Just so you know, my husband and I decided to join forces and so now it's "our thoughts" instead of "my thoughts"! :) Hope you enjoy!
Well, the party was...different. I felt bad, my daughter and I were the only ones who showed up. Well unless you count the neighbor family that kind of "crashed" the party. The little girl was ecstatic that we were there and the mom was truly thankful. I'm glad we went. Though their lifestyle is really different from mine, which in turn makes it difficult to connect.
As I sat throughout the afternoon (I decided not to swim regardless of what everyone else was doing--go me! :)), I kept asking God what I was doing here. This was definitely not the type of influence I wanted on my daughter. But what was the alternative? To subject my daughter to the influence of me saying these people are not "like us" and so we shouldn't go out of our way to hang out with them? Hmm tough call. Some would say that we have to protect our children and keep them away from those elements that might endanger them or tempt them into another lifestyle contrary to God's word. But as I look at my daughter's innocent face who found no fault in the way these people lived, kept their house, and talked, I realized that she has been given the gift to look at them as people. Just people she would like the chance to know better. And I felt ashamed. Because what good am I to my daughter if I constantly shield her from all the possible "negative" influences? The negative influences are ALWAYS going to be there to face. I need to be teaching her how to handle the negative influences, the differences and to learn to find ways to bridge those gaps and make connections to those who are different from us. All in the effort to love them as Jesus would so that hopefully one day they will come to know Jesus the way we do.
That's what it's about. It's about loving people the way Christ did so they can know Him too. And what better way to help my daughter learn than to come alongside her in the friendship she has began with this little girl and be there beside her as she is in the midst of the "negatives" so I can help her to stand for what she believes without being judgmental and without compromising?
As we were leaving the party, my daughter blurts out "When can we come back and swim again?" to which I smiled and said, "Whenever they ask us to." And the mom looks at me and says, "Maybe I'll give you a call next week?". And I say, "That would be great." And I mean it.
I'm one step closer to my goal. I recognized the opportunity God gave me and I do hope that the mom gives me a call and I have to find the courage to embrace this opportunity. I'm glad God's ways are different from mine. I'm thankful that He is constantly pushing me and challenging me and creating a desire within me to learn about His ways and His desires. The changes are difficult and slow and often times met with a bit of grumbling. But I'm always pleasantly surprised at how it all turns out. Thanks God for loving me enough not to be satisfied with where I'm at but to want me to press on. (See Hebrews chapter 12 for more on "pressing on" and receiving God's discipline)
See ya tomorrow!