Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanks Mom and Dad

I know recently you’ve been apologizing for the way you’ve raised us. Little comments here and there rolling your eyes at yourselves about how you can’t believe you forbade us to celebrate Halloween and how you both were ‘so ridiculous’ because you never did let us believe in an imaginary Santa Claus. I know you feel you’ve deprived me. Through the years it seems you are acquiring something the enemy loves to have us drag along with us- guilt. I have something so important I need to share with you. Please believe me when I say

you did well.

Now more than ever I can see a little more clearly the tough decisions you both made in raising us kids. I realize no one handed you a manual to answer all the tough questions. As far as I know, there were no glowing examples either of you could look up to, to emulate. This raising four kids in the ways of the Lord thing was uncharted territory- I get that. In light of that, I am truly amazed at the ways your extremely strong convictions held strong against the crashing tidal wave of consumerism, culture and disapproving pressure from others- including us!

This letter is not to say that the way you did everything was right and ‘look at me now!’ It’s a letter of gratitude to let you know that I so appreciate my upbringing. I have no regrets about my non-participation in Halloween activities, my non-existent lack of imagination due to never believing in Santa Claus or my thinking of Easter in terms of an empty tomb while others only knew about a big scary bunny. Not only do I not have any regrets, but dealing and wrestling with the ‘whys’ and ‘why not’s’ of each holiday solidified the side I chose to be on.

You presented the ‘narrow way’ and I willingly walked counter culturally. It was never easy to be different but that’s no reason to regret the choice you made. I realized back then that following Christ is never the easy way. It was uncomfortable to be the only one not celebrating Halloween or the only one not believing in an imaginary character. But looking back on it now, what an important lesson I learned.  To stand up for what I believed in, even if it was unpopular.

I grew up knowing, feeling and seeing the ways I was so very different than the majority of my classmates. You know what, mom and dad? That set the stage to forming who I was and who I was to become as an adult. I remember Brandon looking me dead in the eyes and telling me that he had never met anyone with such strong convictions in his life. Not to say I’m always right in my convictions, BUT it’s a little easier for me because you set the stage for me to walk counter culturally on many occasions during my growing up years. Don’t ever apologize for this. This was a blessing for me. If you’re ever proud of us kids for our perspective or pleased with the various ways we are going counter culturally- know that you built that in us. All those hard years and tough decisions created something beautiful and powerful in our core. It built our character even if it wasn’t done perfectly. I’m here to tell you that in the imperfections, my character was being refined. My values were being tested, and your convictions became mine as I sought to honor God the way you always sought to. As a kid, who has convictions? Who knows anything about values and following what’s right even when it’s unpopular?

I did.

So, thank you mom and dad for instilling in me a different way to go. You molded an independent thinker, someone who cares more about what God thinks than about what my neighbor thinks. You carved out the narrow way for me to walk and I am grateful for it. So, I didn’t get to dress up in costumes as a kid. I learned valuable lessons- spiritual battles and spiritual warfare are real. Don't give the enemy a foothold, remember to keep separate the ways of sin and fun and be careful to discern between the two. Be aware that the devil is real and is the author of confusion and deception. When friends and teachers would feel sorry for me and ask me ‘Why?’ all I could hear were your voices saying, “Sweet daughter, Jesus is worthy, choose the narrow way.”

How many little kids can say their parents taught them that?

I can.

Thanks mom and dad for fighting the world on our behalf. I probably complained and had a hard time settling the ways of the world with the ways of God. How separate they were! I’m sure I felt deprived, envious, like I was missing out, alone. I needed to work through those feelings to work out my own salvation. I needed to choose the narrow way for myself. 

I did.

Thanks for showing me the way mom and dad. What I lacked in feeling accepted, God provided for me through His overwhelming love. No need to beat yourselves up. Instead pat yourselves on the back for caring enough to teach the hard lessons even when it was unpopular. I can only hope to do the same for my boys. It’s not easy but anything worth having is worth fighting for, right? You both are exactly what I needed to be the woman I am today. I love you!!!!!!!!!!


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