I assumed that home schooling my children would mean that they wouldn’t get caught up in worldliness, appearances, or the clothes thing. Recently I’ve discovered my fifteen- year-old daughter began wearing her hair differently from the way she has worn it since she was five years old. Up until about four weeks ago, she had a headband always holding back her hair.
 
While shopping at a local discount store she casually mentioned she would like some butterfly clips for her hair.  Thinking only innocent thoughts, I purchased them for her.  The next thing I knew she wanted me to take her to the mall to get a perm. She has resigned herself to putting her hair in this little twisty thing every night so her hair looks like it’s been curled.

I must admit I like the new softer looking daughter.  However, there have been a few other things she has mentioned recently. Not long ago she said to me, "I’d like to get a tan."

"What?"  Certain that I heard her incorrectly, I asked what she said.  To be quite honest this is a manipulation tactic.  The children figure out by my questioning look, that perhaps the question they posed is beyond my ability to answer in the affirmative and since I don’t like saying no to my children, I simply manipulate them to choose not to pose the question to me again.
 
However, she must have given this question serious thought.  It is possible she had become aware at some point that I used to spend countless hours trying to perfect the lovely bronze glow. She may actually think I will allow her to buy a bikini (HA!) and let her lie out in our yard.  Actually, since this is March in Iowa, I think she wanted to go to a tanning salon, rather than lie out on the snow.  Be that as it may, I have come to a conclusion that perfecting a tan is a waste of life.  And wearing a bikini is far from modest.   Besides, how could she want to subject herself to the harmful radiation of lying for hours doing nothing, but soaking up the sun?  In my oh so subtle way I told her, "Not on your life!"  I then had her look up information on the topic "skin cancer."

She’s not real thrilled when I base her assignments on things she wants to do that I don’t want her to do.  There is usually an obvious result: I’m right; she’s wrong.

For some reason though, I couldn’t get the idea of the tan out of my mind.  Sitting in church the other day, the thought came to me, "I need a tan!"

Normally this would not be the topic most women think about when sitting in the pew.  I’ve heard most women think about what they are going to prepare for dinner that day.  I don’t think about that, because Sunday after church is often "nap time" for me.  Everyone is on his own, or they have to wait until mid-afternoon when I finally emerge refreshed.  I have digressed. Back to church.

Seriously, I wasn’t being distracted to a moment of vanity.  Our pastor was talking about Moses coming down from the mountain (Ex 34:29-35).  Also he shared about the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2.  But the story that really got me thinking about needing a tan was Stephen in Acts 7:55-56.  It doesn’t say in the text that Stephen became tanned.  However, what it does say is that he saw the Glory of God and it gave him the power not only to withstand the stoning, but also the power to ask God "to not charge them with this sin."
 
How often I want justice for my enemies. Do I experience a trembling awe for God? Or have I become so complacent in my Christianity that I have begun to rely on my self rather than the God of the universe?

All these thoughts brought me to the point that I desperately need a tan.  I need the bronze glow of one who has spent time in the presence of God. It is time to focus my life away from vanities, and on to Him! It is time for me to stop wasting my life and start working on my tan.

In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site at www.ignitethefire.com or e-mail her at terri@ignitethefire.com.