When my kids were little, they were like little ducklings, waddling behind me. They followed me, clung to my side or climbed into my lap for protection. But there comes a time when each child climbs off your lap and looks at life in a whole new way. It is then that you realize that they were not created in your image but in God's. And they are not your clone, but divinely created to be who they are supposed to be.
It has been one of the most dynamic and difficult adventures I have been on. I remember one year ago, I could barely breath. I felt the caving pressures of kids that wanted to be "normal". I was able to keep them little longer than most of the people I knew. keeping them unspotted from technology, from mainstream culture, and from the ever shifting pulls of modern society.
When your daughter says, "I am NOT your little girl anymore," or "I don't want to dress like a 100 years ago anymore!" It is a moment that I felt my grip slipping and all that I poured and invested was being put to the test. I saw lives instead of clones. I saw real people instead of children. They had their own ideas and dreams. To raise a flock of children that can't express themselves or be anything other than what you prescribe, is no different than having programmed robots that have not the first gift that God gave. God endowed each of us with the gift of making our own choices and a free will. We get to choose between right and wrong, and when we follow Him, it is because we desire that path. And that glorifies God. FREE WILL is exactly what separates us from robots and makes us HUMAN.
People are different. I know the feeling of power that a parent has when the kids are young. Your word is final. What you say—goes! A child will trust a parent so completely and love so unconditionally. When we slip up and yell at them, when we lose our cool, they are quick to forgive. The same face that snarls at them, they will gently touch with their soft hands that knows no real evil. They are precious and they are a fleeting gift. They like what you like. The music you like whether that is gospel hymns or rock and roll. I have seen little children who will stand up in front of a crowd in a pretty little line, reciting scripture, and singing the most beautiful hymn. I have also seen kids stuffed in car seats memorizing rap songs from the radio that their mama is blaring from the front of the car. They just do it. It is a part of being a kid and wanting to be just like mom and dad, the only life line they know and trust. They don't understand the lyrics on either side, yet they march to the beat of that drum because that is where they placed by God.
They don't get to choose what home or family that they are born into. And as parents we want the very best. We want to protect and shield them from all the injustice and evil that the world has so readily offered. I have been around people that do not allow their children to have peers because they feel kids are foolish and it is better that a child be around wise older people. Others that have found like minded believers that live in little sects. Those same people that will cast you off the second you do not conform on some certain outward application. We have had the pains of that rejection. I am not the perfect, meek and quiet lady-like woman. I have a wild dynamic personality that does not conform. I refuse to be like everyone else and I will not be put into a box! And I have kids that are just like me. In the process, what I did not realize, is that I made my own odd shaped boxes.
It should have been no surprise to me when my kids did not want to fit into my odd shaped boxes! But yet it was hard to walk through at the time. A time when I wished I could show off my kids that they were so conservative and perfectly mannered, dressing in ultra modest apparel, but those days were gone forever. I could no longer say with PRIDE, "My kids don't like to play video games! They like to play with cardboard outside all day in the sunshine! My girls love to sew their own dresses, they don't want to wear skinny pants!" And I just wanted them to be who I was. I wanted them to STAY in that box, even though I would not have it that way for myself. Loving your neighbor is even harder when it is your kids, to love them as yourself. We often put unreasonable expectations on our kids that we, OURSELVES, could never rise up to.
And what it all boiled down to was pride, my own stinking pride. I did not want to show up somewhere with kids that dressed like the world. I had MY IMAGE to uphold. It was my selfish heart that wanted to KEEP them! They are NOT mine! They belong to God, and I was just blessed to hold them and lead them for a time. We live in a community where there is a big divide. There are the Plain folk and the World Folk. You can't blur that line or else you will not fit in. And that is fine with me. I don't care to be like one or the other, I like to walk that path that is less traveled. I soon found out that my old fashioned wardrobe was embarrassing for the kids, and to get them to dress like that in a sea of skinny pants and makeup, I might as well leave them floating on an island in the middle of an ocean with no connection to the outside world. But they live in this world and they have cell phones.
That was one of the hardest battles. It was one that my husband won. Yes, I was that controlling wife AGAIN, as embarrassing as it is to admit, that wanted no movies, no tv, no cell phones, no worldly music, no make up, no pants, CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL! And it was going to tear my family to pieces. I was doing this with my own selfish pride. When my girls skirts kept getting shorter and shorter, because they were sick of being weird, I would cry and yell at them about how immodest it was. They would cry and withdraw from my fellowship because I did not understand them. My husband said with authority, "Are you going to let a few inches of fabric ruin your relationship with your daughters?" Oh man! I tell you what, I was broken! What he said hit me right in between my eyes and I was humbled by it. I was more concerned with fabric than their souls. That was a year ago! And I have come a long way. We wear pants and make up. We have fun girl days, going shopping and we still love Jesus! I will even venture to say that our relationship with the Lord is even deeper and filled with more meaning than when we were trying so hard to please a God that is not pleased by a bunch of empty standards anyhow!
I know some of you will judge us, but that is okay! You have the right to have your own standards and to follow your convictions. I can't just force my family to fit into your box just so you will respect us more. Just because you respect us more is not going to give us a better family life. Most people who read my blog never even take a single minute to pour back into our life. I cast my bread on the water and oftentimes I wonder if there is anyone out there who reads it. Most people just "eat and run". We are REAL people, with real lives, and to try to live up to yawls expectations is foolish. It is all a part of my personal growth as a woman. I am actually very thankful that God loves me enough to teach me the value of life, the value of my family, and the ministry that I have is to them first. If I have anything left over, you all get my left overs. I refuse to revolve my life around my blog.
I used to be all things to all people except my family! And now I am honoring my husband and my children with my life. We are one! I am no longer sitting in my room looking down my scornful nose, I am enjoying a movie with my family, or texting them, or reading their posts on social media. When you have teens you have to focus on relationships not necessarily all the outward things. You teach them to have their own convictions when you allow them freedom to chose. It works! My husband's point with social media and cell phones was, "You can keep them off all that stuff, but when they are adults they will run right for it with nothing to hold them back, or help train them!" That was a hard pill to swallow when you have all the bad stuff you know is lurking out there on the internet. Well, it is a blessing that we keep a close watch and have kids that have the knowledge of what is evil out there. We get to talk more and teach them even more on what consequences that go with sin. And they stay away. I never have to peer over their shoulders. I trust them. Maybe you don't have that kind of relationship with your kids. We can pick up their phones at anytime and check their history, they ask us to, because they want accountability and proof. We have people in our community that just love to slam people with accusations about porn use. "Bring it on," say my kids, "We can prove it! We will NEVER waste our life on Porn!!!!" No one will be able to nail us on that one! Maybe you can't turn your back on your kids for even a second because they will be curious and go to the depths of hell and back again and lie to your face about it. And you are right to fear what they are doing. Not everyone has trust and the blessings of true fellowship with their kids like we do. And I could have traded that trust for forcing standards on my kids and they would have hated me for it. The first chance they had to run, or sin, or cheat, they would. But praise God, we are one.
There is balance. And that is where I am now. I am trying hard to find it! I am trying hard to understand my place. My place as parent and friend. Respecting them for who they choose to be and how they choose to look. I am learning to embrace my kids for who they are becoming and it is WAY better than anything I could have prescribed. They are inventive, expressive, talented, kind, compassionate, and funny! Life is different on the homestead. We can't write stories of the little family that seems as though they were taken from a storybook from 100 years ago with dust on their cheeks from working the fields! We have kids that are branding themselves. They are breaking the mold and exploding into amazing people. And we are getting closer as a family each day. God is showing me how to be patient, kind, yet firm when it is needed. They actually don't want to be on phones all the time, they still play outside a lot, help on the homestead, and live a pretty active lifestyle. It would never be good to overdue. It is always great to have moderation in all things!
I am still the keeper of this homestead, canning lady, Pioneer woman, butcher queen, pie baker, follower of Jesus, homeschooling mama of 5, wife and lover to my dear husband. I still tie my apron on and am productive around here even though I may sometimes wear a pair of pants. Oh, and we do network marketing and love, love, love it! It has become our new family business! Mark and I already make a living with it and our health is amazing! Our family is finally thriving mentally, spiritually, physically, and financially, Praise God! And as a family, we are helping a lot of people! Don't judge us— join us! We are in the business of offering others hope! We are actually looking for more people who want to join our business and it is about time that we show people how to get busy with helping others, too! It is so fun to be on the other side of that fence making a difference in the lives of others instead of just judging them. Email me if you are ready to get busy with us!
What I love most about God is that His mercies are new each morning! That means we can start over each day and it is never too late to learn and make some adjustments when they are needed. Life just evolves sometimes into different seasons, and you have to find joy even in change. I have found joy in the teen season. We are not finished with that season, and we probably will have to keep adjusting and finding more balance as time goes on. I like that I am on the right path, right where God placed me, in His blessed will.
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."