Reagan and I are studying Jesus.

I’ve tried to raise my daughter in a Christian environment, take her to church, all of the things that seemed to be right…..and I believe they are right. To a point. The thing is though, as I get older, I realize that I can take her to church, learn her in scripture, show her an example of prayer, but that is only the “cleaned up” version of mama. And Reagan isn’t stupid. She knows the me that gets mad when telemarketers call during dinner, the me that yells at other drivers, the me that talks about someone or says something unkind or lets a cussword fly. She knows I am not perfect. And right now, at this moment in my precious girl’s life, I think she needs to see that. Because she needs some help in the spiritual department and she doesn’t need a mentor as much as she needs somebody to get down in the muck with her and say, “You know what, I’m not anywhere near as much like Jesus as I should be either so let’s work on getting to know Him better. Together. Let’s face the obstacles of our own attitudes. Together.

So we are. I’m blessed that Reagan is really pretty advanced in her understanding and vocabulary because it opens up the possibilities of resources for our journey so much. I decided that we will read Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado. Together. He writes in a way that she can understand and I was surprised tonight at the way it opened up doors of conversation for us.

This has been a very trying year for Reagan. Her Dad and step-mom separated and she took it hard. She’s had a very difficult teacher and a very trying group of students in her class. And she struggles, because of her circumstances but also because of her personality type, to see good in anything when so much in her world seems wrong. I get it. I could go there. I have been there. But I also know there’s a better way.

I was explaining to her tonight about how the best way to get out of that “zone” of anger or depression or aggravation is to simply remember and focus heavily on all of the good things she has. Does it fix everything? No. But it can go a long way toward getting through a particularly difficult day or situation. And then she made an analogy that made me want to slap every “Christian” that has ever labeled the Harry Potter series as a tool of Satan. Because Reagan said this, “So it’s like a patronus. I need to think of really happy things when the dementors come.”

YES! YES, baby girl. That’s exactly what Paul meant when he told us to focus on what is pure and good and lovely and right. Because the “dementors” will come. Whether you’re 10 or 32, they will come.

So we are studying Jesus. His heart. His compassion. His hope. We’re studying Him. Yes, I want her to grow up and go to church. Yes, I want her to know scripture and be educated in the Bible. Yes, I want her to pray. But if she does all of these things, but isn’t Christlike, what was the point?

And you know, I think even at her tender age, she gets that. One of her favorite songs is “Proof of Your Love”. She gets it. She knows, though she may not realize it yet, that it’s Jesus. It’s His heart people should see in us – not a “masked” hypocrite who won’t get in the dirt and fight with you.

Oh it humbles me to be a mom. I wonder if she’ll ever know how much God has used her to shape and refine me. And how thankful I am for allowing me the opportunity to experience it in such a beautiful, gut-wrenching but intensely powerful way.