Sunday, April 08, 2012

Dear Caroline and Ellie (when you're in college)

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the fact that I have daughters. Well, I guess not so much that I have them, but that they will grow up to be teenagers. The thought frightens me to my core. I think back to my teen years and feel like I really wasn't all that awful to deal with. Although I think if you asked my parents, especially my dad, he would say I certainly had my moments. In fact, I have seen him laughing ever so slyly under his breath when Caroline sasses me. It's like he's thinking, "Payback, baby, PAYBACK!" I still get made fun of for my overuse of the word "Whatever" to them whenever I was annoyed by their disregard for what I wanted to do. I don't remember being overly rebellious. I hung out with a great group of girls who had my best interest at heart. I guess that is the first thing I would tell my girls, choose your friends wisely. I remember so many times, hearing my dad say, usually to my brother," If you hang around garbage you start to stink!" So true. The thing about being a teenager/young adult,what have you, is that your are sometimes drawn to the bad girls. Please, sweet girls, RUN from them! I pray they find great, solid, Christian friends who share their faith and yet want to have adventures.
I also remember thinking to myself before I left for college at Central Michigan University, " I am going to drink and have such a good time!" and we're not talking lemonade, folks. Well, maybe it was lemonade but it was heavily spiked with vodka.Drinking and doing it to excess was at the root of every bad decision I ever made in college. I am not saying that I expect my kids will never drink. Will I be the kind of parent who gives my kids alcohol in our basement or turns the other way when they do it underage? No, I won't. My parents didn't and I always felt that it set appropriate boundaries. I never stole alcohol from my parents. I would say to my girls and my boy, for that matter, be very careful with alcohol. It is very alluring and a fair weather friend that turns into a foe very quickly.
Speaking of drinking and bad decisions. I certainly want my girls to guard their hearts and their virtue. That's all I have to say about that.
At the end of the day, I desire for my girls to know their own hearts and convictions. I want them to follow the path I have tried to set before them because THEY have a desire to do so. I want them to be faith filled and Christ filled because they are. Do I expect perfection? Certainly not! Do I know they will stumble and even be led astray, sadly, yes I know this is probable. Yet, I believe that if we build a solid foundation and model this in our own lives, that they will come back to what they know, in the end, is right for them.
There is a song by Mumford and Sons called "Roll away your stone" it is an awesome song and there is a line in there that sums the grace I always want to extend to my children,
It seems that all my bridges have been burnt
But you say that's exactly how this grace thing works
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart

Dear Caroline and Ellie and Matthew too, Know you can always come home. NO matter where you've been or what you've done. Grace will always be here for you.

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