One of the delights of my life right now is that I am “stuck” inside with 2 of my children. Many days, I take walks with one or the other, long walks, that almost always end up in coffee. But since Joy is in the midst of finishing her PHD, Joel is compiling research for a professor at his school and just launched a book, our conversations are soul-shaping, mind-stretching, conviction cultivating. I am walking with adults who have been shaped by the principle of wonder, imagination, virtue and purpose. All of what was invested inside of them day after day lives inside of them now.
Some years ago, I began to realize that what had been planted was bearing fruit. I remember this phone call.
“Mom, I am just so excited, I can’t wait to tell you. I decided to go meet with an academic counselor today to check about all of the classes I had signed up for, and the debate coach happened to be my academic counselor. He helped me arrange all of my classes, he counseled me so that I can finish in three years. I will be able to be on the speech and debate team and learn new skills for communication, and now I have a purpose ahead and a life to conquer. My goal is to become the best possible speaker and debater and teacher. I am starting a Bible study for the girls on my floor. I am so excited about my life and what God is going to teach me!” A Clarkson child
A drive for purpose and a desire to live a worthy story, to impact others, to discover light in this dark world did not come out of a vacuum. For parents, this comes from learning to see deep inside of your children’s hearts and drawing out the greatness that God has built there and giving them a dream for how God will use them in the world. Children, in spite of their bundle of immaturity, strengths, weaknesses, and varying personalities are exactly what God crafted them to be to fulfill their purpose in His world.
From the time our children were wee ones, we gave each of them time to speak as a part at our conferences. We said, “God has made all of us stewards of His messages of love, redemption, and His hope and life because He has entrusted us with this light that the dark world needs. What would you like to share with all the moms to encourage them this year?”
Our two introverted children had to share just as our two extroverted ones would. Because we believe all of us are to be stewards of His words of life, we raised them to be comfortable with knowing they had a message that would turn the world upside down, too! We started with sharing our ideas and encouragement right in our living room with ten people in attendance. By faith, we kept writing and speaking and our children grew with ministry as we did. Their self-image was, “I have something to give. My personality is a gift from God to use for His glory. I have an arena in which to bring His light that no one else on earth will ever have.”
Serving meals, visiting the sick, giving money to those in need, exercising hospitality, and making thousands of meals for people in our home, praying, hosting Bible studies over and over and over again for many years was also the oxygen of the life my children breathed. Their dreams flowed out of being part of the life of giving, loving, exploring, exploring that God had called Clay and me to follow.
We need to understand that vision of the heart, the cultivation of wonder, is what empowers all of us, as God’s children, to follow Him in faith and purpose. Now is a time to awaken to the wonders around you and to celebrate them with all in. your wake. And that what you are planting now will produce fruit for a lifetime.
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