Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Call me extreme

I recently posted on Facebook that I was reading the Duggar daughters' book, "Growing Up Duggar".  The world views this family as very abnormal.  19 children.  No TV.  All home-schooled.  The latest subject of their extreme views of parenting is in the area of courtship vs dating.  Despite society's ongoing discussion of their family choices, they remain steadfast in their parenting and beliefs.  I understand that even though they have a reality television program, they do not watch television.  Technology is very much a part of their lives.  Computers are necessary in their education with so many children.  They live with modern conveniences like most people, but not "extreme".  They choose what is necessary and helpful and in alignment with their parenting choices.  Isn't it ironic? People call them "extreme", yet they live a fairly normal life, making choices in agreement with the commitment they made as parents.

I often wish I could turn back the clock and make some different choices.  I mourn over time wasted.  I am sure my own daughters would cringe at what they think would be "limitations" placed on them were I to radically move toward some of these practices.  "Pulling the plug" and cleaning out their drawers and closets would surely win me "Mother of the Year" and they would "call me blessed".  ha  Still, I think baby steps could make a difference.  Then I panic and think I don't have time for baby steps!!  Time is running out!!  That is exactly where Satan wants me.  He wants me to live in a state of panic and fear.  Carpe diem!  Sure, I'll seize the present moment and day, but I don't want to think little of the future.  There must be a balance.

I look around me at people who are chasing their children all over.  They have them involved in so many things that consume every waking moment of everyone's lives.  We all invest somewhere.  My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about what we are investing in our girls and where we seem to be placing the most emphasis.  I remember the old saying, "Where are you writing your checks?  That will tell you what's important to you."  Checks could represent money or time.  Where am I writing the checks of time in our family?  What would my girls say is most important?  I believe in asking them their opinions and finding out their dreams and desires, but hear me when I say I do not believe they are old enough to write the checks.  If you place a cookie and a piece of celery in front of your small child you know what will happen.  If you show them a picture with vibrant color and sparkles and one in black and white, unless they are color blind they will instantly move toward the one with sparkles.  Why wouldn't they?  We as adults are guilty of the same thing.  We give our children too many choices.  We also assume that because it's the latest and greatest thing on the street, then we'd better get on the train or we will be left at the station and our kids won't get into college.  Why?  Because "someone" or "they" said so.

What do I want for my girls?  Am I planning where they will go to school?  Nah.   I've seen too many spend hours and hours planning this.  There is a school for my girls if that's what God has planned for them.  There is just the right place.  It may not have a shiny sticker (colored jersey) recognizable to everyone within 100 yards of it, but a phase of their life will be lived where God has already cultivated the soil, preparing it for them.  Yes, I will plan.  Yes, I will encourage and help them make decisions as they move toward this phase of life.  But I pray that God will free our family from the chase.  God already has this.  He already has a purpose and a plan.  The tyranny of the urgent is not necessarily the right and good thing.  I want to reclaim my time.

'We sense uneasily our failure to do what was really important.  The winds of other people's demands, and our own inner compulsions have driven us onto a reef of frustration.  We realize that quite apart from our sins, we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done."  (Charles E. Hummel, Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent)  

What do I admire about the Duggars?  A lot.  I think what I admire most, is the fact that they believe that investing in the hearts of their children surpasses everything else they could put their money and time into.  Their children are thriving where GOD wants them to thrive.  They are not easily entangled in the web of keeping up with everyone else.  They are also human.  They make mistakes just like everyone else.  I do not hold them on a pedestal, but rather admire them for being true to what God has called them to.

Jesus was extreme.  He was certainly not average and lost in the moving crowd.  He wasn't found in the places one would expect him to be.  People chased Him.   Who and what am I chasing?  What am I modeling to my children?  When they look back on our home and our life what will they remember most?

I know what I want their answer to be.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Let Them Go

"Why don't they want me?"  "Why don't they love me?"  These are two age old questions that have been around since sin entered the world.  We'd be extraordinarily rare if we say we've never asked one or both of those questions in our lifetime.  

We may have journeyed down this road in our childhood, teen years, and even in our adult lives.  No matter how old we are, the feelings of loneliness and abandonment are very real and do not feel any less painful.  As adults we have the responsibility of coming alongside our children when they ask these heart-wrenching questions.  And we know the pain.  We feel it all over again. 

I've never understood blatant rejection.  You give your heart to a friend, try to be honest, and they totally reject your attempt at a genuine relationship--one that requires communication.  Someone you thought was a forever friend becomes what may seem like a figment of your imagination and you ask yourself if it was all a dream.  You realize that what you thought was a friendship that had taken root and was healthy had no roots at all.  Maybe there were roots on your side, but the other side pulled up and left without need of any gardening tools--no cutting necessary.  And there you are...still partially rooted in the ground with the bare ends of your roots naked, exposed, and gasping for the rich soil you thought was friendship.  The person walked away without ever looking back.  We don't have to look far to see this around us.  Spouses leave.  Friends leave.  Parents leave.  Children leave.  

I ran across a blog this morning that quoted from a sermon by T.D. Jakes:


There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you.  I mean hang up the phone.  When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.


The Bible said "They came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us."  [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay.

Let them go.


These are powerful words.  I plan to share these with others, and also heed them myself.  I know there must be something freeing about arriving at this place of release.  I am praying earnestly that someone dear to me will reach this place very soon.   I pray also for the countless others who find themselves asking the heart-wrenching question, "Why don't they love/want me?" I pray God will fill in those empty places with His binding and forever love.  

He knows the feeling of rejection.  Jesus was rejected in his own hometown.  He was rejected by the religious leaders.  He was rejected by his own followers and closest friends.  Even God the Father, for the necessary brief time, turned His back on Jesus when he took on the sins of the world.  JESUS KNOWS REJECTION.  And He lives.  He lives to give us freedom from this horrible feeling.  Because of His suffering, the believer will NEVER be rejected by God.  

Though these words won't always ring loudly to a young child or a teenage girl, they need to be said over and over again.  It is our responsibility to write scripture on the walls, the foreheads, and the hearts of our children.  We can also be a light to others who are hurting and need to hear these words.  The Word of the Lord will not return void.  We may not see it blossom.  We may not see it take root.  But we must sew it on dry, starving, and hurting souls.  God will take care of the rest.  

Let them go.