Listen

A study called Experiencing God took the Christian community by storm in the early 1990s. It talked about seeing what God is doing, and joining him there. At times, we want to decide what God is doing. Our wishful thinking almost makes us assume that God wants one thing in our lives and in our parenting when he may actually want something different.

Several years ago I (Sissy) counseled a young woman whose father had told her that God called her to be a Christian singer. She was definitely gifted. She had the talent to pull it off, but in her heart, she wanted to be a veterinarian.

She didn't know what to do with her dad (who, as a side note, was planning on being her manager). She didn't want to disappoint him, but she felt God was calling her somewhere else.

The kind of vision we're talking about in this chapter is not so much about what God has called your daughter to do with her life as it is about who he has called her to be. It is a vision that only comes through prayer—asking God for that vision and listening to receive it.

What do you feel God is doing in the life of your daughter? Where has he uniquely gifted her? How is he using those gifts today? Where can you imagine him using them in the future?

God is doing something in the life of your daughter, whether she is an active participant in a youth group or is saying she doesn't believe in him. He still believes in her and has placed profound gifts in her life.

Watch her as she interacts with her friends. Be a student of how she lives. Notice the subtle ways she responds to hard things . . . and hard people. You will see more of who she is as you watch her and as you listen to God.

In the listening, you find sturdier ground. You are not as tossed about with the ups and downs of her adolescent moodi-ness; you are able to have an abiding trust in God's plan for her, rather than your own; and you are able to hear and see who he is creating her to be.

In the class we offer for parents of girls, we have a group of adolescent girls come to the final session. During this class, the parents and grandparents in the audience are permitted to ask any question they would like of the girls. Recently a young mother asked every girl to name something their mothers had done that they believe had made a difference in their lives.

Five out of five girls talked about their mother's relationship with Christ. (They were asked specifically about what their mothers had done in response to the question.) One girl talked about waking early throughout her life to see her mother in the kitchen with her Bible and a cup of coffee. Another girl talked about knowing that her mother prayed for her daily. Yet another talked about knowing that her mother really sought the Lord's guidance in decisions for their family.

In other words, the mothers of these girls listened. The young mother who asked the question came up to us after class, more than a little overwhelmed, and said, "I know what girls need for a mom—they need a spiritual rock."

To have heard these teenage girls talk, their moms did sound like spiritual rocks, but we know each of these moms well. They are not spiritual rocks. They are moms who deeply and imperfectly love their daughters and who, even more importantly, want to listen so that their parenting can be guided by their own dependence on God.

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