The Transfer from Head to Heart
Written by Irvina Parker & Jennifer Parker Terry
The Girls’ Ministries code is filled with good, sound doctrine! Philippians 4:8 reads: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). If we teach our children to live by this code, I am convinced they can live victoriously.
As a parent of two children, there is no doubt in my mind that many people in the local church we attended played important roles in the spiritual development of our children. I firmly believe that our local church was in tune with the early church mentality of meeting together for learning how to follow Christ and obey God’s commands (Acts 2:42-47). Sunday school, Royal Rangers, and Girls’ Ministries were integral parts of what we called Christian Education (now Discipleship Ministries) at that time. The things our children were taught in those classes and in other services equipped them for the challenges they would face. I am eternally grateful for men and women who reinforced what David and I were teaching them at home.
As I train Girls’ Ministries leaders, I always recount an experience we had with our daughter when she was in her teen years. It brought home to me, even stronger, that we as parents and church leaders must do everything within our power to teach our children the Word of God.
Jennifer was invited to a sleepover and we felt safe in allowing her to attend. Before midnight, I got a call from our daughter asking me to come pick her up immediately. To be honest, I hesitated momentarily because I thought she might be reacting to that homesick feeling and I didn’t want to allow her to give in to it. I wanted her to push through those feelings. Little did I know that God was teaching her a much bigger and deeper lesson. I asked Jennifer to share that experience as she recalls it today. The remainder of this article is from her perspective.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Understanding life as we are living it is tough, but understanding it upon reflection is easier. There are many instances where I wish I had a rational explanation for things that occurred or transpired. But the truth is, I don’t. What I do have is the Holy Spirit. As a preteen, I had one such occurrence. At a middle school girls’ sleepover, some of the girls decided to enter a chat room. This was a time when the internet was so new in everyday homes, no one truly knew what was out there.
My friends began a conversation with what I think was an older man, but who really knows. As soon as it began, I was uncomfortable. To them it was funny, tricking this person into an interaction and acting older than our 6th grade selves. I sat back and grew more and more uncomfortable. I don’t remember speaking out against what they were doing, but I did not join in. I pretended to be sick and had my friend’s mom call my mom to come and get me.
This was the first time I can remember having to really choose between doing the wrong thing and the right thing. No one ever said to me, “Chat rooms are bad.” The truth is, most people didn’t know what they were. But what I did know was that the thoughts and words of my friends and what was happening in that online space were not what the Lord wanted me engaged in at the age of 11. I truly believe that it was the perfect work of the Holy Spirit. I was able to see my situation at the time and it didn’t line up with the teaching I had received, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Kids don’t need a list of dos and don’ts. They need to know what the Bible says, that they have adults who care and are available, and that they have the Holy Spirit to guide them through decisions – both big and small. My parents trusted me to the Lord and as always, He is faithful.
Jennifer Parker Terry is the daughter of Girls’ Ministries Director, Irvina Parker, and is married to Shane Terry. Jennifer has been a breakout speaker at Power Chicks and is the mother of 5-year-old, Jasper Terry. She is a graduate of Emmanuel College and holds a master’s degree in Library Media from the University of Oklahoma. Jennifer currently serves as the director of the media center for Heritage Hall, a private school, in Oklahoma City.