Not long ago, I had a very interesting conversation with my language helper. I always thought that she thought I was a crazy parent because I never let my young daughter have candy, and my kids don’t speak Turkish. She probably assumes that I never let them leave the house. I thought this because she would actually say things like this to me.
But recently she made a comment that when she is a mother she wanted to be like me. I kind of didn’t pay much attention to it because I figured she didn’t really mean it. But, later, she said it again, and this time she stopped and said, seriously, she wanted to be a mother like me. I thanked her and we talked about it a little bit, and I realized that she really did watch the way I was with my kids. She even asked my opinion about how I would handle a few various situations. I explained to her that I often didn’t really know what to do, but it was only because I have a relationship with God that he helps me know what to do. She told me that I should start a class and teach Turkish people how to be good parents.
This is when God opened the door for me to explain that, as a Christian, my model for parenting is based on my relationship with God, which is a different kind of relationship than Muslims have with God. I was able to share how we just like kids do wrong things, and she listened as I shared everything I could about God’s plan for reconciling us, through Jesus. So, we can’t earn God’s love by doing good things, just like my kids don’t earn or lose my love by their actions. I just love them. Since my kids know I love them, they try to do what is right, but their motivation is love, not trying to make up for the bad things they do.
She listened so intently without becoming defensive (which was kind of a new experience for me). In the end she said, “That is different” (with a smile on her face). It was great and I was so blessed that God gave me this opportunity to share the whole truth with a friend! And honestly her response was refreshing as well. Please pray that she will keep thinking about what we talked about and that we’ll have more chances to discuss it even more.