I have been increasingly aware of the short amount of Morgan's time left with me as her "mom." She will be leaving for college in less than three years! All three of my daughters are growing at warp-speed up in here. Most days are absolutely chaotic, stressful, and ridiculously wonderful. Some days, your heart is breaking. Some days you want to lock them all in the closet and protect them from the world. Somedays, you feel like sending them off into the world will protect them from YOU.
So, I have been accused (probably rightfully so) of being the strictest mom ever - a lot lately. But, in all fairness, I have a really good excuse. You see, girls, mommy is neurotic. Which, basically means that I feel like everything that goes wrong in everyone's life around me is my fault. In the deepest darkest corners of my heart, I worry that if you do not have the most wonderful, fulfilled, godly life....then, it is somehow a result of something I did or did not do for you. This doesn't help:
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6-NIV)
Oh man. That's a LOT of pressure, cause...what if I do it wrong? What if my child grows up and TURNS FROM IT? It's all too much. So, I try. I have been trying my best, definitely not THE best, but MY best - since you were born to teach you everything you should know and do to be who God wants you to be, and to be a happy person. Just in case I have forgotten some stuff, here's a basic list of the "biggies":
- "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27) - okay, so I KNOW one of the three of you just rolled your eyes and it WASN'T the baby because she cannot read! It's true, though. Not just the weekly Bible verse. If I had held onto and obeyed this one verse just 50% more in my life, I could have avoided probably 100% of my problems today. It's not just enough to go to church, youth trips, know the Bible...you gotta love the MAN. Jesus, specifically. It makes all the difference. If you never did anything else in your life but got this one - you're gold. And, if you make loving others a lifestyle, so many hurt feelings can be avoided. Okay, done preaching on that one.
- Once you're down with number 1, then you've got this one. Don't worry about what other people think. Period. You can waste a terrible amount of time in your life worrying about why this person likes you, that person hates you. What did I say wrong? What did I do wrong? Not just the bad stuff. When others complement you, hold it up against the measuring stick of Christ. Accept complements on God's behalf, cause you wouldn't have done or been ANYTHING without Him.
- Represent. Seriously. A lot of grief in my teenage/college years was spared because I didn't want to let Dennis or Susan Roaten down. Not to mention, Hillie or Irma Roaten, or Lee or Ruth Jerkins. The times I did screw up, well, it broke my heart to have to come to my parents and tell them what I had done. In all the world, I never wanted to let them down. Making them proud is just about what I live for. I mean, come on! What girl can bear to see her Daddy sad because of her!?!?!?!? Well, my hope is that you love and respect me, your dad, and Charlie, just enough to think about the consequences to those around you, for the things you do. You'll want the same from your kids one day, promise.
- Finally, be yourself. Please...please don't ever try to be something you're not. Honesty and integrity are everything. Be honest in everything you do, and everything you are. What do you have, if you have a ton of friends because of someone they only THINK that you are? There are plenty of people on this planet to love you for the amazing people you really are...and you are!
- Find a man who loves Jesus, and he will love you almost as much. If you find a man who rocks your world, marry him - and always put him first. If the boy you're considering for marriage doesn't rock your world - go on to the next one. 'Nuff said.
I love you more than you can ever imagine...that is, until one day when you have a son or daughter of your own. And, as my mother always told me, "You're gonna love me so much more after you have children!" (That is so true. That's why Nana gets flowers on MY birthday!) You can talk to me about anything, and I promise to try to listen without judgement. You are my joy, and my life.