I was just dropping my then-12-year-old Lexi off at pottery class, but found myself faced with an unexpected and unsettling dilemma. Each month, the pottery studio featured an art display in the lobby but this one sickened my spirit. Skeletons, overtly sensual sculptures of Eden, death, darkness. Perhaps it was the Halloween season, but this was darker even than most nods at October 31. At the back of the display was a large, antique Bible, in which every word had been painstakingly blacked out. Well, most words. The precious, but desecrated book was open to Revelation where three words were left exposed: God. Is. Dead. They hit me like a fist to my gut.

My first reaction was to run and to take my daughter with me so she would not be exposed to the presence of evil, but God had been seasoning me to ask Him when I should allow my children to face the culture, not hide from it.

The thought occurred to me that David may never have faced Goliath had he not been allowed to go into the fray of his culture. To be certain, a battlefield is not a pretty place and brooding soldiers can be crass. (It does not go unnoticed that it was his father who sent him to take his brother’s food on the battlefield. No mother would ever make such a decision!)

I went out to my minivan and prayed about what to do. God seemed to be urging me not to take Lexi out of that situation, but also not to leave. I circled the block praying for my sweet girl through out her one-hour pottery class.

When the hour was up, my gangling middle-schooler bounced out the door of the studio, across the street, and into the passenger seat of my mom mobile. She had a tale to tell.

“Mom, my pottery teacher is an atheist,” she announced. “And the red headed high school girl she’s an ag….ag…what’s that word when you don’t know if God exists?”

“Agnostic,” I inserted.

“Yes,” she affirmed. “Anyway, that ugly display in there had them talking about hell. I could tell the new girl was uncomfortable with what they were saying. It was all about how hell wasn’t real and stuff. The more they talked, the more that girl looked scared. I couldn’t take it anymore so I said, ‘How do you know?’”

And then, my sweet little Lexi went on to speak with assurance that she wouldn’t be there … if it was real. But where would they be?

And that new girl? She stood up a little straighter when Lexi interjected herself into the conversation.

Lexi: 1

Giant, ugly art display: 0

It requires a moment-by-moment prayer life to know when and how to let our children take on the giants.

If you do not have an ongoing conversation with the Holy Spirit about raising your children to be set apart in this corrupt culture, you will become a paranoid mother whose legalism does not allow her children to face the giants God means for them to face.

This post is taken from a message delivered at True Woman 2012 in Indianapolis on September 21 in which Dannah taught on raising children to be pure and holy. You can listen to the full message, What Children Need to Become Pure, Holy Adults: Six Strategies to Live Above the Culture on the True Woman website.