Last night my son, Noah, disobeyed us by getting involved in a texting conversation way past his bedtime. I couldn’t have been more proud. 

I’d almost drifted off to sleep when I heard someone shuffling around upstairs. That’s usually a sign that our youngest, Joel, is sleep walking his way through some kind of dream or nightmare. I glanced toward the doorway of our bedroom, waiting for his silhouette to appear. When it did darken our door, I was confused. He’d grown a foot and a half, unless—

“Dad, I need your help with something.”


At this point, I noticed a familiar glow painting his chest. He was holding his iPod.


“I just don’t want to screw this up. I need your help.”

“Are you TEXTING this late?!”

“Just come here.”

Sigh. Fine. I got up and he led me to our bonus room, where he scrolled back through a lengthy conversation until he’d found the beginning.

“Just read it.”

So I read. A classmate, a girl, was reaching out to him (platonically) because she was feeling suicidal. Empty. Decidedly un-treasured. Noah’s words were wonderful. Telling her she was special. Beautiful. That if she killed herself she would miss out on the adventure of her life. That there was someone who loved her for who she was, loved her more than she could comprehend.

“R U serious? Don’t tell me it’s my boyfrnd or my mom, cz that’s not tru.” (Or something to that effect).

“No,” Noah replied. “I mean God. He loves you so much and he wants to give you a wonderful life and he can take away your pain.”

Wow. I read on. Noah keeps going. She resisted. Back and forth they conversed.

“Trust me, and trust God,” he finally said.

“Okay,” she ceded.

It was at this point that Noah got me out of bed. “I don’t want to screw this up.” Screw it up? He’d been praying through every response, and it showed. I advised him to say, “Promise me u won’t hurt yourself,” and “I have more to share about God when u r ready.” Then we prayed for this hurting girl together, hugged each other, and went to bed.

Shauna and I are so excited. This wasn’t just Noah parroting church speak. This was his own, his prayerful own. “I’m vibrating, Dad,” he said, eyes gleaming. He looked so alive.

I’m so glad he disobeyed. That he understood—the rules are generally true, but if your sheep falls into the well on the sabbath, for heaven’s sake, pull the thing out. And if a lost sheep comes knocking at your door, for heaven’s sake, don’t say, “My dad said I can’t text after bedtime.”