I want my 15-year-old daughter, Sam, to say all the right things, no matter what situation she encounters.
“Sam, want to get high?”
“Try a sip of this beer?”
“No thanks. Got milk?”
“Sneak out and meet me in the middle of the night?”
“Egads! I’m not that kind of girl.”
Unfortunately, I can’t make my girl say or do just the right thing as she grows up. I can’t protect her as much as I’d like. The only thing I can do is offer encouragement in the good things and consequences for choices that harm her.
Recently, I had to follow through on consequences that made Sam angry. She stormed off to her room and gave me the silent treatment. I could see thoughts flashing out of her eyes—thoughts that had me locked up in the unreasonable mom asylum, not to return until I’d learned the true definition (and inherent importance) of cool.
A few days after our blowout, I was exercising, singing to God in off-key but heartfelt worship. Sam came up to me. “You really love God, don’t you?”
I smiled. “Yeah, I really do.”
She kissed my cheek, gently, like a grown-up.
Later that night, she went to a youth gathering. As part of their evening, they were to write down their dreams, what they want to be when they grow up. Then they put their slips of paper in a huge fire, setting their dreams before God.
Later, Sam told me what she’d written: “I want to love You, God. I want to love You like my mom loves You.”
Tears came to my eyes. There it was. The most important thing. Sam may not always make the best choice. Nor will I. But if I can love God and reflect Him to her, and if she can call out to Him and build a real relationship, then what is true and right will prevail. Because knowing God’s deep love will keep Sam from all that is counterfeit and broken.
So from here on, that’s my prayer: for Sam to know the life-changing, incredible love of her Saviour.
Elsa Kok Colopy lives in Bella Vista, Ark.