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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clothed By God.


It’s that time of year again…
stripping away the layers of clothes that cover us in the winter …
warmer summer weather leads to this shedding
And always the struggle…modesty…dresses…shorts…and shirts …
Searching for clothes that will actually cover.

My near sixteen-year-old daughter is in the middle of this war.
How I want to wave a magic wand and transport us to the other side…
Where maturity rules…being fully responsible for choices…
but there is no short cut to maturity…
for either one of us.

So I sit in the Target dressing room… sharing my heart.
Trying not to share in a bullying way(Ann’s wisdom)…not mandating her to conform…
but rather to help her find her own convictions in this area.

“What if God doesn’t give me the same conviction?”
I thought…”Oh, if we really want conviction…
and I am not talking about a rule to follow…
but a conviction growing from a heart of love…
a giving up of ourselves to Him in love…
letting go because we see how much He loves us.
He does bring His conviction…or a better word…His Freedom.

As I sit in the dressing room…I am rethinking my role as a parent…
Is it our job as parents to give our children our convictions…rules to live by?
I no longer think so…
Ours is to help them develop their own Love relationship.
Isn’t it true that love relationships take time to grow and mature into sacrificial love?
When Love is the motive….
a conviction transforms from a negative action…
to a positive love offering.
As parents we need to provide a safe place so this love affair can be cultivated.
And in a garden of Love our children will choose…
They will plant their own convictions.

So by the grace of God…I give room for the Lover of HER soul to come…
Come and woo her as He has me…
And by the grace of God…We walk to the car with only a pair of sandals…
she declares…”Mom, we are getting better at this…you are always telling me when you see changes in me…I just wanted to tell you, I see changes in you too!”

Maybe we did not find the earthly clothes we were searching for…
Oh, but thanks be to God…we became clothed…
clothed with more of His Grace…more of His beauty.

We got in the car and drove home…
Not harboring usual frustrations…
 But with hearts full of thankfulness and joy.J



Join me at Ann’s, Emily @ Imperfect Prose and Jennifer @ God-Bumps.  
I promise you will be blessed!!

37 comments:

  1. Hooray for you and your daughter! This was excellent advice and as our girl is a tween...it must have been so encouraging for you and for her...praying God continues to woo both of you with His love...thanks, dear Ro :)

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    1. Thank-you Dolly...I am so thankful that God continues to work and mature us both...a sweet blessing from God...blessings to you as you raise your tween:)

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  2. When love is the motive...yes, it's love that changes and transforms. Not rules and laws. I am always so blessed when I visit here. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Christina...thank-you for your kind words...yes...only LOVE really transforms...blessings to you~

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  3. I have totally been thinking along these lines for my parenting lately, as well. John Piper's classic book, Desiring God, has really influenced some of the reasons behind what I teach my children. And, like you said, what the *goal* is.

    Thank you for saying it so well!

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    1. keli...thanks for stopping by...to keep our eye on the “goal”...not conformity...but transformation...blessings to you~

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  4. Your writing is so deep and so beautiful and it always ministers. What a blessing!!! And oh how love does transform, just like God's love for us. Love wooed your daughter, and she made a God-honoring choice and heard your convictions at a deep, heart-level. We have seen this in our daughter's life as I have shared with her why modesty honors God and helped set parameters for modest dressing. And she has dressed modestly in high school and now in college, so unlike many of her friends. I can honestly say that I don't tell her to. She wants to. What a joy! That said, I do believe that there are times when, as parents, we make rules or guidelines--whatever one calls them to protect our children from themselves, when they make wrong choices, such as dressing immodestly. And this, too, we do out of love. This would not necessarily change when a child (still at home, still under our care) reaches a certain age.....if they are not making right choices. Sadly, at our daughter's former high school (and a Christian one), I can't tell you the vulgarity that I witnessed among the girls (everything hung out), and it was very disturbing. I wondered where those parents were? This was not just something occasional, but ubitquetous at the school. It did not honor Christ, and I can see how it was a strong temptation to the boys. I went to the headmaster to voice concern, in love, because it was against the "rules" that the school itself had set forth, but moreover, because I knew that if long-established habits of immodesty were not changed it could severely hurt these girls in the long run. Somebody needed to speak up and ask that the rules be followed. And things changed. I think some of the hearts of the girls did too. But that said, sometimes rules are helpful to keep us in line until our hearts can catch up. God, too, sets down commands. We seek to obey them. But we know He gives us commands to protect us, and that is one wonderful way that He demonstrates His love for us. I"m so glad things worked the way you wanted them to and that you and your daughter worked things out on a loving, relational level. I am not discounting that for one second. I would simply add that when that doesn't happen, it's fine for a parent to step in and take the lead and give a directive, which a child will need to follow. Thank you so much for sharing!! ANd a wonderful book on modesty is called, The Beauty of Modesty: Cultivating Virtue in the Face of a Vulgar Culture by David Vaughan. This is a deep, Scriptural book, which will guide women who guide their children. I would add too that often as parents simply model modesty, themselves, children follow. Immodesty, sadly, runs rampant in our church pews every Sunday morning. Thank you again for opening this discussion! You're wonderful!

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    1. lynn...thanks...yes coming from the world God had to do a work in my heart too...teaching me modesty is done in the heart...my oldest (29)...wanted to understand the struggles of a man...she chose to read every young man’s battle...this helped her respect the way God made a man...and help her form her own convictions. I think many mom’s will wake up when they have son’s...and when those son’s have a heart for purity...it breaks my heart still to see how my son’s have to struggle in places where they should be find some relief from the world.
      blessings to you Lynn~

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    2. THanks, Ro. And wow! I should have added that I understand this all too well, because in my 20s, I dressed like a harlot (and I say that when it wasn't by today's standards of immodesty). I just know that after God saved me, I knew I could no longer dress provocatively--tight outfits, etc. I wasn't baring things, but it was still provocative, and then.....God changed my heart! That is what you are saying. (Like Kay Arthur says), I just knew I could no longer dress that way. It was an inside job--a heart change--that manifest modesty in my life. How I thank God for saving a wretch like me and changing me from the inside out. You are a blessing. Keep writing His truth.
      Fondly,
      Lynn

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  5. Yes, our goal as parents should be to help our children form their own "love relationship" with God. So true.
    So good to be here today. Beautiful post and pictures. :)

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    1. Danelle...glad you stopped by...blessings to you~

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  6. You're learning to mother well, Ro. And I'm taking notes, because it seems you are on the right track. So glad we share a Savior who is the Master teacher and Lover of our Souls!

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    1. Beth...well I have been at this long enough...I guess I am a slow learner...so thankful we have a patient and kind teacher...blessings to you~

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  7. Ours is to help them develop their own Love relationship...i love that...and i def think that at a certain level of maturity we have to allow that...otherwise it is not real and our relationship with god makes a poor surrogate for their own...nice thought provoker here...

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    1. Brian...oh yes”our relationship with God makes a poor surrogate for their own...”...thanks and have a blessed day~

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  8. "Ours to help them find their own love relationship." I believe that from the depths of my heart! Giving them room allows God to speak--and I've found my daughter wanting to obey God is so much easier than obeying a rule. You've put this is words so beautifully.

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    1. Thank you Pamela...for our children to connect to the God of the universe in a real and loving way...when that happens...who doesn’t want to obey more...blessings~

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  9. As a mom of a 17-year-old that I went shopping with last Friday, I can SO appreciate this post. It's a hard thing, to be this parent who comes alongside your child instead of just telling them what to do. But as they grow, we grow too. You sound like a wonderful mama.

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    1. Lisa...oh I am a work in progress...maybe that is why God stretched out my children...13yrs from oldest to youngest...He knew I was a slow learner...but so thankful He is a patient teacher...blessings as we continue to grow in Christ... together with our children~

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  10. Wise parenting yields such wonderful results. Hooray for you and your daughter!

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    1. Becky...oh those moments are a gift indeed...so glad you dropped in...blessings~

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  11. you have such a way with words. so glad i found you today.

    janelle

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    1. oh I am so glad you came by...I will try to drop in your place....blessings to you~

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  12. oh my friend, i love these photos, and this post. how it makes me long for a daughter of my own. what a beautiful mama you are.

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    1. Emily...oh maybe one day...you would be a great momma to a little girl...blessings to you as you raise those boys right now~

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  13. I love the way you and your daughter share with each other about "seeing changes" in one another. What a positive, encouraging environment you have fostered in your home.

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    1. Jennifer...grace...grace...He is faithful. glad you stopped by...blessings~

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  14. Oh, I love this. How I remember the conflicts oldest daughter and I used to have out shopping! If I'd only read this all those years ago!

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    1. Elizabeth...I have been at this a long time...eldest almost 30...I guess I am a slow learner...but God is so kind and patient...thanks for dropping in...blessings to you~

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  15. This is beautiful. I have a 9yr. old girl and a 13yr. old son, and I'm so thankful for the teachable moments that come. I'm even more thankful when God shuts my mouth, so that I can hear before speaking :)

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    1. Thank-you Lori...Oh don’t you love those moments when you know God has come and given clear guidance. thanks for stopping in...blessings~

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  16. that....is a good story.
    I just love that mothering lesson...and the visual.
    thank you.
    T

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  17. How I love your wisdom (and feel your angst as I try to train my 12 year old daughter in modesty as well.) Mothering is no small job! Glad I stopped by- from Emily's link today

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  18. It is a lot easier to parent by throwing our convictions on our children, but handing our children over to God is so much harder. That is an inner battle I find myself in on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing this story.

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  19. The pictures and explanations made me grin. Good thinking.

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  20. With a 12 year old daughter and a 10 year old daughter, I am just beginning this journey. Thanks for providing some wisdom about being clothed with His grace in the midst of finding earthly clothes!! More important to help them grow in a Love relationship rather than merely adopt our convictions -- YES!!

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  21. Ells - I just love this! Such wisdom! So true how our children's own choices must come from their own LOVE relationship w/ Christ. I need to remember that sometimes. Was just in target w/ my 16 yr old daughter yesterday too....trying on swimsuits. :) Can't tell you how much I struggled w/ this very same issue. Clothe us in grace Lord....as we seek to raise our daughters in your most precious ways.

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