May 17, 2010

Walking in Innocence


 "Mommy? Guess what?  Andrew gave me a flower."  
Cati smiles her sweet smile.

" Yes, I know.  He was so sweet to give that to you."

"Mommy, why did he give me a flower?"

"Well, honey.  He likes you.  You are his friend.  It is something someone does to show they care.  Do you remember when Daddy gave me flowers last week?  He did that because he loves me."

"Yep.  Because you are mahweed."

"You got it, sweetie."  
I glance back at her to smile.

Suddenly, Cati sits up straight and loudly says,
"I am mahweed too!"

"You are?  To who?"
Cati suddenly smiles a shy, adorable smile.

 "To Daddy."

What a precious conversation to have with my daughter last week.  Incidentally, she popped the head off of the flower within minutes of receiving it.  And yet as this moment is fresh in my mind, I know full well that the man of her life will someday, no longer be Daddy.
She will see a boy ducking his head and smiling shyly as she catches him looking at her.  She will notice a boy and suddenly think he is special.  More special then a friend.  And even more then her Daddy.

And it will be during this time that I pray I have weaved a love of virtue and purity into the heart of my child.  For BOTH of my girls.  Because like a flower, purity is delicate, needs to be handled with care, and is short lived if we do not nurture and care for it.

The beginning of this is NOW.  My girls will be 2 and 4 this summer.  And I have been trying to teach Cati modesty in a way that will not rob her of innocence but will help her embrace a femininity that is godly and pure. 

She loves dresses.  But she plays, sits, and hangs out like she is not wearing one.  And there is something so precious about being oblivious to this.  This childlike innocence of not knowing she is beautiful, not knowing social skills and norms of society.  She actually mooned me last night and would have been fall out of my chair funny if I did not instantly thank God that I was her audience and not a little boy at preschool or a male volunteer at church.

So I have begun teaching her to sit like a lady.  I felt so stupid saying this phrase.  It felt old fashioned and something my grandmother would say.  But when I said it, it felt right. I try to teach her to cross her legs at the ankle while sitting in a chair, in her car seat, or on a couch.  She consistently shows me she is sitting like a lady and it warms my heart that she is embracing such a simple lesson in modesty.  She feels proud.  And I believe, to her, it feels RIGHT. Now we do need to work on her running to the front door like a streaker after her bath when she hears a fire truck go by.  But these are baby steps here.

This is such a heady responsibility for me as a mom.  My goal is to leave a heritage of Christ in the children God has given me. And I see the challenges ahead since I fell so far of the mark as a teen.  I really struggled as a young girl to be accepted, wanted, and loved.   It was a typical growing up time but I made poor choices and it was always at the expense of my self worth.  Sadly, my self worth originated from the opinion of others.  Even if it meant for me to be objectified or lusted after.

It pains me to remember how I exchanged purity for acceptance.  Which was not really acceptance at all.  It was traded for momentary lust of the flesh.  I must confess that my life before Christ was a series of bumbling, chaotic encounters with the world. Life was a pinball machine and I allowed circumstances to pull back like a lever and fling me into a series of events that had me going back and forth until I almost hit the bottom only to have another enticement fling me right back into the chaos again.

I will someday have to tell my daughters about what I gave up.  What I could not give my husband.  But most of all, for what I took away from other prospective husbands, prospective fathers, sons of other women.  Do you know what I am talking about?  Think about it. I am not talking about just sex. How about the words I offered freely?  The way I dressed.  They way I would look at someone.  All of it did not belong to whatever man I gave them to.  They belonged to my husband.  They are precious and I had become so saturated with this way of living, I became desensitized.

Now that I am a child of God, and an ambassador for Jesus Christ, I want to pass on a different heritage to my girls.  One where they honor God by honoring their bodies, the way they dress, the way they behave, the way they live for Christ.  And if I had a son, I would be passionate about teaching this too.

My Sunday school teacher in college had 10 kids.  I think they have more now and may have adopted.  But a memory that stands out for me is that this man COURTED HIS DAUGHTERS.  Is that not amazing?  He courted them.  He treated them the way he wanted a future husband to treat them.  And he started early so that they would settle for NOTHING less.   He took them on Father/Daughter Dates, opening doors, exemplifying chivalry. What a precious gift this father gave to his girls.

And my husband does the same thing.  He wants them to feel...Valued. Cherished. Loved. Special.

Which is why it warms my hear that Cati wants to marry her Daddy. 


And as much as my girls like to wear my clothes and dress like Mommy, I too want to be an example of holiness to them.  Seeking to live a life that pleases Christ and embraces purity in a world that has forgotten a love of virtue. 

Does this resonate with any of you?

I am linking this post up to:
Mom's Standing Together for Modesty over at Home's Where my Heart Is.
Today, Erin has launched this special Monday column as a way to get the word out on an issue near and dear to her heart. And mine. I want to support her by contributing to such a noble endeavor.  So peek in on her as she begins Modesty on Monday's over at her blog.

14 comments:

  1. this is so great. I never saw my dad growing up, he was always out in the shop working on engines, from the moment he got home till after I went to bed. I recieved no attention from either parent. So it was probably no suprise I got pregnant in high school. even though my home was a christian home. I'm trying to drill this into my hubby. my oldest has her first "go with me" boy/friend. I have her reading Before you meet prince charming. so so so so important, if their daddy's won't give them TIME and attention, they WILL find it elsewhere. hubby takes our girls on dates too. I keep thinking are we doing enough? but you gotta do the best you can and pray, pray alot.

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  2. oh my dear.. this topic is SO dear to my heart!
    About 6 yrs ago i found this book http://theprincessandthekiss.com/about.html
    i knew i had to start early if i ever had a girl.. even a boy! we have to teach all our kids to embrace purity .. first starting with us of course.. thank you so much for writing this! I get super scared sometimes.. I dont want to have any more babies..I want to home school ariel and i just get so worried that she isnt going to have a lot of kids around to play with.. but to be honest i dont really want kids around her! lol am i crazy??
    the kids around here are so ungodly that i dont want them around her..
    I wish i had a friend like you .. a woman after Gods own Heart , close to us to raise our daughters together..
    well.. i better stop befor i start to cry lol
    If you ever get that book please let me know what you think.. she has all sorts of useful stuff on her website!
    Love you my Dear!

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  3. Jessica, as an older mom who imparted modesty and saw it come to fruition with my own daughters, let me congratulate you on getting aboard Erin's 'modesty' train to encourage other moms. I've forwarded your blog add to my daughters so they can read your post; it was sooo great!
    Hugs to you, Debbie

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  4. Oh Jess I just loved this post. And I am reading it while Greg is out with Bella on their "date". Bella was so excited all day waiting for their big night together. They were going ice skating and dinner in the food court, then to smell candles at the candle store. They did this last week too. It is so important and I adore these moments that Greg is spending with her. Plus the more they do this, the less likely she will be to get on the pole, if you know what I mean!

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  5. You did a beautiful job sharing your heart, Jessica. You are a very gifted communicator and writer. Thank you so much for linking up with me today, I am so glad God gave you a glimpse of inspiration through your girls and you ran with it. You created something wonderful, which clearly has other women thinking and taking action.

    Blessings to you,
    Erin

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  6. LOVE this post and whole-heartedly agree. I'm working very hard on my end to impart those values on my boys. It's a hard world we live in, meaning we have to work extra-hard as parents. Thank you for teaching your girls to never settle for anything less!

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  7. Jessica this is so sweet ...It is so true...I worry about that already too. I do so want Annie to find a husband like her Daddy, who loves the Lord more than he loves me :)

    And my boys...I want them to be those men!!! We need to keep planting don't we! & if Bo turns out to be a man of God who values women deeply... I'll have him look up Cati. :) But we have LOTS of work to do with that guy...lots of praying :)

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  8. I loved going on Daddy dates! When I was 2 my Daddy said he was going to the R-A-N-C-H and I said "I wanna go!" He said, "You don't even know where I'm going!" I said, "Uh huh! The ranch!" He said, "Well, I guess if you can spell it, you can go!" And it was always like that. He worked A LOT so Momma could stay home with us, but he spent time with us, too. I definitely was (and still am) a Daddy's girl and I for sure think that shaped the relationship I have with my husband. I do wish my husband spoiled me as much as my Daddy did, though...

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  9. Stopped here by way of Debbie at OF HIS PASTURE. So glad I did. This was an absolutely beautiful post. One many of us can relate to... your two daughters are so very blessed.

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  10. This is a very sweet and special post. I am a daddy's little girl and will always be. I used to say that my daddy was my boyfriend when I was Cati's age.

    Simply beautiful!

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  11. Wonderful I agree totally! I have three boys I only wish My husband and I had found god and practices this purity before we had the children. they were almost in their teens and although they came to church and agreed with our standard (the standards of the Lord) sadly they no longer do AND IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT FOR BOYS AS IT IS GIRLS I so believe this they are all in a rush I have an 18 yrs only whi is sad because he is still a virgin! I have had long chats and given advise it makes him feel besster for a while then the pull of peer presure makes him feel less of a man! I am also thinking of the boys pants hanging half way down their tush! I am forever telling them to pull them up!

    Thanx for sharing

    Love Dawn xx

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  12. I just found you via blog hopping and so happy I did! This post is just beautiful. We use the same line with our wild 3.5 year old - "Ruby, you need to sit like a lady". It's so important and why not start it now? Thanks for sharing. :)

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  13. Jess ~ You and your husband are doing such a beautiful job raising your girls to be women.

    There is little of value in this world that we can give to our children. You are giving them what cannot be lost, stolen or destroyed.

    Well done!

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  14. once again, jessica, a wonderful post! i so enjoy reading as you open up your heart. as my 2 year old shoved her finger up her nose i found myself saying, "ladies don't pick their noses, they use a kleenex." and you know what??? it DID feel good. i felt like i was imparting some wisdom to them about how to "be a lady." we recently started having our 3 year old wear shorts under her dresses. it is a delicate thing to explain modesty and keep the innocence. well said, my sister in christ, well said.
    ~rebekah

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