Most of the church was on their feet . . . on their feet in their pews, I should say. But there was a ten-year-old girl toward the front of the church who was just not having the stuffy standing around any longer. She was out, in the aisle, dancing freely. I watched her for a few minutes, and then saw a woman I guessed was her mom quickly moving toward her from the back of the church. “Uh oh,” I thought. “That’s not going to last long.” Her mom walked up to her daughter, took her hand, and then—it was as if I watched this moment pass over the mom’s face—she started dancing too.
I have to admit that I was shocked. I fully expected that mother to put her daughter right back in the pew. But maybe that’s because I’m not very free myself. I think, in that moment, the mother made a decision. “Should I make her sit in the pew beside me or should I join in her worship? Is it more important to not look foolish in front of people, or to respond to what I feel stirring inside me with my daughter? Does it matter to me what they think? Do I really feel free?”
It could have gone either way. It could have been that the mother saw her daughter’s dance as an attempt to get attention. She could have been embarrassed for her daughter and embarrassed for herself. But in that moment, she chose to believe and act on something different.
As a parent, this idea may be one of the most difficult to live out. You may be more like Blueberry and me. Free? What is that supposed to mean? I have to have a healthy dinner on the table by 6:00, make sure my son is ready for his spelling test, plan the perfect party for my daughter’s tenth birthday, call my mother, walk the dog, exercise, and spend the few minutes left over with my husband. How can you be free in the midst of that much pressure?
(This is an excerpt from Intentional Parenting: Autopilot is for Planes. You can win a copy of the book by joining Spiritled Woman on Facebook. Click here to enter have your name entered in the drawing for this book by telling us you would like a copy of the book. The winner will be announced on Facebook.)
By Melissa Trevathan, co-author of Intentional Parenting: Autopilot is for Planes (Thomas Nelson, March 2013) from which this excerpt is taken. Travathan is founder and executive director of Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee. A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Travathan has taught graduate courses, spoken to churches and schools across the country, and been a guest on television and radio programs throughout the US and Canada. She is the author of seven books and a video curriculum.
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