Today I walked into a clothing store for teenagers. I was trying to finish my Christmas shopping, and I’m down to the little things now. In true mom fashion, I round out the kids’ Christmas gifts every year with new underwear and socks. Having shopped in this place before, I knew that I could get a good deal, and as usual I generally ignored all of the other clothing in store, most of which is ridiculous.
But when I got to the bins at the back where moms dig through the sizes to get a good deal on undies for their teenagers, I discovered bin after bin of unmentionables that were plastered with dollar signs, twenty dollar bills, labels like “wild,” “bite me,” “cash money,” and parental warning advisories. Everything about these undergarments screamed I am for sale and I am a product to be consumed.
I came home and found an online warning from a local state trooper who has found that girls younger than my own daughter are being solicited and paid online for pictures of themselves: first just their feet. Then, when the girls realize they really do get paid for the photos, they send more, this time just wearing underwear (for a higher price), then nude, then sex videos. These young girls are being paid $20-$900 for pictures and videos of themselves, and because of a culture that continually reinforces the idea that their bodies are just products to sell, they are falling for these evil schemes that scar them mind, body, and soul.
What are young girls supposed to think when their stores are selling underwear with twenty dollar bills printed across the crotch? How should we, as Christian parents, combat this pornified culture where girls are constantly being sent the message that all that matters is who wants their bodies? How do we teach our boys to fight for purity and for the purity of their sisters in Christ? I am learning as I raise kids in this world that there are no simple answers. The temptation to consume and be consumed is all around.
It’s enough to make Christian parents despair.
But on days like today when I feel a little bit panicked about the state of this world, when I wonder how much further things can go, when I worry that my children will fall for every lie that this culture has to offer them, I (eventually) stop. I turn to that squirmy feeling in the pit of my stomach and I remind it that the Holy Spirit of God is still enough.
We can become so overwhelmed with all the shocking and horrific news that points to all that’s wrong with this world that we forget that God is as fully in control as He ever was. We think we need to scheme and plan and isolate our kids, and we lock them away like little hermits. Or we bury our heads in the sand and pretend like our kids are immune to sin, telling ourselves that the world isn’t what it actually is. And then every once in awhile, like tonight, when I was wondering if we should move to a compound someplace and hide from the evils of this world, the Holy Spirit ministers to me. Wisely, He reminds me that we don’t escape evil by hiding from the world because it lives in all of us. We are all wicked people who are capable of all kinds of atrocities. Even my precious children have hearts bent toward sin. Then He brings comfort. I’m reminded that Scripture teaches that when we know Christ sin no longer has dominion over us. There is no sin that the Holy Spirit can’t handle. There is no devastation or spiritual destruction or emotional pain that is too big for the power of God. This world is no match for the King of Kings.
So, once again I find myself in a familiar spot: remembering that I can’t fix everything. In fact, I can’t fix most things. And it’s in this place that I learn a little bit more about relying on God. Trusting Him with my children is surprisingly difficult sometimes because I want to act and do and work and strive and take over. But then I get completely overwhelmed with this job, which is entirely too big for little old me to take on. And in that golden moment I remember that all I really have to do is sit back and rest in the arms of my good, good God. He is trustworthy when this world is not. He is powerful, and I am oh so weak. He is big enough to rescue my children, and I am not.
All of these truths the Holy Spirit whispers to a tired mama on an ordinary Tuesday. In the glow of the Christmas tree tonight, the Prince of Peace seems more real than ever. A thrill of hope, a weary mom rejoices. Because her God is sufficient. He always has been, and He always will be.