We finally found a car for Kate. Because we never buy new cars, we shopped around for quite a while, trying to find something that would meet all our requirements and still fit in our budget.
It had to have a high safety rating, have (fairly) low mileage, have a good mpg rating ('cause she has to drive it 40 miles round trip per day to school), and, of course, it had to fit within the budgeted amount we had to spend.
We found a 2006 KIA Optima.
Her requirement (notice I said requirement - singular) was that it look a certain way, meaning that it needed to be of a certain body style. Her requirement was secondary to our requirements.
I don't say that to be mean. It's not that we don't want to give our children what they'd like to have. But as their parents, that's obviously not always our priority.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to find the exact car she would have preferred. The cars that she likes and of course, the ones all her friends are driving, (isn't that the way it always works?) were much newer models.
She was not happy with our choice of car for her, to say the least.
Ok, if I want to be real (cause we all know how easy it is to be someone we're really not, out here in the blogosphere), I have to be honest. She was downright ugly about it. Not the least bit appreciative of the time, effort, and money we put into this car. I don't know when Mike and I have ever been more disappointed in one of our children.
We took it hard. Because we've raised (that's southern vernacular for "reared") our children better than this. We've tried to raise them to be appreciative, grateful, thankful. To know that we can't always have what we perceive to be the best thing. And for the most part, they have been. I think that's why this little incident hurt so much.
Of course she was put on restriction. And Mike and I hit our knees hard, beseeching God to show us how to root out this weed of ingratitude from her heart.
That's when He showed me. I can't root it out. Sure, we can guide her and encourage her to have the right attitude. And we can punish and restrict when she doesn't. And as her parents, that's our job. But it is God, and Him alone, who is able to change her heart.
I realized that I have been trying to do His job. I have been trying to be the Holy Spirit in her life. So through much prayer and beseeching of His grace on my part, I have asked Him to take back that responsibility.
I can pray for her continuously, and I do, and I can guide her and encourage her, but I can't change her heart. But thankfully, her heart belongs to the One who can.
And you know what? He's working in her life. Just a couple of weeks ago, she came to us, with a broken and contrite spirit. Humbly, she admitted to her selfishness and ingratitude and asked for our forgiveness.
Now, is she perfect? Completely free from a heart prone to selfishness? Of course not. Is she prone to have days when she reacts with ingratitude? Of course she is.
But this one thing I know... we serve a God who is bigger than our selfish hearts. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. And if we will but ask Him, He will not leave us in our sinful state.