Some family traditions are methodically planned out. Some start on accident, but turn into the most significant. Eighteen years ago I gave an antique key to my husband on our wedding night as a symbol. It was a symbol of me handing over the key to my heart to my soul mate. Little did I know how powerful that would be.
Since then, my husband has worn the key to my heart around his neck every single day.
As our kids have gotten older, we’ve spent time talking to them about purity and what to look for in a future spouse. We talk about protecting their heart and being ever mindful of who they entrust with pieces of their heart throughout their journey of life. We talk about all this dating stuff, its true purpose and why we don’t think it’s necessary to casually give away their heart to every person who walks through the door. We simply ask them to stop, pray and spend time thinking about what makes some people stand out more than others. What do they like/not like about that person and what would it look like in a lifetime commitment of marriage. We ask them to spend time and build friendship. It’s not easy in this fast-paced, big-family life to carve out the time to be available and talk about these things–and it’s never really at a convenient time–but we do because these conversations matter. And frankly, the pressure on my kids from the world around them to carelessly give away their heart–it’s not easy for them either.
As parents who are seeking to encourage our kids to protect their hearts, we have passed on that simple tradition from our wedding night to each of them on their 13th birthday. While in Eastern Europe, we found six antique keys that now symbolize the key to each of our children’s hearts. The oldest two, who now hold their own key, each display their key in a different way. Mini-Me’s key hangs on her bedroom wall to visibly remind her of the responsibility she has been entrusted with. Meanwhile, The Talker wears his around his neck every day–just like his daddy. He keeps it close to his heart until he meets that girl that is head-and-shoulders above the rest–the one that is worth protecting his heart for.
I have no guarantees on this parenting journey and sometimes I wonder if all these talks even matter, but you know what? Every once in awhile God gives me a little encouragement to press on. Recently, my oldest met a boy who she said was just her “friend”…and I was worried. So I did what every worried mother would do…I randomly took her phone, checked her text messages and found that I worried needlessly. She’s been listening to all those talks. I wish you could see what she wrote when he was fishing around for whether she liked him or not. She was clear on her convictions and put him in his place. This is not the first time I have read her text message wisdom. Why did I worry? My girl is grounded. Life holds no guarantees, but I pray that she (and all of my kids) continues to hold her ground and keeps her heart safe for the one who is worthy of wearing the key to her heart.
The top photo in this post was taken by The Adopt Shoppe. She generously allowed me to use it. You can find her on FB or on IG @theadoptshoppe. Her stuff is amazing. If you don’t follow her…you should!