I am always in awe of my children, how they’ve grown up to love and serve the Lord. And I am always so thrilled (never taking for granted) that we’ve never experienced the teenage rebellion that is considered “normal” in our culture today.
I really don’t take credit for this. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes in raising my children. I’ve responded in anger, in fear, in a desire to please men rather than God. I’ve said things I vowed never to say. I’ve lashed out when I felt my children’s character flaws were an inconvenience to my life rather than an opportunity to train them up in the Lord.
We have 8 children, 4 of whom are adults. Our eldest graduated from college last Saturday, our 2nd worked at a grunt job to pay off a college loan and buy some equipment and now is working full time at home in game design (he has 1 year to try and make a go of it). Our 3rd child is who I am centering on today. She is currently traveling with an evangelistic drama ministry (she is one of three of our children to travel with them) and serving in homes, churches, camps, prisons all over the country.
Mom and Dad, thank you for always being there for me. I can’t think of any time (save a few bad mood Megill days) when I have felt that I couldn’t approach you or talk to you. I have always known that, with anything important to me, I could go to both of your with it. I have always known that you cared, always known that you loved me, always had complete faith in your being understanding and wise in your counsel and care. And by “know” I don’t just mean a head knowledge. I mean that I had faith and believed in what I knew and felt it and was shown it. I’ve never felt neglected, hurt, abandoned, unsafe, insecure, unworthy or unloved by anything that you guys have done.
You’ve trained me up in the way I should go. You have laid a firm foundation for me, and have demonstrated for me how to love and pursue Christ with all of my heart. You have taught me how to discern and think for myself and given me such godly counsel on so many occasions.
You have encouraged me and enjoyed me as I’ve become my own person. You have helped me to become who I am, and to embrace who God has made me to be. You have never shown any favoritism among any of us kids. You have called me out and corrected me and disciplined me in love and godliness. You two (other than, you know, Jesus) are my absolute heroes. I am so utterly blessed to have you as my parents!
I don’t share this to boast. On the contrary, I am very humbled by her letter (weeping, actually). We have worked so hard to create an atmosphere in our home that encouraged our children to talk to us. We are a talking family but we generally talk about ideas, theology, philosophy and not always feelings. And our 4 oldest children are very private and introverted while our 4 younger ones are more gregarious and expressive.
When this daughter was young, she found it very difficult to talk about what was bothering her. I encouraged her to write me letters. For 7 or 8 years, several times a week I’d find a letter on my bed at night. She’d pour out her heart, her concerns, her sorrows and I’d come into her room and begin the conversation. The ice was broken and we’d have a good talk together.
If I’ve learned anything it is that I need to really get to KNOW my children;
- to see what touches them
- what frightens them
- what is easy for them
- where they freeze in panic
I don’t treat them all the same but I love them all the same. I still blow it so often, but God continues to faithfully teach me as I try and teach them.
It has been a wonderful journey with most of my trepidation coming from MY faults rather than my children’s failures. Most importantly I have come to ENJOY my children very very much! And enjoy them for who they are, not for who I’m wanting them to be.
I just wanted to share my joy and delight in my children. Not boasting about their accomplishments (none of them have really accomplished much of anything) – but rejoicing in their love for God, their love for others and their delight in being part of the family God placed them in.
How do your children delight YOUR life? I’d love to hear about it.
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