Making The Most Important Thing Most Important
“I’m praying for you.
” I hold my daughter’s gaze, as if eye contact will convey all the emotion within my words. “Every day.”
“It’s important to me that you know that.”
And then, I have to ask myself why. Will my prayers lose their value, their impact, if she doesn’t know? I mean, other than knowing how deeply I love her, what does it matter if she understands how often, how fervently I pray for her?
[tweetthis]It matters, because I want her to know, out of all the things we’ve tried to teach her over the years, this one thing is the most important. [/tweetthis] This one thing is the thing on which everything hinges.
By the time you read this, the big day will have come and gone. Ask me how I’m doing. On second thought, maybe don’t. Chances are I’ll be a crying, sobbing, mascara-streaked mess. Although I hope I’ll be celebrating, too, this step our daughter will soon be taking.
As I write this, our little girl has just over a week before she heads to college, and though I’ve known this day was coming for some time, eighteen years, to be exact, it’s still hit me a bit upside the head. Or should I say smack in the heart. Which, you’d think, would make me hold on tighter and fight for every special memory-making moment I can create, and yet, I’m finding I’m acting testy. Crabby. Irritable. About the seemingly silliest things like when she wakes up in the morning… or should I say, afternoon. Or when she showers, or finishes her chores, or does any of those mundane things she’s managed quite well for 18 years now.
So why now do I feel such angst? Such unrest within?
The answer came loud and swift: I’m scared. For the first time ever—ever!—I’m having to let go. My parenting is done. And she’ll have to stand on her own, thrive or fail.
Did we teach her enough? Did we give her ample opportunities to learn perseverance, to develop hard work ethic? Did we instill within her the courage to embrace risks when everything within her wants to hide away in her dorm room?
So many things we, as parents, want to pour into our children, and yet, there’s really one main thing she absolutely needs. One thing that, if she has that, everything else will fall into place, and that’s a sensitivity to God’s leading. Because if she has that, God will take it from there.
I thought of God’s faithful leading, and prayed that she’d grasp the importance of it, as I read Psalm 16:7-8 this morning. It says, “I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. You will show me the way of life, granting me joy in Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever” (NLT).
Even at night my heart instructs me.
The Bible calls this the mind of Christ, and it’s the necessary byproduct of reading Scripture and praying regularly. It’s the necessary byproduct of continually offering ourselves and our will to our Savior, surrendering to His leading.
And the results are beautiful. Peaceful. Joy-filled.
That’s what I long for most for our daughter, and I hope, of all the things I’ve tried to teach her over the years, of all the things I’ve modeled, I hope this truth has come out loudest, because it is only in Christ that abundant life can be found.
Parents, what are you teaching your children? What are you modeling? Are you making the most important thing the most important thing? If so, bravo! Your children will thank you for it, especially when those uncertainties of life hit, and their hearts instruct them, even at night. If not, it’s not too late to start.
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
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After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!