Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Any advice?

I have been wanting to write this for 2 days now but am just now getting time to do it. I hope as you read it you don't think that I am a judgmental person. I don't feel in my heart that I am, but God can see things that I can't.

My almost teenage daughter was paired up with a girl in her school to due a project for P.E. They had to work on some of it outside of school so I told Dallas that she could come over this past Sunday to work on it.

When I went to answer the door to let "Tammy" in, her mother was already backing out of the drive. I have never met these people before and I would certainly not just drop my daughter off at a strangers house without even meeting them. Am I sounding judgmental?

As I introduced myself to Tammy I couldn't help but notice that her clothes were a little tighter than I would prefer. There I go again, sounding judgmental, huh?

I had gone up to Dallas' room a little later to take the girls some refreshments, as I knocked and tried to get in the door it was locked. I generally allow Dallas to do this when friends are over because her brothers won't leave her alone. Though I do check on them frequently...this drives my daughter nuts I am sure. After Dallas unlocked the door I stepped into her room and heard Tammy say, " I lock my door all the time at home. It drives my parent's crazy so they make me unlock it. Alot of times I just lie and tell them I am changing so I don't have to unlock the door." I just looked at Dallas and with my eyes said don't even think about trying that.

I finally met her mom when she came to pick up Tammy. Her mother said something about Tammy always complaining that they never have family time because both her and her husband have to work all the time.

I had all kinds of thoughts swirling around in my head at this point. After they left Dallas asked me what I thought of her. I just looked at her not really knowing how to respond. She then piped up, "I like her she is nice and fun." Afterwhich she informed me that she has alot of classes with this girl. I know my daughter well enough to know that she is going to ask me about this girl again, whether it be for asking if she can stay over here or if she can go to her house I don't know yet. But it will happen.

I struggled with this for a couple of days for 2 reasons:

  • I feel as Dallas' mother that I have an obligation to help her wisely choose her friends. This is a critical time for kids this age. You either end up in a good crowd or a bad crowd. Life can spiral down quickly at such a young impressionable age.

  • God tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. To help those in need and to not be judgmental. For who are we to judge?

So, I was at an impasse. In my heart I didn't want Dallas to be friends with this girl. Sounds a bit harsh, I know. So, I prayed. I am trying very hard to do more of that because I know it works!

Through circumstances that I won't bore you with, I ended up at this portion of scripture twice in 2 days. God seems to talk to me alot in multiples. Like lately I keep seeing, hearing, and reading the word- STAND- I know God is trying to tell me something but He hasn't given me all the details yet. That will be another story for another time I am sure.

Anyway back to the portion of scripture:

Romans 12:9-13

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

I had to read this slowly a few times before what He was trying to tell me finally jumped off the page:

Practice hospitality.

Instead of writing this girl off like I wanted to do, God told me to invite her into my home and get to know her. She may need something and the only way to find out is to be hospitable. I think God knew that I wasn't going to let Dallas go to this girl's house so He showed me another way.

I know this may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but wait till your girls get to be this age, or your boys for that matter. You will notice everything about their friends, and that in my book is not such a bad is our job to know who our kids are hanging out with.

I am up for any constructive criticism, comments or suggestions. This kind of thing keeps happening due to her age. Kids are alot different in middle school now than they used to be when I was that age. I think my best bet is to open up my house to her friends like God said and get to know them before I just tell Dallas no...I don't like what she wears or, no I don't like how her parents are.

If I have seemed judgmental, please forgive me- I don't mean to be.


DeAnna said...

Oh, Cheri, I am SO on the same page with you on this one. As I was reading the scripture that you posted, the same thing jumped out immediately to me. BE HOSPITABLE. It IS our job as parents to "guide" our children into making wise choices - especially with friends. They are not yet mature enough to see beyond their noses what is out to get them in the world. My kids are not as old as yours, but I am already practicing this. Make your home the one that EVERYONE wants to come to and hang out. It may be a bit of an incovenience at times with kids running everwhere, but in the long run you will have the peace of mind to know where your kids are, who they are with and what they are doing.

Good luck!

Carol said...

I am not looking forward to that age!! I agree with the conclusion you came to. I, too, would do everything I could to be hospitable. You are accomplishing two things. 1. Keep Dallas home. 2. Introducing this girl to a Christ she might not otherwise know. The Lord has obviously put this girl in your life. Maybe you could invite her to go to church with you. I will pray about it with you.

kmom3 said...

Oh, Cheri! I do not envy your position, nor do I look forward to it as my girls get older! We want so desperately as parents to protect our children. I really want to raise mine in a nice, safe, Christian bubble. That sounds reasonable to me!!! :)
I will be lifting this up today, as I have no wisdom in and of myself. You have done the best things you can have gone to the Word and you have prayed about it!
Let me know if you want a bubble, too! :)

Fran said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I love a new blogging friend!!!

There are many things I want to say about this situation but the first thing that kept coming to mind was "Love wisely."

So....we all have to learn how to love with some wisdom. Be smart.
And, its perfectly ok to love people with more distance than others.

Anyhoo....i'll be back again and I hope you do the same.

Mariel said...

I have to second fran's thought to love wisely...Fran is a wise woman, so her advice need not be taken lightly. But I have also learned that loving wisely is biblical advice. Philippians 1:9-10 tells us "that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ."

May He richly bless you, mariel

kmom3 said...

Hi! Just lettin' you know...I'm spreadin' the word about your place over at my place today!
Love ya',
K :)

Amy Wyatt said...

I just read a similar story to yours in Angela Thomas's book "Living Your life as a Beautiful Offering." I will try to email you the section. I think you are getting the right message. Praying for you. I too am not looking forward to "that age" with my children.

Heather Knapp said...

I understand your struggle completely! We have run into that with Courtney as well. I think I shared with you once that I pray to our Father that he protct her constantly and fill her "void" that her dad has left in her heart. I worry so much that she will look for that relationship in this world instead of relying on God.