Making the Right Decision

We all have decisions to make in life. Some may not be as heavy as others, but still important nonetheless. As a parent, making decisions for my young children is more difficult than for myself. Do we homeschool or send our children to public or private school? Do we go the athletics route with the children or music? Would I rather sit on bleachers and root for the home basketball, baseball, soccer team or sit in a studio listening to the plinking out on the ivory keys, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

But there comes a time when our children grow up and have to make their own decisions. I worry at times if I have taught them how to make decisions.

Poised and ready for med-school, our daughter needs to make a major decision. Not like what dress to wear today or even what classes to schedule for the semester, but a life-changing decision.

Emily the Explorer

After returning recently from her second mission trip to Kenya, Emily had a huge dilemma. She read her Bible day and night and prayed earnestly. Emily asked both friends and professors, and they all told her to go for it—go back to Africa. Med-school would always be there when she returned. So Emily made the decision to defer medical school for a year and return to Africa to teach in the orphanage. What a relief she felt once this decision was made and the burden was lifted from her shoulders—for two days. And then she started rethinking the choice she had made. Why did she not have a peace about it? In total frustration, she decided to go to med-school. Together, she and I drew out the proverbial “pros and cons” listing and at this point in time, Emily is leaning toward the Africa plan again.

It reminds me of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” In that poem, the traveler chose the road less traveled and it made all the difference to him. I know eventually Emily will feel the same way.

We may not be able to pass down true choice-making skills to our children, but we can cultivate and model sound reasoning and thinking. Even then, they may waffle back and forth, but at least they can make logical choices. And my advice to my children is to never look back. Make the decision and live out your life to the fullest.




  1. by Bumper

    On June 18, 2011

    Making the Right Decision was an excellent article. You captured the true essence of what a parent experiences with their children and conveyed it in a highly readable and entertaining manner. I am finding that I cannot wait to see how it plays out and if your daughter goes to Kenya before Med School or after. The mark of a good author I guess, always leave them wanting more.

    Tom B.

  2. by Sally C

    On June 18, 2011

    Why do we struggle so with decision making? It seems the older I get the harder it gets to decide on even the simplest things (like your blog”What’s for lunch”!). Partly I think we are given way too many choices these days. Life has gotten too complex. I long for the simpler days where the only question was “Do you want fries with that?”. I think it is Satan’s ploy to get us so distracted that we don’t have time to focus on Jesus.

    As far as Emily’s decision, it probably really doesn’t matter (easy for me to say). God will be with her in Africa or Med school. God will use her to love on His children in Africa or Med school. God will give her what she needs in Africa or Med school…, so He is probably good with whatever she decides. She went to Central Am. between HS and college. Seems like she has already made this same decision, so we’re basically just talking about different locations. Did she regret that decision? Was school more difficult because she laid out a year, or was she more mentally ready?

    When I sold books we had a saying that I wish I lived by more , “You can spend a lot of time trying to make the ‘right’ decision, or you can make a decision and then make it ‘right’!” (or let God make it ‘right’ Rom 8:28).

    Gotta run and agonize over what’s for dinner!!!!!
    Love you,

  3. by Jennifer R

    On June 18, 2011

    I have always struggled with decisions. I think if the choice is not clear and she has earnestly sought wisdom from the Lord, she should just do what she wants to do most. I know for me, however, sometimes I do not even know my own greatest desire, which is frustrating! I like your conclusion. I honestly believe that at times there is not one right path and God is fine with whatever we choose. Once you make the best decision you can, just go for it. I know you are so proud of Emily!!

  4. by Sue Henderson

    On June 18, 2011

    You really are a writer. I feel much better that her trip will be only 5 months and that she may be going with a friend. Such a different culture all by herself had me a little worried especially for a whole year. But with a friend for five months your daughter can do that with her eyes closed. Whatever she decides I have unlimited faith in her ability. She can make no wrong decision. And whatever she decides God will bless her along the way. I love you both.

  5. by CONNIE

    On June 18, 2011




  6. by H Liu

    On June 18, 2011

    I can’t think of a better way to live than to take risks for the Lord and watch him bring blessing from our steps of faith! I’m very excited for Emily!

  7. by Stephanie

    On June 18, 2011

    With one child entering her senior year in college, one child in the Marines, and one child finishing her first year in public high school, I can certainly relate to the continual barrage of “I sure hope we taught our children well how to make the right decisions” questioning! But, I love your statement that “we can cultivate and model sound reasoning and thinking,” by actually doing what we hope and pray our children will do. Isn’t that like the old adage, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day?”

    It sounds like your sweet Emily is making big decisions in a way that will result in fewer and fewer regrets and more and more joy. Can’t wait to read the next installment – thanks for including me on your list!!

  8. by Janice cartwright

    On June 19, 2011

    Thanks Judy for inviting me to your blog and may I say your article succeeds very well in inviting comment. Who among us has not jousted in our courts of decision? If only there were clearly marked “This Way –> Will of God” signposts on the road it would be nice (we think): then we might take the right or left Y without hesitation. Or at least even if we did quail at the sight of that narrow, cliff-hugging track we could still hug to ourself the knowledge that hard though it might be we walked on the ‘side of the angels.’ As it is, unless the Holy Spirit has given us a plain injunction, we wrestle, we grapple, we roll in the dust with our adversary,’ Choosing.’

    In your daughter’s case (may I propose?), happy combination of the two seems almost anointed as an eventual, if not immediate, solution. Med school and mission work marry so well and God has a way of bringing us into that exact setting He has envisioned for us all along. Certainly Judy you can count yourself blessed to have a girl who cares about that, and about what the Lord thinks, her gifts He has given her, and how best to use them. I think the hardest part is learning how to lean on Him and lean hard: He knows the outcome and we don’t need to fret. Now I need to go and take my own advice. 🙂

  9. by julie

    On June 20, 2011

    The thing about decisions is that unless you know that is one an unwise, ungodly choice, the GOOD Lord, in his mercy, will provide many opportunities to glorify Him and to serve others, regardless of the road taken.

    He is on every road that the righteous choose…that’s the cool part… as believers our life story should rightly be entitled “Adventures with Jesus”. Pray, listen for the definitive “No” and if you don’t hear it…step out: med-school or Africa, there is no “right” choice. Choose without fear, without regret, and with excitement and JOY ! as you look forward to walking and working with the Lord…both roads equally blessed and equally certain to be full of adventures in sharing the gospel and helping others.

    It’s pure excitement to step out in faith, fully trusting the Lord…He’s already there whatever you decide Emily and He has GREAT PLANS FOR YOUR GOOD and His Glory !

  10. by Liz Miller

    On June 22, 2011

    What wise and loving friends you have, Judy! So fun to read of Emily’s struggle with such awesome choices! I’m presently in Sweden visiting Jonathan and Trista for a month….helping out with my new twin grand babies!!! As I’ve watched and listened to their participation in the Torchbearer ministry here, I have been so blessed and thankful that they chose to hop into ministry before figuring out what they’ll do with the rest of their lives. The environment, the teaching, the fellowship, the ministry….everything I witness makes me thankful they made this choice. I think it will give them such a broader vantage point in pursuing long term goals and aspirations. For Emily….I pray she will find rest in whatever decision she makes. God is so faithful. Can’t wait to hear! What a precious girl you have! Thanks for including me in your blog.

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