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People you can trust…

On my 18th birthday, I received a card from a dear friend of mine. I don't remember much about what the card had printed on the front, or the clever catchphrase (surely a Hallmark moment). I do, however, remember what was handwritten on the inside…

"Happy Birthday, Hayley! Remember, those who love you… especially your mom and dad who are usually right and have your best interest at heart. Listen to them and heed their advice, even when it's the last thing you want to do."

Four years down the road, looking back, I probably should have made at least a dozen copies of that card and placed it as a constant reminder in my life.

I was raised by very loving parents who have a very strong walk with God and always made sure I was involved in church activities. I was also homeschooled by my mother… which was a lot harder that you might think! (ha!) But, like most young girls, I reached a point in my life where I thought it was time to figure some things out on my own. The majority of the values my parents instilled in me, I never questioned, but some things I just had to learn myself.

There were a few situations that, I'm ashamed to say, I blatantly went against my parents' advice. My parents never went by the "let her make the mistake, and she'll come around eventually and realize we were right" method. As a matter of fact, it was just the opposite. My parents fought tooth and toenail over me… and honestly, I resented it at the time. No, I never went totally crazy and never went out partying, drinking, or doing drugs. But if my parents had given up the fight, it might have come to that end.

As young people, it's so easy to think we know everything and to think that those who love us and are authority figures in our lives don't understand. However, this is not the case. Authority is placed in our lives as a part of God's divine plan. Yes, we all have different giftings and are called to do different things for the kingdom. However, we are ALL called to be submissive, not only to God and His Word, but also to the authority God has placed over us.

No, my going against my parents' advice in the past did not result in a tragedy, or spin my life far off the course God has for me, but it did place some issues and burdens on my life that I would otherwise not have to face. At times, I would forget that His stamp of approval is the only one that matters and NOT validation through the eyes of others. I struggled so much with desiring the approval of others that I felt as though my joy had been completely stolen. I became very weak and was no match for my flesh, but I came to realize that the joy of The Lord is my strength!

I am so thankful that my parents never gave up on me and that they unconditionally loved me through all things.

If you are a young girl or boy who struggles with these same issues, be honest with yourself and with your authority figures, whether it be a parent, youth pastor, pastor, teacher… whoever! God placed them in your life for a reason! Appreciate them.