“Mom,” she told me. “Sometimes the kids at school just complain. All they want to do is gripe about everything. I really don’t like that.
I took a moment to glance over at her. It was obvious from her expression this weighed heavily on her mind. I considered her words and remembered all of the many meetings I’ve been to throughout the years where so much time was wasted while people complained.
“I know people are like that,” I told her. “Sis, it’s hard to get away from it. The best thing we can do ourselves, our own personal responsibility, is to always strive to see the good in every situation, the good in everyone. We need to see the God in everything, in everyone. He’s always there whether they know it or not.”
Complainers bring others down. Our words can uplift and encourage but even more importantly than that, our actions in truth will make the biggest difference of all.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in The Lord is kept safe.”
One time Erin, then a 5th grader, came to me, worry etched on her face. “Mom,” she said to me. “Mom, I’m starting to care what I look like at school, and it really bothers me because I don’t really care what people think of me.”
Obviously, she had started to care and that scared her.
I took a long look at her sweet face and thought back over the many ‘interesting’ outfits she had chosen through the last few years such as black and red striped tights paired with a green plaid skirt or the flowing hippie dress with the pink and blue long john shirt under it or the platform silver sandals which were supposed to be for dress-up play but that she tried to wear to church (we had to step in on that one and send her back to her room to change).
“Sis,” I told her. “You keep being who you are. Our rules are that you need to be clean and you need to wear age-appropriate clothing. Other than that, be you. People will always have opinions of you, some good and some not. Dress for you. Be strong in who you are because Christ is in you. Stand up tall and I promise you the majority of people will think good things. Most importantly, Christ will think good things, and that’s what counts.
I love her determination to be who she is and to not care what people think, but I completely understand her worry and fear. My entire life, I often hid my true self from others as I was afraid of their criticism or rejection. I altered myself both in the clothes I chose to wear and the words I chose to speak. I wasn’t confident enough to be the true me. In fact, I believe that I spent so many years being someone else that I lost track of who I really am.
I never want my daughter to feel that way.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Erin and I stood outside the meeting room waiting to go in. Her hands shook and she looked as if she might cry. Erin takes after me in that she likes to speak in public. Recently, she’d won a preliminary round of an oratorical contest and moved on to the next round. That is what we were waiting for, the next round to start.
Because the new level of competition took place in front of a panel of judges from throughout our community, Erin’s stress level had risen. Her nerves had taken over.
I knew she could do it. She’s a wonderful speaker. My words didn’t seem to be calming her, however.
Turning to scripture was necessary. Together, we prayed. Then quietly, I whispered Philippians 4:13 to her.
“Remember,” I told her. “Christ is within you. He won’t necessarily take away your nerves. You will still be a little scared. But when you look for Him and find Him inside you, you will be able to draw on His strength which He provides for you. With Christ, you can do anything.”
She smiled at me. “I can do that, Mom.”
“I know you can,” I told her.
And she did.
As I continue through my parenting journey, I frequently make mistakes. I worry and I wonder whether I’m doing the right things. I thank God for His Words and guidance for with them, I know I can’t go wrong. I’m constantly looking for new scriptures to help me guide my children. Together, He and I can raise some pretty awesome people.
What are your favorite parenting bible verses for tween or teen girls? Please share them in the comment section below. We can all use the extra support for each other and from God’s Word!