My children have been raised the same way that I was raised, in a Christian home. All of their lives we have gone to church for all the services and we've tried to teach them the biblical way of living. We made sure they were always able to attend the youth activities and trips, and we encouraged them to participate. Our first child took it all in and didn't miss anything if he could help it. Our second child got to a point in high school where she didn't want to participate and didn't even want to go on the trips. While she was always expected to be in the Sunday services, we didn't force her to do every single youth activity. It made me sad for her because I know that she missed out on so many things that would have left her with some wonderful memories for the rest of her life.
A year ago, Leah moved away to go to college. I wanted so much for her to get involved in one of the Christian organizations at the university, and I guess I made my wishes known to her too often. She got pretty tired of me trying to "force" her to get involved. I didn't feel like I was trying to force her, but that is how she took it. So, this school year, I have decided to stop mentioning it all the time and allow God to speak in his own way. I am still hoping for her to get involved in a Christian organization, but I am just going to have to step out of the way and let God step in.
Last night I checked my MySpace page and I saw one of the bulletins that was sent out from Leah to all her friends and even though I knew it was one of those silly surveys that young people seem to love, I decided to read it anyway. I was pleasantly surprised at one of her answers on the survey. The question was something like... if you could use one word to describe your life, what word would it be. Her answer was "blessed!" I was so amazed that this daughter of mine considered herself "blessed." And then this morning I found a personal message from her on my MySpace page. Her message said the nicest things and told me that we (her parents) mean so much to her and we make her want to be a better person and to glorify God. I was blown away by this message that she sent for no special reason except that she was thinking about us and wanted to let us know what we mean to her.
At times I have worried that I didn't do everything right in my parenting and that things didn't get through to my kids the way I hoped. But when you get little notes like this one from your children, you realize that maybe you did okay. You just do your best with the right heart attitude and lots of prayer, and God can take it and do great and wonderful things. I have been greatly blessed!