Monday, June 21, 2010

Hello again!

So happy to be back! It's been too long since I've even visited this, my sweet little blog sanctuary. When I come back after a long absence I feel exactly like I've sunk myself into a big easy chair with a cup of coffee and a good friend. Ahh!

By the way, in reference to my last blog entry where I was annoyed with a friend, I'm happy to report that she and I both put on big girl pants. I came to see things from her perspective, and whenever the topic came up in conversation with other moms, I spoke compassionately of her situation and respectfully of her decision. She, on the other hand, is reconsidering her decision and admitted to me (not knowing I was ever irritated) that she's a little ashamed of her weakness this past year in this area. (How's that for cryptic? But don't worry -- the details aren't really that interesting.)

Our summer is off to a running start. I got my older daughter up to camp yesterday for the first of a series of camp stays for her. This is pre-camp (basically a work week). She'll come back in a week and head back up the next week for 3 or 4 more weeks.

My older son's time is filled up with work and his Crusade summer Bible study, which we are happily hosting. The younger two kids have golf, baseball, ballet and lots of friends in and out all day. In general, lots of chaos, lots of people, lots of fun. Occasionally the chaos threatens to undermine my peace of mind, but I resist the urge for order and peace because I know this is a blessed, and all too short, season of our lives with all the kids and their friends around.

If all goes as planned, this will be the last summer our oldest son comes home. Hopefully he'll get a business internship during the winter semester of school this year, which will extend into the summer months and into his senior year of college. Our older daughter goes off to college this fall, and as I already mentioned, will spend much of her summer off at camp doing her counseling thing. That will leave us with only two kids at home this school year.

The change won't be as dramatic as it sounds. The older kids have become more and more independent as the years go by, and most of my time is taken up with the younger ones anyway. My heart is no less wrapped up in all four, but these are pivotal years for the younger ones as they make important choices about who their friends are going to be, really who they are going to be as they begin to establish themselves in the social fabric of the world outside the family. And of course, the heart of all this is the question deep within their hearts of whether they want to take on the mantle of Christian faith to which they were introduced as children.

That's the big question. That is the only real burden of my heart. The first two seem to be off and running with their own pursuit of God. Could anything be more wonderful than that? The big question is still out there with the younger two. Especially during these years when I'm feeling pretty locked out of my younger son's emotional life. That's fine. It's normal. It's just unnerving.

The passage of Scripture I pray through for him is Isaiah 41:17-20. I don't have it memorized, or right in front of me, but it talks about God providing water to a thirsty land and raising up trees in the wilderness: the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive, the cypress, the plane, and the pine. I'm praying for him that God would provide six good, Godly friends for him, one for each tree listed, and that he would be the seventh tree. That in the wilderness of his public high school there would be seven strong, God-fearing young men banded together, standing against the forces of unrighteousness assailing them.

It's almost too much to believe. But I do love the end of the passage: verse 20 says, "...that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it." For the glory of His name, maybe God would choose to do this.

Here's the thing about my precious younger son: he has this wonderful way of always seeing the best in people. If there's something negative to be noticed, he just clams up, won't go there. So beautifully un-girl-like. It means he's very defensive of his friends, even the ones that his dad and I can see clearly are very likely not going to be making the wisest choices through their high school years. He has some really nice friends, and he has some questionable friends -- still nice I'm sure, but a little less constrained by common ideas of right and wrong, less impressed with the bounds of authority. Which ones will he ultimately choose to hang with during high school when independence is difficult to withhold? He himself has a bit more of a creative streak than his older brother did -- my generous way of saying he is also a little less constrained by authority, is a little curious about what's at the end of the leash. He's never done anything terribly wrong, just on the edge.

But another thing about this kid: he's one of my more spiritually insightful children, which just brings tears to my eyes. When he was homeschooled we'd read Bible stories together; not only would he remember every detail of the stories from previous days, he could always see "into" the story, what the story revealed about God and His character, His love for us as His people, how He dealt with His people, etc. He has always had a soft heart for God.

So I pray a lot for him during these years. I'm happy to pray because I see the result of my prayers for his older brother and sister. God absolutely did not answer my prayers for them according to my agenda, He did not put into effect my plan. Hello? Like, wasn't my plan a pretty good one? Apparently not. But the heart of it was that they love Him and desire to serve Him with all their hearts, that they seek His face, and that has come about. Oh thank You, Lord.

So I will continue to trust Him with the hearts of my younger two children. In all of life, it's the only thing I really care about, that my children know Him, love Him and serve Him. Gotta stop this now or I'll cry...then I'll have to go clean my contacts.

I'll be back soon because I have more to say. Stay tuned!