I look around the dinner table and feel that desperate ache not uncommon to women who deeply love.
Whether it’s my own family or those who just feel like family, I want so much for them. These young people who are so full of possibility and dreams and bright futures … they have my heart.
Yet my heart feels fragile in the hands of these young people. They are smart. They are grounded. But they are young.
It takes me back to me at that age.
And that scares me.
I remember feeling so grown up and crazy excited at the chance to be in charge of my own life. Ready for independence. Ready for love. Ready for the next chapter of my life.
Chasing what felt good and thrilling, I quickly learned the wind blows in dangerous directions sometimes. Going with the flow led me places I didn’t intend to go. And I woke up one morning ashamed of my choices, wondering how in the world I got to this place.
I cringe thinking back on it. And I cry. Because I don’t want that experience for these people I desperately love.
So, in the midst of the laughter and casual banter, I turn the conversation at the dinner table to a word I want them to know and live.
Decide today who you want to be. In this moment of togetherness, surrounded by family, and saturated in love — decide.
Decide what your answer will be when the talk turns ugly and the laughter turns mean against that girl who desperately needs you to be her friend.
Decide what your answer will be when someone invites you to the cool party full of drinks and drugs.
Decide what your answer will be when the boy says it’s no big deal to stay the night.
Decide what your answer will be when ‘friends’ laugh at your Christian views and challenge you to lighten up.
Decide today who you are going to turn to if you do get into trouble. Remember the people at this table. Remember who truly has your best interests at heart. Remember who you are.
Decide today to turn around any mistakes from your past by asking for God’s forgiveness and walking in His grace.
Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and take you out.
Pre-decide. And only say yes to the decisions that lead you in the direction of becoming more like Christ. This is the Best Yes.
And then we go around the table and tell what we are pre-deciding this year. And my heart feels less of that ache.
I’m not so foolish to think this will act as a bad choice immunization. We are all susceptible. But it is a way to infuse their heart with a memory of a pre-decision.
And with that the plates are cleared, the cookies are nothing more than crumbs, and it’s time to go.
Here are some great Bible verses to pray for our kids this schoolyear:
Galatians 1:10 ‘Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ (NIV)
Romans 12:2 ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (NIV)
Joshua 24:15 ‘But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (NIV)
Proverbs 29:25 ‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.’ (NIV)
So, along with these Scripture verses, I whisper a few last words that are a ‘best yes‘ for them as they pack up to go…
Go where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters.
Make decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.
And (insert voice cracking and tears welling up), remember how much I love you.
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