Testing 1-2-3

The Lord will test your child’s character and yours too.

Some days I wonder how my parents managed to raise me without the use of cell phones. This was becoming one of those days.

About 4:45 p.m. I got an urgent text from my beautiful wife Belinda, starting a flurry of back-and-forth messages between our cell phones. At 4:30 p.m. Belinda received an email telling of a 7 p.m. theatre audition for our daughter Scout (17). Belinda was surprised to receive the email, as the audition emails usually go straight to the spam folder and Belinda doesn’t see them.

An Hispanic theatre was looking for a sixteen-year-old female with a Hispanic/Caucasian racial mix. Bingo! Scout was excited about a new opportunity at a new venue.

The audition was in a nearby city, so Belinda and Scout had to act fast! They looked up the show on the Internet but couldn’t find any details on the show’s content. The theatre’s website said the play was a “family comedy.” So Scout scrambled, grabbed her acting resume, and Belinda whisked her off to the new theatre.

Right at 7 p.m., the ladies arrived at the theatre and found it to be a lovely place. This was a perfect opportunity for Scout to shine, as she was the only actress at the audition. The director had seen Scout in other shows, and they connected over mutual theatre friends. The audition was already going well as Scout began to read from the script.

The director gave Scout several selections from the show to read. As Scout read, she noticed other parts of the script were splattered with four-letter words, and none of them were “love.” The plot slowly emerged, and Scout found several uncomfortable themes in the play: a dysfunctional family, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, drug usage, and abuse. She sure wasn’t seeing any “family comedy.”

Belinda kept me updated (and appalled) via texts. The audition concluded, and the director expressed his pleasure with Scout’s demeanor and skill. He said he’d be in contact with her. Belinda and Scout left for the car to discuss the audition.

Much of my “dad job” involves teaching choices to my kids, and I wanted Scout to choose “No!” in this situation. I teach, I pray, I tell stories of dumb things I did as a kid, and I wonder. I wonder if my kids are truly listening. I want the Lord’s best for my kids, and I imagine you want the same for yours. We dads want to honor God with the gifts He gives us for a time.

Releasing kids to the world is scary. It exposes what I did and didn’t do as a parent. It exposes my pride. See, if little Scout grows up to be a Communist dictator, well, folks will think bad things about me. If not-so-little-anymore Scout chooses to follow God, well, I rejoice, and people feed my pride telling me what a “good job” I did raising her.

When I set aside my pride, it all comes back to choices. I’m blessed to have powerful examples of choices within the circle of friends I share with my kids, examples demonstrating the impact of choices . . . choices made to run away from their Christian home school family . . . choices made to commit a felony . . . choices made to stay close to the Lord and let Him promote one with extraordinary talent to fame and to success.

I can point out these examples to my kids. I can teach choices to my kids. I can show the impact of choices to my kids. Yet my children still make their own choices, and they can rebel against wisdom and safety. Remember, even God’s children chose to rebel (see Numbers 13 and 14).

Thankfully, my wife can text like a teenager, so she kept me up with events. Scout got into the car with Belinda and exclaimed, “I can’t do that show!” Scout stated she thought this audition was a test from God—an “eye opener,” a sampling of what she would “endure” should she pursue acting as a profession. Wow.

Scout has learned that even without biblical morals, it is hard to get stage work. Being choosey about roles would affect what she could and couldn’t do in the theatre.

Funny thing, in the weeks prior to this audition, Scout attended a career discovery class. The class leader suggested Scout bypass an acting career and pursue costume design because it perfectly combined all her interests in theatre, sewing, arts, and creativity.

The Lord gave a character test, and Scout passed. Happy ending, right? Well, not yet. We did not know if Scout would be offered the role. If so, she would turn it down. But, when she turned it down, there was the risk she could be blacklisted in the local theatre community for being a “goody-goody.” Belinda prayed with Scout for the right words to say to the director. They decided to call the next day and remove Scout from consideration before casting choices were made.

As she waited, Scout realized all signs were clear that God wanted her to attend this audition no matter what came out of it. The audition invitation email miraculously went to Belinda and wasn’t trapped in Belinda’s spam folder. Miracles continued with Scout being available that night—and being the only girl auditioning. The director even knew Scout and had seen her in local shows. Scout recognized the Lord wanted her to attend a difficult audition and to see Him take care of the results.

The next morning Scout received an email from the director thanking her for the audition. He wrote he was going in a different direction and wouldn’t need Scout. Wow. The Lord worked it so Scout never had to decline, and her theatre reputation remained untarnished. She felt the whole exercise was a message from the Lord to pursue costume design instead of acting.

Dads, our kids will face character tests and tough decisions we can’t make for them. The Lord orchestrated this test for my daughter. She passed, and He rewarded. When that test arrives for your child, I can’t say, “Don’t worry.” I can say that when I wake up in the morning and agree the Lord is in control of all things, the rest of my day seems to go pretty well.

If you have a moment, please send an email to ImperfectFather@Gmail.com. I’d love to read stories of how the Lord has tested you and your child.