|Older sisters taking Sarah out for her first 14 year old fancy coffee and a play performance on her birthday!|
That running with and releasing the string can be easier said than done. Just ask any parent with teenagers!
After becoming used to guarding and protecting our kites and working so hard to tie on that tail that will balance them later (the Word), it can be tough to even consider bringing these kites outside. This may be especially true with girls.
They have become beautiful under our care. Wouldn't it be better to hang them our wall to admire or tuck them away in a drawer for safe keeping rather than risk the diving and dipping that is sure to come as they begin to catch flight?
But kites were made to fly.
|We gave this book to Faith when she was little, but the Ps. 139 message is still true. We will not always be with her, but God will.|
THE HURDLES AND HELPS
When I posted recently about parenting teens, I said that I would share a little about our thought process in sending Faith to college. Honestly, it was not an easy decision for our family. Really.
Because Faith was always academic, we decided long ago that we would simply do our best not to close any doors along the way, in case the Lord might have plans we did not know about yet. We always figured that God can steer a moving ship, so we went ahead and had her take the PSAT and later the SAT, but all the while we were still not convinced that the Lord wanted her to go to college.
While in secular circles a girl going to college raises no eyebrows, we have been exposed to a different way of thinking.
First of all, as homeschoolers we are the types to usually buck the system. Pretty much any system. If the world approves it, it must be evil- or at least unhealthy. We're pretty leery about whatever is being peddled our way and we are willing to do our research. But in doing our research in this area, we had to admit that some institutions for higher education not only made sense, they were being redeemed for God's glory.
Secondly, over the last few years every bit of information related to college we had heard was fear based. K
ids who go to college- even Christian college- will fall away from the faith. Or get raped. Or both. There were statistics and examples shared with us at every turn, so why in the world would we even consider it? But we remembered that God has not given us a spirit of fear. He knows our days before there is even one of them. Yes, we must navigate wisely, but not based on fear of man.
As we prayed, God led us to reexamine the history of Daniel. We were reminded that all the best kids, from good Israelite families, were taken into captivity with Daniel. So why was it that only Daniel and his friends were committed to following what they knew pleased the Lord during this period of training (which was roughly around the same length of time as the college experience)?
There were only four out of all the best of captured from all of the tribes of Israel who resolved to obey God. They refrained from eating what was unlawful for them. Later it was Daniel who was unwilling to stop his prayers to the Lord and his friends who would not bow down to an idol.
We had to admit that sounded worse than today's statistics. Maybe this was really a heart issue and not a college issue.
Thirdly, we knew our goal for Faith would be to prepare her to be a godly helpmeet someday. We had to consider, would a higher education improve her abilities to be a helpmeet or prohibit them? Personally, every skill I learned in college (except Trigonometry- yuck!) has been a service to me and to our household. It has never deterred me from my Titus 2 objectives, but it has helped me in numerous ways.
Once we tackled those hurdles in our thinking, it was time to identify our actual goals for our daughter over
the next few years. They included:
That she would continue to grow socially, intellectually and spiritually
That she would be fashioned into a woman who would be an excellent helpmeet if and when God blessed that opportunity
That she would be equipped as best as we were able to equip her for an unknown future
That she would continue to contribute in a meaningful way in her sister's lives and in our home
The entire time we processed these thoughts, we never believed that Christian college would be the only avenue to achieve these goals for our daughter or that college was the right choice for every child. But we acknowledged that if God is creative enough to make each snowflake and fingerprint uniquely, He is able to have a different plan for different families and different children. We were convinced that we must seek Him and not parent based on peer pressure.
This was our thought process. It is NOT a model to follow, but a peek into our hearts and minds on this issue. We had to lay it all before the Lord and process through point by point, always trusting the Lord to bring a Scripture to our minds at the appropriate time. Which He did.
Whatever is ahead for you in the teen years, He will lead you if you ask Him. You do not need to fear. He will direct you to a safe place in which you can release some string. Not every place will be safe. Not every season in your child's life will be a safe time. It may take adjustments.
For us, the Christian college (while Faith remains living at home) has been a safe place to release some string.
And she is soaring.
|Homemade banner by the talented Michaela.|
CUT 'EM A BREAK
Parenting teens is amazing, but navigating and learning when and how much string to release is not without some challenge. This is a time when parents and teens need your extra encouragement and support.
The problem is, that over the years many well meaning Christian families have created models to help others "do better" with the teen to twenty year old years than the secular culture is doing (think: courtship, being fruitful and multiplying, specific modesty requirements, the trend of discounting higher learning etc.).*
But the doctrines of men tend to do something that is very dangerous for us. They tend to remove our need to seek the Lord in these matters. And they tend to make us judgmental if others don't follow along.
Don't be like that. Cut the parents of teens (and the teens themselves) a break.
Cheer on those who are walking the teen years and
trust God. These families may make decisions you don't think that you would. That's ok. God may be displaying His creativity, His grace and His ability to work all things together for good for those who love Him.
Above all, love. God has a plan for these kites. Let them fly.