"Mommy, but I loooove this rainbow shirt!" my five-year-old daughter howled as we prepared to leave for church. "You always let me wear it before! You didn't care if I showed my belly then!"
"Cheyenne, we want to dress our best when we go to Jesus' house," I replied. "Ladies do not show off their bellies. This is something that Mommy just learned. Can you please pick out a different shirt for me?"
Sullen, Cheyenne dragged her feet to her room to change. I let out a deep breath, knowing I had barely averted a full-blown tantrum. Cheyenne and I had fought several similar battles after I had become a Christian. Like a light switch, God's truth had clicked in my heart, and he was convicting me and showing me the godly way to raise my daughter.
Literally overnight, her world had been turned upside down. Suddenly I had laid down strict new rules and introduced different routines—because my heart had changed. Cheyenne now had a different mother. The old Mommy was gone; the new Mommy had come. I was a new creation!
No longer was Cheyenne allowed to wear bikinis or belly shirts. We took the TV out of her room and outlawed some of her favorite shows, like SpongeBob SquarePants.
Sure, Cheyenne loved many of the positive changes in me and in our family. My husband and I had become more focused and attentive parents. But at the same time, in her five-year-old mind she struggled to understand why some things she had once enjoyed were no longer okay.
For me, parenting as a Christian has been a radically different experience from my parenting before I knew Christ. God has altered my desires, goals, and values. He has revealed to me areas of sin and weakness in myself as well as areas in which I needed to make immediate changes for the sake of my family.
Parenting is never an easy task, but God will always be with you and me, giving us wisdom and strength for the journey. He says, "I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you' " (Isaiah 41:13).
In Romans 8:31, the apostle Paul asked, "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" The answer: no one! God is our powerful parenting partner, and he has given us the best parenting advice ever—in the Bible.
God's Standards versus the World's Standards
Before you and I committed our ways to Christ, we thought in terms of creating and living by a personal set of values. We knew that what worked for one family may not work for ours, so we took bits and pieces of what was important to us and created our family value system.