Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Inspiration To Me

A month or so ago a friends son, Matt, informed our church that he would like to go on a mission trip to Pau Pau New Guinea to help and learn about translating the Bible into foreign languages as this was something he feels God is leading him to do after college. He gave a presentation and wrote a detailed letter about this mission asking us to help support him prayerfully and financially on his venture. The next week, a special collection was taken up for him and his mission, funds were placed in a wooden box in the back of the church that is used for occasions such as this. After service that day, my 9 year old daughter Emily was asking me questions about where Matt was going and what exactly he was going to be doing and why he wanted to do it. I explained as best I could and we went on with the rest of our day. The following Sunday at church, my daughter brought with her all the spending money she had, which amounted to 2 dollars and some change and put it in that wooden box for Matt. She told me about it later and I wasn't sure what to do because the collection was over and Matt had gone back to college. I didn't want to tell her that and make her feel like she was too late when she was trying to do such a good thing, so I decided to just let the money stay in the box for now. A couple weeks passed and Matt came back on a Wednesday before leaving on his mission trip to give us more detail about what he would be doing and ask us once again to pray for him. After he spoke to us, I took him to the wooden box and told him that a little girl had added to the collection and that it wasn't much but it was all she had. I knew that 2 dollars wasn't going to take him far physically, but my hope was that it would carry him emotionally and spiritually, to know that someone would give all to help him. It did touch him, and he asked me if I knew who it was. I told him it was my daughter, and he said he would have to thank her personally. I told him I didn't think that was necessary, I just wanted to make sure he didn't leave without knowing how much people believed in what he was doing, even 9 year old girls. He told me that I must be very proud of her, and I am. As I thought about that later in the evening, I began to wonder about what he meant when he said I must be proud of her and what I was proud of. I guess when he said that I took it to mean I should be proud that she would give all she had to help, and again, I am. But when I really think about it, what makes me most proud and fills my heart with joy is that she was inspired. The fact that she was moved and her heart was touched, that's what makes me want to say amen. I worry that my children don't understand who God is or the great joy in having a relationship with him. Growing up "Christian" is not easy. Although I don't really know because I didn't grow up christian. But I know how hard it is to be christian as an adult,and I know how hard growing up is. Sometimes I am even thankful I did not have to face the two together. I am afraid for my kids. I worry about the teasing they will endure for their faith and if their faith will be strong enough for them to endure the teasing. Maybe I don't give them enough credit for their strength. But when I see times like this, when they are inspired as my daughter was, it gives me joy and confidence that they know God and they will persevere. Thanks Matt for inspiring my daughter to inspire me.


Hazel said...

Pat, I know what you mean about being proud of your kids. It is gratifying to see your children heading in the right direction and realize that we are a part of influencing that path. We are also aware of where that road will take them and sometimes that strikes fear into my parental heart.

I would like to tell you, though, that it may not be as hard to be a Christian teen as you suggest. The key is to have strong Christian peers, mentors and community.

If a kid is openly Christian and behaves the way Christians are supposed to ( as much as is teen-possible)...the other kids pretty much accept it. Being genuinely kind and nonjudgemental and sticking by their moral guidelines gets them a lot of respect. They aren't pressured much to do things they won't do anyway and everyone knows it.

I work with the youth of our church quite a bit and I am amazed at their faithfulness and their support for each other. I think that is whaht gets them through those tough teen years. They depend on God and each other to help them, guide them and hold them accountable. I think those outside of the faith see that love and admire it. We have a lot of kids coming to our Youth activities by invitation. They see that Christian teens can have and be a lot of fun. Everyone is accepted.

It is more likely for the Homecoming Queen to be a kind, virgin Christian girl or the Prom King to be friendly, outspoken Christian than the partier. For teen voters it's all about who has treated them the best, isn't it?

The system is far from perfect but it seems to work. When people (of any age) truly love God and desire to please him they show it.

PS ~ When my kids were small I once asked a friend how her grown kids turned out so great. Her answer: "I prayed, prayed prayed!"

Pat Crowe said...

Thanks for the encouragement Hazel. You are absolutely correct. Just as I need my friends to help keep me accountable and my faith strong, so will my children. I also like what you said about behaving the way Christians are supposed to. That's huge isn't it. To stand by your faith and act on it because it is what you believe, not because you think it makes you better than anyone else. I think you are right, that does earn respect. Thanks again for your comment.

Gary Cleveland said...

Hey Pat,

Thanks for this post. This inspires me to learn from Emily that the lesson of Matthew 10:42 is still valid.....
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth he will certainly not lose his reward."