New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Friday, February 25, 2011

21 things I want my daughters to know...

When my father died 13 years ago of a massive heart attack at the age of 64, I searched that house  (all the way to Miami) for an entire year looking for some kind of sign, a letter, or advice somewhere, anywhere, from him.   I never found anything.  

I am purposing not to make that mistake with my girls.  I try to live these prayers out with my kids but not always so successfully.  [Sigh.]

But just in case I am gone before my time, I want them to know I am praying and thinking about their future.  And I want them to be aware of it writing.   What I would give to have known this at 13.

This is part of a letter I wrote to my eldest daughter.  She is going to be in high school next year and I am searching desperately for lost time.   It has gone by at mock speed.  The idea for the letter and much of the thoughts included in it came from Paul Tripp's book, Age Of Opportunity and notes I took from it.   It was such an eye opener!   I highly recommend it.  

I want to use this crazy short time that my daughter has left as a teenager as an opportunity to grow and stretch her.  And me.

So , without further ado, these are 21 things I want for my daughters:

To my oldest: 

It is my prayer...

1- That you would pursue God personally and have a hunger for Him and His word.  That you would want to learn about Him on your own and spend your own personal time doing it.
 God’s word protects us. 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” 
Matthew 5:6

2- That you would "instinctively seek out those who have a heart for God" (Paul Tripp, p121).  That you would have a heart to pursue fellowship with others who desire Him as well.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  2 Corinthians 6:14

3- That you would have a "heartfelt, internalized fear of God" (Paul Tripp p 118).  This is a healthy fear of reverence and awe.  That you would seek to please Him.
“‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:28
"If a person fears God, she will be submissive to authorities that God has placed in her life" (Paul Tripp, p119) 
Healthy, humble submission; not as a bad thing, but a good thing.

4-That you would do what you are supposed to do "not because someone is watching you or out of fear of consequences, but ultimately because of a deep worshipful love and reverence for God." (Paul Tripp p 119)

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." 
-J. C. Watts

5- That you would enjoy worship.  It doesn’t always have to look like Sunday morning.  Mopping the floor or working on Algebra can be an act of worship if you are doing it as if you were doing it for Him. 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23

6- That you would apply your faith to the everyday situations of life calling upon the Holy Spirit for help and wisdom from God.  This can be as simple as praying for the right words to speak to a friend to asking for help in dealing with anger.  Being an adult and “knowing” the Bible is different from using it in everyday life. You are so blessed to have this knowledge and awareness now.

"Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually."  1 Chronicles 16:11

7- That you would “pray without ceasing” 1 Thesolonians 5:17.  Figure out what qualities you want in a husband and start praying for him now.  Even now, I pray your future husband is growing up in the knowledge and blessings of God.  Pray for your future and ask God to help you as you make career decisions while in high school during the next few years.  Also, pray as you go through ordinary days.

8- That you would seek out help from me and your dad. That you would always feel that you could come and tell us anything that is on your heart.  Now and when you are older.  I will always be here for you.  I love you unconditionally.

"Listen, my son [daughter], to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."  Proverbs 1:8-9

9- That you would welcome and be grateful for the resources God has placed in your life and focus on these things rather than on what you may lack.  You won’t really realize this fully until you are out in the world and see how blessed we are when compared with others.  Do the best you can with what you are given.  

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
10- That you would "not excuse, defend, argue, or shift blame when [your] wrong (sin) is pointed out" to you. (Paul Tripp, p.122)  That you would know we are trying to train you and not criticize or belittle.  And that we make mistakes.

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, "  
Philippians 2:14

11- That you would become sensitive to where you are "susceptible to temptation and realize that [this] knowledge will help you take protective measures against it. " (Paul Tripp, p.123)  Being aware is everything.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

12- What we do, our actions and behaviors,  expresses the thoughts and desires of our heart.  Always try to respond to others in a way that pleases God.  Make every effort to respond instead of react to others.  Don't assume people are against you. 

"The core of our struggle is not the struggle with evil outside of us but with the evil within [ourselves]. " (Paul Tripp, p143)

13- I want you to be able to recognize idols in our culture.  You can do this when you watch movies and listen to the lyrics in music you enjoy.  We often do this together...interpreting world views of others. 

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen."  Romans 1:25
"We live in a culture that exercises its influences on every area of [our] lives" and we need to live in such a way that it points us and others to God.   We all need to learn how to "interact with the world without becoming enslaved to its idols" or what it thinks is important.  (Paul Tripp, p158)  
Be careful what you set your eyes on.  The latest trends aren’t lasting.  I admire the way you have set yourself apart from things.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

14-That you would be teachable.  It is okay not to know everything.  It is okay to ask for help.
“A servant of the Lord must not argue. Instead, he must be kind to everyone, teachable, willing to suffer wrong,” 
2 Timothy 2:24 
Find someone who you respect and is doing what you want to be doing and model them.

15- That you would seek God’s wisdom in everyday trials and every decision you make albeit big or small.   
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5,6
16- That you would seek God’s will for your life.  Pray to know your strengths and weaknesses.  This will help in deciding what you are passionate about and where God wants you.  You are incredibly talented and I cannot wait to see how God uses you.   The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17

17- That you would have a heart for what is right and just and that you would be charitable to others.  I am very proud of the work you have done at The Little Flower Nursing Home.  I know the residents do too.  God sees this.  Let your sisters know and see your charitableness.  It will teach them (and others) too.

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38

18- That you would be intentional and purposeful in all things.  Spread joy in life.  Recognize that life is made up of small moments. 
Be aware and present in every moment.  God is the extraordinary in the ordinary.  See him in the little things and notice how these moments are all gifts and grace.

Forever is composed of nows.  ~Emily Dickinson

19- That you would always rely on God’s strength and never give up or quit in the face of trouble or strife.  I do not know God’s plans for you but I do not want you to be discouraged in this life.  No matter what happens;  sickness, death, whatever happens.   Christians are not insulated from pain.  You will have pain in this life.   I am still learning the power in trusting a bigger picture I cannot see.  Trust the unfolding drama of God's plan in your life.

"He [she] will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD."  Psalm 143:8

20- That you would love.  Your family, your friends, your neighbor, the poor... God. 
That you would truly understand how long, how wide and how deep His love really is.

"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."  1 John 4:8

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13:6-7

21-Above all, I want you to have a heart for God.  Christians are anything but “normal” in our world.  A heart for God is a sincere desire to know and honor Him.  "Not like the pharisees who performed duties and were only interested in temporary benefits and the praise of others." (Paul Tripp) True Godliness flows out from our hearts and mouths and produces good fruit in our lives.  This is seen  in our behaviors, attitudes, activities and relationships.

"To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; 
To seek him, the greatest adventure; 
To find him, the greatest human achievement." 
St. Augustine 

I love you.

P.S.  God has no grandchildren...only children. 


Donna Earnhardt said...

This is beautiful. I have often thought of doing something similar for my own daughters, and now you have inspired me even more!

This is one of those things that you might give her now - but she might not truly "get it" until she is older. What a beautiful gift - a beautiful legacy - to share!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post. WOW. Thank you for sharing. Again - wow.

Christina Parker Brown said...

Thank you Donna, you are right. It will mean more later. Blessings!

Christina Parker Brown said...

Thank you wordwranglernc, that means a lot!

~Alfie~ said...

This is wonderful! This is a gift from mom that she will appreciate when she gets older. So glad to see that you've put it in writing and there's something tangible to share with her! Following you from MBC and your post on my site, Reflect and Realize.

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