I want to invite you into part of my personal journey in keeping my own children safe.
My daughter asked me one summer if she could get an app. After much dialogue, I agreed. The app was simply supposed to be a service for managing and tracking information. Fast forward to the present. I was away on a trip and noticed my daughter was not acting like herself. I called her numerous times and could just tell something was going on. I even FaceTimed her just to see her face. I hung up and said out loud, “She is lying. She is not okay.”
I came back from my trip and discovered a man was outside at night. Beer cans and bottles were left on different occasions in the same place; another night a pair of construction glasses were left behind. I felt a heightened sense of danger but could not for the life of me find my authority. Normally in situations like that, I rise up like Mama Bear and deal with it, but I was stumbling. It went on for a week. I discovered footprints outside my daughters’ bedroom window and one morning found evidence of someone in our backyard too. My fear was increasing. Clearly, they were not there to break-in, or they would have done it already. There was someone outside watching or worse yet, waiting. I was growing restless with concern. I met with the police and bought an expensive surveillance system. All the while my fear that there was present danger would not cease or back down.
I began to sense something so strongly in my spirit with my daughter. I would ask her questions, but her answers were not bringing me peace. She went to bed early one night, and my spirit was deeply agitated. An hour later I went into her room, turned on her light, sat down and told her I was not leaving until whatever this thing was broke. She lamented with great emotion that everything was fine and that she was not covering anything or intentionally lying.
Parents, sometimes we have to listen to our gut louder than our children. My spirit was alerting me, and it was to be heard, not ignored or dismissed. Yes, we want to respect their free will. Yes, they are becoming adults. Yes, we do not want to move into operating out of control. But if my daughter, who is still under my covering and authority, is struggling, in over her head or hurting, I cannot just turn from her because she resists me in the moment. It is my job to get involved.
Finally, I just started to pray out loud, pouring out my concern and sense that something was not right. I asked her again, and she said nothing. I continued to pray. “Jesus, what is this?” Finally, with great courage, my daughter mentioned that the app she got over the summer had private online chat groups (something that was NOT promoted ahead of time. One didn’t know about it until they were members). She began to tell me about the discussions from peers with instructions on how to pursue same-sex relationships and why kids should have sex before marriage. I asked what she thought about it and she said she knew it was not right. There was still something about this that was not matching the deep check in my spirit. I said, “Sweetie, you are right, that is not okay, but there is something else.” Her witnessing those conversations did not equal the danger I was sensing. She was adamant there was nothing.
I finally asked to see it and was MORTIFIED to discover my daughter was not talking with peers but grown men. Peers do not ask those kinds of questions and my spirit suddenly rose up like Mama Bear. The girls on this online chat were being deceived and lured. Because she violated my rules for safety AND ignored the warnings of the Holy Spirit she opened herself up to danger. And it was manifesting in the natural outside at night.
We walked through some serious repentance (she was horrified at the realization), deleted the app, rose up in our authority as a family and returned the surveillance camera.
God is serious about keeping our children safe, too. Holy Spirit put a check in my spirit that something was not okay. We have to get comfortable listening, honoring, obeying and responding to that nudge in our spirit and not talk ourselves out of it. My daughter had opened not only herself, but our family to danger and Holy Spirit was ON IT to reveal and expose it.