Husband & Wife Articles


Dresses, Deserts, Prayers and Proms

By Sherry Antonetti

Why did we go out into the desert this Lent? It wasn’t to become slimmer or more self-disciplined. It was to lose the weight of the distractions of this world (be they appetite or entertainment), so we could fit ourselves to the will of God, and better hear his voice.

Going into prayer and asking, “Show your resurrection to me,” or, “Show me my sins,” or “Show me mercy,” we have to know that God will answer. Given that we know this is Jesus’ direct instruction to us, why do we not ask? Because once we hear God’s voice, it’s up to us to cooperate and accept what he says. That can be frightening, if we think we must do it all on our own. Or if we don’t agree!

Nielsen Family

My teenage daughter sometimes hesitates to ask me for the things she wants. Why? Because she knows the answer might be “no.” I tell her to ask anyway, because she must trust that I love her, want the best for her and will not say “no” for no reason.

Likewise, I know God wills what is best for us, and that I should never hesitate to ask him about what troubles me. But like my daughter, I fail to trust that God always has my best interest at heart.

Recently, my daughter and I began looking on the internet for prom dresses, with the understanding that we both must agree on what she wears. She showed me an option. I stated my concern over the slit in the fabric being too revealing. She became angry and a wall of silence built up over the gown. Walking away, I sent a prayer for help. How can I get her to listen to my worries for her? She wanted to look pretty; I wanted modesty. She thought that this dress was modest compared to most of the others. “Take off the Jesus goggles, Mom!” she shouted. “No,” I responded.

I was upset, but realized that with God, I am much like my teenager, wanting my will, not his. In my mind, I could hear God asking, “How can I get both of my beloveds, the mother and the daughter, to listen to me?” I sat, imploring the Lord for an answer, and it came to me. I had to stop insisting, and listen to my daughter. Rather than stubbornly cutting off all discussion, I needed to look at things through her eyes. I went back to the computer, and said to her more calmly, “Let’s keep looking.”

But God also heard the deeper cry of the heart, the cry we tend to drown out with distraction, the cry we only notice when we let ourselves be really still. Between mother and daughter, there had to be peace based on agreement. He spoke to my daughter also, and she too was listening.

“Maybe we could get the slit sewn up some,” she offered.

Listening to God, we recognized each other’s concerns and did not let our own egos become the dictator. We surrendered to love of the other, and the compromise was a workable solution, revealing God’s love for both of us, and our love for each other. So go fearlessly out into the desert, and if today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart, and your heart’s prayer will be answered. Even in the give and take of family life.

Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband and their ten children.