So there’s this statue of a Virgin in the middle of Quito.

(Side note:  How exactly do you explain the term “Virgin” to young children?  It’s a bit tricky, you know?)

Anyway, the legend goes that she faces the North, so Northern Quito is blessed.  Her back is to the South, and you can probably guess the conclusion is to that.

I’ve been thinking about that on and off for the past week or so.

William, the black-and-white son that he is, was swimming with his sister the other week.  She jumped in the pool and when she got out, she had a wedgie.  So he told her that her buns were showing.  She translated that to mean that her swimming suit was immodest.  And now?  Well, she won’t even touch the thing.  Never mind that it came from Land’s End– the epitome of modesty.

Kate is our passionate, emotional, beautiful girl.  Often she can be quite feisty, to put it mildly.  She’ll sit on her bed and scream things that wring my heart out.  And I pray and pray and pray.  Because it gets really hard sometimes not to get angry at her.  I project out 10 years and I think about the battles we’ll be facing.  
And then I stop.  
Because?  Because I’m going to believe more for her.  I’m going to claim the truth that Christ holds her in the palm of His hand.  That He created her for a purpose.  That we are fighting for her soul and we refuse to let the words she is saying be true in her life.  Not just because it’s good for her self-esteem, but because it is TRUE.  I’m believing that in 10 years we won’t be fighting those battles at all, rather we’ll be watching her fall in love with Jesus more and more.
We started playing a game in our house this week called “Truth or Trash” (It’s an app, apparently, but I don’t have an iphone so I don’t know much about it).  We make statements and then we proclaim if it’s a Truth or Trash.  When I listen to the kids playing, I realize that it’s not just a game– it’s setting a foundation for their lives.

Words.  True or not, they shape who were are.  They ring in our ears until we convince ourselves that they are truth.

When I was 16 and in Driver’s Ed, I had a teacher who wasn’t very encouraging and slowly his words of criticism leaked into my thoughts about the kind of driver I was.  Still, to this day, I hate driving.  I have a hard time believing that I am a good driver, in spite of the fact that I’ve never had a warning, a ticket, or a wreck.  A few years ago when Peter looked at me and told me I was a good driver, I was shocked.  The thought truly had never occurred to me.  Isn’t it ridiculous that I believed someone who only spoke criticism into my life for a few weeks?

All it takes is for me to hear one criticism, one misspoken word, and the voices in my head start going.  Before I know it, I’m in an all-out battle for the truth.  Suddenly I realize that Kate and I fight the same battle.  The only difference is that she speaks her Trash out loud and I keep mine on the inside where no one can hear.

If I can only seize her words and teach her to change them into Truths before she figures out how to internalize her words, well, we’ll have overcome a humongous hurdle in her life.  Same goes for me, huh?

The day the bus took us to the tippy top of Quito, Ecuador to see the massive Virgin, I stopped and I stared at it.  You know, it’s nice.  But it’s just a statue.  To think that a superstitious belief about who would be blessed and who would not be has actually played out to be true . . . doesn’t that seem preposterous?  Today there are people pouring their hearts and soul into restoring the City, determined to win the battle in overcoming the words spoken about it.

What would happen if we actually stopped believing the lies and the trash that we have been told by ourselves, by others, by Satan?  What if we slowly allowed the Truth to leak into those cracks in our hardened hearts?

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy. 
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Psalm 116:1-2