Monday, September 24, 2012

Fighting for Your Girl's Heart

Note: This is part of the Fight Like a Girl Series. Other posts are found under the series tag.

I was in 9th grade the first time I ever used the word love to describe my feelings for a boy. By the time I got married 11 years later, I'd used it in at least that many relationships. I didn't protect my heart.  What I gave to my husband on our wedding day was a battered and bruised heart with several pieces irretrievably lost.

My girl is in 9th grade this year. Thankfully, mercifully, she has shown no interest in boys. Her daddy is still the man of her life. Her mama prays it will remain so for a long while yet. I want to protect her heart as long as I possibly can, yet I am as powerless to guard her heart as I was to guard my own.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
~Jeremiah 17:9

Matters of the heart go far beyond romance. For the believer, our hearts are an indication of our trust in the Lord and our obedience to Him. As parents, we must constantly point out this truth to our children, helping them to understand that outward behavior is an indicator of our heart's condition.

...we must not simply parent behavior. We're not just controlling decisions and seeking to make sure that the child goes where we want him to go to do what we want him to do. God has called us to a higher agenda. We want to know the heart of our teenager, to help him see his heart as it really is, and to be used of God to help produce a heart ruled by nothing else but God and his truth.

How do we help our girl see the true nature of her heart? First, gently remind her that she is a sinner (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23). In Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love, Hannah Farver sets forth this truth in language every teenage girl can understand: "If it were not for the fact that I have lied, hated others, smart-mouthed my parents, and disobeyed my God, there would have been no reason for the Cross." (p. 47).

In pointing out what her actions and attitudes reveal about her heart, we must also reassure her of God's grace. Remind her of Romans 5:6-8. Offer these words as a prayer for her and encourage her to pray them for herself:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

The truth is, our heart struggles won't be over in this lifetime. Yet God's Word says that for those who pray and make supplication with thanksgiving, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Keep Fighting:

~Ask your girl to tell you 3 things she's passionate about and why. Have her think about how much time she devotes to these passions. Is she pursuing them to the glory of God? Read 1 Corinthians 10:31 and discuss how she might pursue these passions differently. Consider discussing your own passions as well.

~Read Hosea 1 - 3 together. God commanded Hosea to do an incredibly hard thing in loving Gomer, yet Hosea did it because he loved God enough to obey.  "Real love is not fueled by emotions but by a constant desire for the good of the beloved." (Uncompromising, p. 36)  How was Hosea's love for Gomer for her good? Ask your girl to consider the male/female relationships around her. Do they exhibit this desire for good? Finally, bring it back to the Gospel by reminding your girl that no matter how low we sink, God loved us enough to buy us back and redeem us.

*"Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing", lyrics by Robert Robinson


  1. Thank you so much from the depths of my heart for these posts, Melissa! I hope you will keep them coming as they're so applicable to me and my 13 year old girl.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have three daughters and the task of raising them to be Christ-like in a world that glorifies promiscuity and love of self, seems very daunting most days. Your encouraging and challenging words spoke volumes to my heart.

  3. Melissa, this is such a wonderful post! And, NOT coincidentally I read this Puritan quote earlier, "Impress the young convert from the very beginning with the coviction that God has called him into His kingdom to struggle with the corruptions of his heart." You clearly laid that out here. I also appreciate the practical suggestions to spur us on to keep fighting! I thank God for your heart to minister the Gospel to young women!

  4. Melissa, Thank you for another excellent post.

  5. This is great encouragement for me today. I am going to use these applications with my two precious girls, thank you.