“I don’t see why I always have to go. It’s just not fair. Couldn’t I stay home, just this once?” Kari pleaded dramatically.
“I’m afraid not. It’s not about what you’d rather do. It’s about what’s right.” said her father. “And, it’s not up for discussion, so you can quit trying to make a case for yourself. I am a lawyer after all.” This was said with a twinkle in his eye, but Kari knew that her “day in court” was over.
“Ok, Dad. I concede. But it’s not like I’m asking for a diamond ring,” she muttered, “I just want to be treated like an adult and make my own decisions once and a while.” Michael gave her that “you-better-quit-while-you’re-ahead” look before leaving the family room.
Kari turned to her mom for support. “I’m 15 and old enough to stay by myself, but I never get to do what I want. Why doesn’t dad see that?”
“Kat” as her husband was fond of calling her, looked at her daughter’s youthful face, but recognized how she had matured. “Well sweetheart. I don’t think your dad’s decision has anything to do with your age. Like he said, it’s the right thing to do.” Kari bounced onto the couch.
“We’ve been going to Uncle Joe and Aunt Kelly’s the first Friday of every month since you were born. And it would hurt their feelings if we came without you. You are their favorite niece, you know.” Kathy wanted to appeal to her daughter’s sense of loyalty, but from the look on Kari’s face it wasn’t working. Perhaps a different approach.
“You know, dear, maybe we should think about what Jesus would do in this situation.”
Kari rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. Here we go again with Jesus, Kari thought. I’m doomed!
Kathy ignored her daughter‘s obvious frustration. “Jesus was never one to think about His own wants. No matter how difficult the situation. It’s not just about our heart’s desire; it’s about our desire to honor God that‘s important.” She watched as Kari’s face smoothed out from a grimace and her fingers twisted the pillow’s edge that she was now squeezing to her chest.
“God gave us family for a reason. These are people He chose to be in our lives to give us love and support. Family is like…well…like angels from God. They are around us to remind us of His love. Without them, we would be lonely and our hearts would be filled with despair.” Kathy waited a minute before concluding.
“You remember when Uncle Joe came to your championship baseball game last summer? He had bronchitis and should have stayed home, but since neither Dad nor I could go…”
Letting that sink in, she continued. “And what about Aunt Kelly taking you to that concert in February? The one that Dad and I weren’t too keen on. She called and told her best friend that she would have to celebrate her birthday another time, because her niece was longing to hear this “really HOT group”. You remember…“I’ll just die if I can’t go”. They wanted to do other things, but they chose to ignore their own desires so you could realize yours.”
Kathy got up from her lounge chair, put her glasses on the end table, and laid her knitting in the bag on the floor. “I’m going upstairs now, to change. We’ll be leaving soon.”
Kari sat still for a few minutes before speaking. “Oh, Father. What is wrong with me? You have always supplied my needs…not just the material things…but those things that my heart needs. Like my aunt and uncle showing their love for me, reaching out in compassion for MY petty cravings. Please forgive me, Lord. Help me to change my selfish ways and appreciate the true prosperity in my life, my family. You are my loving Creator and I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Getting up to grab her coat, Kari vaguely remembered something she heard in church…it was something like “when you praise God with your mind, your heart is soon to follow”. It was true. She already felt better. Kari‘s prayer was not heard by her parents, but God heard it loud and clear.
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