The Great Debate

She had been working on me off and on for months wanting her hair dyed and it was making me nuts!  The color options had changed over time, but what had remained consistent is that she wanted a color that did not occur naturally in any human being.  The choices were ranging from pink to purple, blue or green and she was not giving up in working on me to say yes.  Any parent of a teenager knows what I’m talking about!

I had managed to delay answering for some time now by conveniently forgetting to get back to her on it and saying perhaps when she was older, etc., but this time she had me pinned down and I needed to give her a response.

“No”, I said.

As I anticipated she replied, “Why not?”

I said the first thing that popped into my head. “I like you the way God made you.  You need to stick with the color God gave you.  He knows best.”

As she looked at me and gave her response I was caught completely off guard.  “God didn’t make you a blond.  You go and get your hair done to be that color.”

She had me there.  Completely prepared to debate the issue with her, I found myself at a distinct disadvantage. I was dumbstruck and all I could manage to say was, “You made a really good point.  Let your dad and I talk it over.

Soul Searching

As I began to do some soul searching, I reached an unpleasant conclusion:

If I was being honest with myself, I really didn’t want her to dye her hair because I was afraid of the judgement of others.  I was afraid of what others would think of her, and in all honesty, very afraid of judgements others would make about me and my husband as her parents.

My husband and I began to discuss the hair issue and pray about the right course of action.  As parents we take many things into consideration.

We worried about others thinking she was a rebellious, out-of-control teenager and that we were pushover parents.  We worried about how people would treat her.  We were concerned about the fact that once we started down this path, she would be constantly wanting to change the color. Ultimately we began to see that our fears were indicators of where we were not trusting God.

Real Freedom

I love that God is so patient.  In the midst our soul searching and praying, we began to see that we were not walking in His freedom in this area.

In fact, if we were being honest, the opinions of others had been weighing on us above every other consideration we had.

As I prayed and resolved to set the opinions of others aside, I was shocked when I felt the Lord begin to impress upon me that this could be a way of showing my daughter love…washing her feet. He wanted us to do this as much for what He wanted to do in us and in our relationship with our daughter as what our daughter wanted.

God began to deal with me about assuming a servant position toward her in my heart and gave me the clarity to understand that my actions would speak far louder then my words.  Down the hair dying path we went!

As we suspected, the hair dying journey has been an adventure.  Her hair went from brown to blonde, to teal, to royal blue, neon green and then traditional green over the course of a year.  Each step of the journey of this season of rainbow hair, I have had to set aside my personal preferences and love her unconditionally.

For her it has been an opportunity to express her artistic side and play with her appearance.  For me it has been much more. 

It’s been an emancipation proclamation of sorts…God has been using this and other experiences and revelations to emancipate me from conformity.

I can’t explain it, but as her hair shifted colors along the way I shifted inwardly as well.

I’m honestly not a fan of rainbow hair.  Most of the colors are just so foreign to me.  What I am a fan of though is the feeling of freedom that comes when we cast off the opinions of others and live in obedience to God!

Only the Spirit of God knows our situations and the hearts of those around us.   Whether we are dealing with our children, our parents, spouses, friends, or others, it is so important that we are led by God in our interactions and decisions.

Jesus described His way as the narrow way and chances are if you see the masses all doing one thing, you need to slow down and determine if you are doing something to simply to fit in. 

I’m not saying we should just try to be different for the sake of being different, but there is FREEDOM that comes from not allowing the opinions of others to dictate our choices.

Being different can be hard and I believe that as parents we all have situations we have walked through where we felt rejected for being different.  Without realizing it, we can be pushing our children into a path of conformity to spare them and ourselves the pain of rejection. 

We must watch for this trap of the enemy because conformity is a prison.  Conformity says, “Do whatever you must do to fit in with those around you.  Become what others want you to be.”

As we conform to the patterns of this world, we begin to lose ourselves. We must not allow satan to hijack our identity or the identities of our children.

If we automatically go against what everyone is doing just to be different, we can lose ourselves just as much through rebellion.  Our quest for independence can become a prison in and of itself.

Our only path to true freedom is being guided by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves!

Our children are seeking to find themselves, perhaps even seeking to write their own story.  God knows their story better then them or us, the parents.  Honestly, we think these children are ours, but we are merely stewarding them for a time in this world.

Will you be brave enough to let their story look different than yours even when you fear the judgement of outsiders?

Would you be brave enough to step outside of the confines of conformity and let God write your story?

Our Prayer

Father God, help us to trust you and to understand how to parent as you parent and to love as you love.  Let us not be led by traditions of men but rather be led by you. Help us to set aside all of the conflicting parenting voices and instead listen for your still, small voice which knows us and our children far better than we or others do.  We choose to trust you God even when it looks strange to us or goes against our personal desires!  Your will be done!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Scriptures for Meditation

~Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

~ Colossians 3

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

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