Before They Go to School … Have This Conversation

Before They Go to School … Have This Conversation

September 4, 2014

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Lysa TerKeurst

I look around the dinner table and feel that desperate ache not uncommon to women who deeply love.

Whether it’s my own family or those who just feel like family, I want so much for them. These young people who are so full of possibility and dreams and bright futures … they have my heart.

Yet my heart feels fragile in the hands of these young people. They are smart. They are grounded. But they are young.

It takes me back to me at that age.

And that scares me.

I remember feeling so grown up and crazy excited at the chance to be in charge of my own life. Ready for independence. Ready for love. Ready for the next chapter of my life.

Chasing what felt good and thrilling, I quickly learned the wind blows in dangerous directions sometimes. Going with the flow led me places I didn’t intend to go. And I woke up one morning ashamed of my choices, wondering how in the world I got to this place.

How?

I cringe thinking back on it. And I cry. Because I don’t want that experience for these people I desperately love.

So, in the midst of the laughter and casual banter, I turn the conversation at the dinner table to a word I want them to know and live.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you want to be. In this moment of togetherness, surrounded by family, and saturated in love — decide.

Decide what your answer will be when the talk turns ugly and the laughter turns mean against that girl who desperately needs you to be her friend.

Decide what your answer will be when someone invites you to the cool party full of drinks and drugs.

Decide what your answer will be when the boy says it’s no big deal to stay the night.

Decide what your answer will be when “friends” laugh at your Christian views and challenge you to lighten up.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you are going to turn to if you do get into trouble. Remember the people at this table. Remember who truly has your best interests at heart. Remember who you are.

Pre-decide.

Decide today to turn around any mistakes from your past by asking for God’s forgiveness and walking in His grace.

Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and take you out.

Pre-decide. And only say yes to the decisions that lead you in the direction of becoming more like Christ. This is the Best Yes.

Yes, pre-decide.

And then we go around the table and tell what we are pre-deciding this year. And my heart feels less of that ache.

I’m not so foolish to think this will act as a bad choice immunization. We are all susceptible. But it is a way to infuse their heart with a memory of a pre-decision.

And with that the plates are cleared, the cookies are nothing more than crumbs, and it’s time to go.

Here are some great Bible verses to pray for our kids as they head off to school this year:

• Galatians 1:10
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (NIV)

• Romans 12:2
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

• Joshua 24:15
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (NIV)

• Proverbs 29:25
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (NIV)

So, along with these Scripture verses, I whisper a few last words that are a “best yes” for them as they pack up to go …

Go where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters.

Make decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.

And (insert voice cracking and tears welling up), remember how much I love you.

Dear Lord, You are so good. Thank you for entrusting these people to me. I pray You’ll guide my family in Your way as we enter a new school year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Be further equipped to have these kinds of discussions with your kids, your spouse, your coworkers, your fellow ministry leaders, etc. with Lysa’s new book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. Click here to purchase your copy.

Every decision points us in the direction we are about to travel. So we’ve got to get good at chasing down our decisions. We need to look ahead to see where they will take us — and make sure that’s really where we want to go. Click here to download Lysa’s free “Chase Down That Decision” Tool from her new book The Best Yes to help you or your kids practically think through a decision that needs to be made.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which of the above Scripture verses will you pray for your child? Write it down on an index card and personalize it using your child’s name. Then, put the index card where you will see it often during the day as a reminder to pray.

Lysa TerKeurstClick here to pin the imageClick here to download this free printable PDF

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. alana wilder says:

    This is awesome it really spoke to me. My son is only six and I have been broken for a long time. Made bad decisions I can’t do that anymore my mother shared this with me and I grew up in a Christian school been a beliver for a long time I’m trying to get back into the word its hard I wish I could break these chains. Please pray for me pray that I make decisions in the lord pray that my son will grow with me not without me and just thank the lord just as I have that I got this second chance.
    Thank u

  2. alana wilder says:

    This is awesome it really spoke to me. My son is only six and I have been broken for a long time. Made bad decisions I can’t do that anymore my mother shared this with me and I grew up in a Christian school been a beliver for a long time I’m trying to get back into the word its hard I wish I could break these chains. Please pray for me pray that I make decisions in the lord pray that my son will grow with me not without me and just thank the lord just as I have that I got this second chance.
    Thank u

    • Praying for you Alana!

    • I’m praying for you too! I’m praying that the Lord would give you freedom from condemnation and guilt and memories of your past and that He would fill you with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit when you know you are his child. Think of how you love your child and forgive your son. Think of how quickly you would want your son to get up and start over when he messes up. The Lord is even more patient and more forgiving and more loving with us! Father, I pray that YOU would break these chains in Alana’s life. Because You are powerful and You can do it. Nothing is impossible for you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name!

  3. yvette ware says:

    This really spoke to my heart as a mother of three I often let life get in the way and forget how God blessed me with my children I am working on getting back on track and realizing God is my everything and I need to teach my children this.. thankful for a merciful God. Alana Wilder I’ll be praying for you. I have been there grew up in a Christian household and I completely walked away from all I was taught. Know that God loves you I am learning now to praise him in the storm love our God he is a God of second chances.

  4. Thank you Lysa for your new book. I got a copy from a precious friend for my birthday and reading it. Wonderful truth. God Bless you and the work of your hands as you continue to minister to women around the world.

  5. Raena Graham says:

    This blog post was right on target. I talk to my son all the time and I tell him to be a leader not a follower. This will be his devotion this morning.

  6. When my kids struggle with a decision I always tell them to remember who you are but more importantly remember WHOSE you are !

  7. Wonderful devotion. Thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you and for sharing!

  8. Dear Alana, be encouraged. God’s Word says that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Hebrews 4:15 says that we don’t have a High Priest that doesn’t understand our weaknesses. Ephesians 5 says that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness and principalities, forces of evil in the heavenly realms. You don’t have to struggle to try to break the chains on your own. Call out to JESUS for deliverance. HE is our “Right Hand Man”. We CAN’T do anything on our own, but we can do anything THROUGH Him. His strength is made perfect through our weakness. I will pray for you, too. 🙂 In CHRIST, Angie P.S. I just said a prayer for you, sweet sister. 🙂

  9. Oh my! This is not just for my children, but for me… And even my students. This has already been a trying year and these are somethings that I need to keep in mind. And although I tach in a public school, these are things I can share with my teenage students! Thank you!

  10. I am truly crying right now. You looked into my heart and wrote down my past, and you wrote my present fears for my little children. Thank you, thank you for this post. This conversation will be had at our dinner table over and over again.

  11. I love the words that are being. Planted daily within my life but also the words Im planting within my family. …I will use Galatians 1:10 for my daughter daily thank you

  12. Thank you for posting this. I’m 20 and still single, and I found this encouraging in my journey to follow God and scorn what the world tells me that I should do or wear or whatever. Please continue in what you do, and thank you for encouraging me and all the other women who read these posts 🙂 Blessings and peace. 1 Timothy 4:12

  13. I was in tears reading this devotion. It’s like another comment that was mentioned: it’s like you looked into our hearts. My Sophomore daughter has always been considered by others and myself to be such a sweet, mannerable & thoughtful girl. Imagining that sweetness becoming corrupt terrifies me. I don’t even
    wantto think about it but I know I need to face reality. This has blessed me so. I can’t wait to share this with my daughters. I want to have a the word PRE-DECIDE written on something & put on her bedroom wall so she’ll always see it & remember to pre-decide!

  14. Thanks so much! I will be sharing this with my High Schoolers this Sunday morning. God Bless!

  15. Thanks for this readings. I’ll be sharing this to my nieces and nephews.

  16. Love this post. Having reared 2 Godly daughters (no credit for myself but by His Grace alone), I volunteer weekly to work with at risk (so called by the world) teenage girls. I prefer to call them “girls of promise”. I assure you that I will be having these conversations with them. Pre-praying is another part of pre-deciding. If those tempting situations satan dangles before our wonderful children and youth have already been taken to God in prayer and decided, the best and right answer is already established. It is so much easier then to go with God.

  17. Thank you for the reading..I am a believer of Joshua 24-15

  18. My children are grown up now and while my table is now empty and at times I wish I could turn back the hands of time and do some things different I know in my heart I have given them a foundation of faith and they are all believers in Jesus/Yeshua and while my table is now empty my daughters isn’t and this is something I will definitely share with my grandchildren. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection.

  19. Beautifully written, loved it!

  20. A friend shared today that she has taken this idea and turned it into a family conversation. They take turns choosing “situations” from a jar and then they talk about how they would handle those situations. That way, she and her husband can help their children to pre-decide how to handle each situation. Genius.

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