Monday, February 22, 2010

what do you think?!?

i don't want my children to be happy
{click on it to be directed to it!}

i love it.
am convicted by it.
and pray my actions show it.

Dear Shepherd, Sissy, Maggie and Ikey,

Recently we were told by people whom we love and respect why they oppose our plans to adopt. One of the reasons given was that we would not be able to pay for your college education.

It's true.

You all have college funds - college funds which recently took a terrible hit - but "they" say that by the time you're 18, college will cost anywhere between $200,000 to half a million dollars each. You might as well know now, we won't be covering that. I'm telling you now, babies.

The people said that the day would come when you would look at us with resentment because you had to apply for school loans while many of your friends got a free ride from their parents.

Maybe you will. Maybe you'll resent us. I really hope not. But maybe I should tell y'all now why your dad and I have decided to do what we are doing.

I know you're going to think I am going off topic (I do that a lot) but several years I saw a story on a TV show about how the latest trend was for parents to give their daughters boob jobs for high school graduation (I don't know what they gave their sons.) When interviewing one of the moms, she said, "I just want my daughter to be happy." And as I tossed a throw pillow at the television, this really huge thought occurred to me: I don't want my children to be happy.

My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.

There are two things I desire for you, precious loves. There are two things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying cultivate in you. Happiness ain't one of them. (This means, sorry, no boob jobs for you.)

The first is, I want you to be content. Being content is so much different from being happy. Being content is not based on your surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.

As you know, because I've told you lots of times, Paul talked about being content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos, really rotten.

How could Paul be content whether he was in prison or if his life was literally a shipwreck? Because Paul was constantly seeking to be in the will of God instead of his own, was constantly sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of the gospel, and was constantly being confirmed, strengthened, and blessed by God because of his obedience. He was given a supernatural power - that means something kind of like magic, God magic - to do things that most other humans could not do. And guess what? The bible tells us (in Ephesians 1) that God will give you the exact same power! If you want it!

Which leads me to my second desire for y'all.

I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

This means you may be poor, 'in want' as Paul said, and that's okay. It will never, ever be okay with the world for you to be poor. So you'll be up against the world. But not your dad and me, loves, because it was never our goal for you to be wealthy - at least not in the way that the world considers wealthy.

Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

They said that one day y'all would resent us for using 'your' college money to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to you.

But I know my babies. Even at your tender ages, I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers.

So, sugarbears - I just don't believe those people.



anthonyandbeth said...

whew. that was good. thank you for sharing it...

Cassie said...

i think that's what i say.
and that is what i believe in my heart.
but i'm certain my actions on a daily basis don't align with that belief. which is sad, but true...

Peyton said...

love it, it's so true.

Bonnie said...

wow...I REALLY needed to read this. My husband and I have had MANY discussions on how we want our daughter to be loved, healthy, love and love others. Our actions, etc. need to SHOW this every day.

Beckysblog said...

That was awesome.


Katy said...

so so so true. and if more people could figure out that GOD'S desire for us is holiness and not happiness, we'd live in a different world. One of the chapters in 30 Days of Purpose (Rick Warren' book) talked about just that very thing - it's HUGE! So great.

Kim said...

wow! that was great!

Tammy said...

thank you...good to remember and your actions DO show it...for sure!!

Michelle said...

Love, Love, Love it. I'm so glad you posted it. It's so true.

Megan said...

Awesome letter! And good reminder...Chris and I have actually had this conversation about college savings before...about whether or not that is where money should be going. We finally decided it would not be bad stewardship to save for college, but we are not thinking that we are saving enough to pay for the whole thing for any of our kids. Maybe we should be matching the amount of our college savings with an amount we give to sponsoring a child or something...I don't know...

On another note, the boob job thing reminded me of something I saw on TV last night. It was about kids and parents who try to get their kids "discovered" for TV shows or movies or whatever. The interviewer asks the 6-yr-old why she wants to be in the movies. Her answer was "for the money". The interviewer turned to the mom who was sitting there and said, "Do you think it is a problem that at 6 her focus is so much on money?" This mom actually answered and said "No." The interviewer said "No?" and the mom said, "All kids are." To which the interviewer replied "Are they really?" Sigh. That was just so sad to me as I sat there and watched it. Prayed for the mom and the daughter. And I have no idea why I just wrote all that on your blog, but our culture can be CRAZY.