Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Taking Hold

On Sunday, CJ went out on a mountain hike by himself to hear from God and to hopefully come back with a confirmed college decision. When he got home, his answer came out in a song and his smile was so full of peace that I felt I needed to capture the moment...

Later in the day he sat down at the computer to capture his decision-making process in words. We talked about how he wanted to share these thoughts with others, and he said that I could post it on my blog.
“Or maybe you could start your own blog,” I suggested. And that's what he did.

He decided to call his blog “Taking Hold of the Life that is Truly Life.”

The story of CJ’s heart journey “No Turning Back” brings to life so many of the things that Charly and I have hoped and prayed for our kids to “take hold” of as they grow into adulthood:

How to get good counsel and input
And how to ultimately hear from God in the midst of a lot of voices and information
How to make hard decisions that other people might not understand
By ultimately trusting in God (not trusting in the ability to give amazing answers to people)
How to seek security and satisfaction in God alone (not in friends or community)
And find a real peace of heart that is not dependent on the external
How to count blessings in life
And to see God as the great Giver (leading to humility and gratefulness)
How to make sacrifices without regrets
Like the heroes of our faith
Following their understanding of a heavenly citizenship (not looking to this world as our real home)
How to be intentional about life goals and aspirations
By identifying people and places that will foster this desired growth and development
How to follow the heart (not a list of pros and cons)
And ultimately to find God
Who gives great hope and promise for the future.

I share this part of CJ’s story as a Mom greatly humbled and grateful for the heart of an almost-adult son who is truly seeking God on his own. I share it with the same feeling of amazement as when we received the news of CJ’s college acceptances. Overwhelmed by grace. It is my very sincere hope that my sharing this does not come across at all in a prideful way.

My thought is this: we’re just a Christian family raising and teaching our kids overseas. Charly and I have made lots of mistakes in parenting. I am a Mom who struggles with frequent migraines. Since we left a very supportive homeschool community in Tianjin two years ago, we’ve been living somewhat isolated lives in central western China. And yet, it’s in spite of and even because of these challenges that God has worked in the ways that He has. He has transformed limitations and possible setbacks into opportunities and blessings. I love what a friend wrote in response to “How to Be a Lazy Mom:” that she was encouraged to see "God's strength being made perfect in my weakness." That really is the way He delights to work, and our whole family has been on the receiving end of much, much grace. So I hope what I share comes through this firm belief. Any good result is not about me. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him.

Tedd Tripp talks about shaping influences in our kids’ lives and their Godward orientation. He says that as parents we try to provide the best shaping influences that we can. Our kids are then responsible for how they respond (toward God or away from Him).

There are clearly no guaranteed formulas for how to make sure our kids “turn out right.” We do the best we can. And we trust the results to God. Everyone’s story is different, and He doesn’t want us to compare ourselves or our children to anyone else, thinking that we are “better than” or “worse than.” God is uniquely working in each of our lives and in each of our children’s lives. Through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the pretty and the ugly. He wants us to trust everything to Him, to work out according to His perfect timing and His good purposes.

Before King David died, he did all that he could do in preparation for his son Solomon to build the Temple, and entrusted all that he couldn’t do to God. What a great example for us as parents: to do our best to equip and empower our children and then to be at peace with leaving the results to God. (1 Chronicles 29)

When we see our children taking their own steps of faith, and as they choose their own stones from the stream (as young David did against the mighty Goliath), we want to believe with them that their God can equip them for their battles in ways that we would never imagine.

Taking hold of the life that is truly life.

(CJ's high school graduation speech: Not One Man Scaling a Cliff)


Linking up with Velvet Ashes on the theme of "Teaching"

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