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The amusement park’s jungle cruise boat captain entertained us with silly jokes and warned us to watch out for the water-spitting elephants.  At seven years of age, I was enjoying myself immensely as I sat between my mom and dad in the full boat.

However, the captain’s voice suddenly turned serious.  He warned we would have to go through a dark cave full of headhunters in order to get back home.  There was no other way.

The captain shared there was no need to worry since the headhunters mostly attack little blonde-haired girls.  This presented a dilemma since I was a little blonde-haired girl who wished to keep her head.  I covered my eyes to avoid seeing my fate.  However, I realized by covering my eyes with my own hands, I could not see if my dad was still there to protect me.  So I covered my eyes with his hand instead.  And with that move, I upstaged the captain as our fellow passengers dissolved into laughter.

Over the years I have often turned to my dad when I was scared or upset.  My dad was always available when I needed him.  He would “cover my eyes against the scary” with words of encouragement and promises God would be with me even when he couldn’t.

Fast forward 35 years from that jungle boat cruise.  A different scary outcome lay ahead.  The cave replaced with my parents’ house.  The boat for a hospital bed.

I longed for my dad to cover my eyes against the “scary,” but his hand lay limp at his side.  My dad was dying.  Although hospice provided a book to inform us what to expect, living it was much worse than reading about it.  Each stage much more horrible than the last.

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I heard the death rattle in my dad’s chest and throat.  Not being able to draw in much breath, he fought for air.  The hospice nurses had promised he would feel nothing as he neared the end.  However, even though he was sleeping, it seemed to me he was suffering.

My every instinct warred within me to help.  But I knew there was nothing I could do.  He was ready to go so I was forced to helplessly stand and watch.

There was no other way home.  My dad was about to enter heaven and this was the only way.

As I watched my dad take his final breaths in this life, my body was wracked with sobs.  I needed my dad to cover my eyes and encourage me everything would be okay.

But he couldn’t.  My dad would no longer be here for me to turn to when I was facing something scary.

Then I remembered the principle my dad taught every chance he had.  My Heavenly Father would always be with me even when my own dad could not.  So I turned to God and begged Him to help me get through this horrible scene playing out in front of me.

I was reminded of Stephen in the bible who was stoned to death for his faith.  Before he took his final breaths, he saw heaven open up before him and saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand.  There was no suffering as he took his final breaths and entered heaven.

If God could open Stephen’s eyes to heaven and “cover his eyes against the scary,” then He could do the same for my dad.  This became my prayer.  And I choose to believe it was answered.  Just as Stephen died peacefully amidst being stoned, my dad died peacefully amidst straining for breath.

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And now He does the same for me day by day, moment by moment.  God opens my eyes to the knowledge my dad is with Him.  Unable to walk in the last 3 years of his life, he now runs the streets of heaven probably playing a pick-up game of basketball with Joseph.  He is visiting with his own mom and dad, many other relatives, and the people in the bible he studied much about over the years.

These reminders allow God to hold me up with His right hand and “cover my eyes against the scary.”

As I continue to travel the “valley of the shadow of death.”  He strengthens me, gives me wisdom when I ask, and comforts me.  Although my dad’s hand is no longer available to me, God’s hand will always be there.

God’s there for you too.  What “scary” are you facing?  Pick up God’s hand and cover your eyes.  Allow Him to hold you with His right hand as He soothes you with words of encouragement and provides strength to face what lay ahead.

Trust Him.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you w
ith my righteous right hand.  ~ Isaiah 41:10

Copy of 1970 dad with connie

This post dedicated to my dad who went to heaven Oct. 16, 2013. 

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

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Sexting, vibrator commercials, male enhancement ads, billboards with women in seductive lingerie, inappropriate pictures on cell phones, shopping bags displaying half-naked men, Facebook friends sharing steamy sections of erotic books or pornography.  Our kids our inundated with sex.  All the time.  Everywhere.  Culture is all too willing to educate where we parents may fear to tread.

161728014Our kids have questions.  They have feelings they may not quite understand when presented with the above scenarios.  They may be confused about what it means for them and if there are any lines drawn in the sand when it comes to sex.

My husband and I decided to begin having in-depth conversations about this subject when our kids turned 11 or 12 years of age, depending on their maturity level.  However, our determination didn’t smother our fear.  We knew we needed help in this area.

Our desires included explaining God’s design for sex, helping our children set their own boundaries, and making escape plans when those boundaries are pushed.

Fortunately, before it was time to talk to our first-born daughter, I heard about “Passport2Purity.”  A kit with CD’s, parent guide, and journal for the child, it aids the parent in explaining these difficult subjects and guides discussions between parent and child.

A weekend alone is set aside where time can be spent away from home for just mom and daughter or father and son.  We pack snacks, supplies for the projects that go along with the lessons on the CD’s, and plan some fun down time.  Although our children have an idea of what the weekend is about, they look forward to that one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.

stk131580rkeThe program is very easy to follow.  We listened to the first part of the CD on the way to our destination introducing what the weekend is about.  Once we check-in to the hotel and have a leisurely dinner, we finish the first lesson and project concerning challenges, traps, and choices she will be facing now and in the coming years.  I appreciate the conversation guide as it opens the door for honest, heartfelt, and safe discussions.

After a short break, we begin lesson 2 regarding friendships and peer pressure.  These conversations help in understanding the challenges she faces with her friends and enemies.  She is challenged to consider the influence her peers are having on her and the influence she is having in return.

These conversations are lively and prove to be exhausting so sleep comes easy.

The next morning, it’s time for lesson 3 on the physical changes she will be seeing in herself and in boys her age (there is one specific CD for girls and one for boys).   The importance of modesty is discussed along with the BIG talk which is sex.  Although she is a bit disgusted thinking about the mechanics of sex and coming to the realization her own parents do something so scandalous, she has a lot of questions and wants to discuss it further.

Horrified looks are pure entertainment during this particular discussion.

Pardon the ExpressionA much-needed break is taken following this talk but then it’s soon time for lesson 4 regarding setting boundaries and deciding just how far she plans to go.  Discussion enables me to set the boundary I would like to see her place but allows her time to set her own.  We then discuss escape plans for when those boundaries are tested.

After 4 lessons we’ve earned some down time.  Each of my children has their own idea of fun so we make sure to do something they enjoy.  A few hours are spent just enjoying time together.

Upon returning, we do our last lesson of the weekend about dating.  Agreements are made about the proper time to begin dating and what that will look like.  We added an element of our own in making a list of non-negotiables their man must have in order for him to even be considered to date.

86524740Then it’s time for a celebration dinner.  I present her with her own passport that she signs agreeing to stay pure for her husband.  And then I present her with a gift.  A necklace with a heart and key.  Something she will wear to remind her of her commitment to guard her heart and purity just for her husband.  This can then be presented to her husband on their wedding night.

Will this one weekend keep my children from bad decisions?  Maybe not.  That requires constant conversation, teaching, discussion, questions, answers, and a lot of prayer!  It’s tough to maintain sexual purity in today’s culture.  However, I feel much better sending them out into the world knowing they have set their own boundaries through their own convictions and are armed with escape plans, if needed.

I highly recommend “Passport2Purity” if you are looking for a guide in speaking to your kids about the biblical view of sex.  Although, it’s a bit hokey at times and their (Family Life) convictions are a bit stronger than mine, it opened the door for laughter and conversation.

I will continue to pray for my own children as well as for the children of those who like or comment on this blog.  I’ll be praying for the strength and courage to maintain their sexual purity until marriage and for safe, open conversations between children and parents.

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson