in looking at numerous different faces in big cities. I had these same thoughts years ago when traveling in Europe with my high school. This obviously continued into my adulthood. Even on our family Disney trips I’ll save parade spots and just “people watch.” But something about standing in Time Square with the massive digital signs, towering buildings, commotion of traffic and diversity of people amazed me there was not a familiar face around, but there was to my Heavenly Father. He created each and every one of those individuals and He knew each and every one of their names and their stories. But did they know Him? And if not, what kept them from knowing a God who loves them so?
The opinions and assumptions to those questions could be as numerous as the faces I’ve seen. But it’s a thought that leads me right to my own backyard. And my answer goes right back to the Big Apple.
Parents desire to impart to their children what is most important to them, and for us, our faith is the foundation of our home, of our life. So what could possibly keep our children from clinging to the faith we are so dedicated? Distractions. At times, it’s like having massive digital signs, towering buildings, commotion of traffic all right here in our living room. Even things that seem good can be a distraction from the goodness God has in store. Things like friends, relationships, school, beauty, and popularity to name a few.
You may be wondering, “Where did this come from?” Well, this comes from my current experiences with raising our teenage daughter. There are continual discussions around our kitchen table after the boys go to bed. And although I light heartedly say I’ll need a vacation after she is raised, it is nothing but true how incredibly exhausting it is to reiterate and use her current life situations to illustrate the principles and values we have spoke into her life from the beginning. But one thing I know for sure, I know we will look back and be assured that we gave it our all.
Our greatest tool is talking. I can’t count how many times she has said, “Hmm. Well, I never thought about it like that.” WHY??? Because she is thirteen. Our kids need our help in such a big way, because they are encountering life with no life experience. And maybe their experiences and challenges are different from our experiences and challenges. What do we do then? We pray. We discuss what God’s Word says. We ask for wisdom.
For instance, I never considered the challenges beauty could bring to one’s life until now. My experiences were quite different from my daughter’s. Nevertheless, could still be as equally destructive.
In this self obsessed culture of social media and “selfies,” it is easy to see how a young woman could become fogged with the presentation of her package over the contents of her heart, her character, her talents and her mind. It is obvious that an emphasis on appearance and continual peer approval can inflate a young girl’s ego. Have you ever encountered a person who is more concerned with the attention they get than any depth of devotion? This paves the way for shallow relationships and narcissistic behavior.
Sometimes we are puzzled with questions of confidence. But is it their confidence that some girls struggle? Or is their beauty their feeling of control or their source of experiencing a little power? We’ve observed it in the business world, but how about in the school halls?
Inversely, there are beautiful young women who are innocent of their appearance. Their abilities could be disregarded as just a pretty face. Flattery words could be mistaken for genuineness. Expressions of affections could be incorrectly received as sincere. This results in damaging their security in order to feed someone else’s ego.
As much as I longed to hear the complimentary words of others, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I was never distracted by such, but rather forced to dig deep to find my beauty. Silencing the voices of flattery was never an issue in my life; silencing the voices of ridicule was. But the latter made me aware of a beauty that will never age or wrinkle, and that is beauty of the heart.
We may not be standing in Time Square, but there is plenty of commotion; there are plenty of distractions. We know them by names like twitter, instagram, phones, and school, to name a few.
May you be blessed as you guide your precious daughter to be who God has called her to be; in all the noise, may she hear His voice.
Keeping it real with our girls……
Psalm 12:3 NIV May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue.
Proverbs 7:21 NLT So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery.
Proverbs 26:28 NIV A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Proverbs 28:23 NLT In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.
Proverbs 29:5 NLT To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
Romans 16:17-18 NIV I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
Proverbs 31:30 NLT Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
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