Something amazing and still quite unbelievable happened – my oldest daughter graduated from high school this week! She’ll be leaving our home in less than two months for college. I’ve had seventeen years to prepare her for this transition and milestone. Did I do a good job? Is she ready? I get emotional just thinking about it.
When I first launched Destined 4 the Dub, Kennedi was starting high school. She had just experienced a life-changing injury and I started writing to reflect on the life lessons I was learning through our journey. If you are new to our site, you can find our stories in the archives, starting back in September of 2018.
I realized it has been almost a year since I’ve done a personal blog about us. I’ve spent that time launching Faith-Filled Moms, a ministry focused on finding God’s glory in every mom’s story, no matter how difficult or painful each story may be. You can find all of the amazing and encouraging stories from our guest bloggers here – stories about autism, cancer, adoption, blended families, infertility, and the loss of a child and spouse. It really was an amazing experience, and I’m excited about the next round of topics and stories returning in September.
As I re-focus back on Destined 4 the Dub, and my personal lessons in life, I find myself back to writing about a topic I first blogged about three years ago. It’s something we as parents all have to go through at some point in our lives – the End-of-Year (or Season) Awards ceremony.
This event can either be a source of pride and joy, or bring on feelings of unworthiness, dejection, and not being good enough.
Whether it’s for school or sports, our children may either be recognized or overlooked, based on another person’s opinion of them. This experience can be a joyous time for some and a source of disappointment and discouragement for others.
This week I found myself asking the same question I did six years ago – who determines our value and worth?
Even as parents…?
It definitely stings when you feel your child has been left out. I can remember when the girls were younger, it was hurtful for them to not be invited to a certain birthday party. Or maybe your child wasn’t picked for a team you knew they were qualified for. Or perhaps they were overlooked for that class, program, or even college they really wanted to get into.
This rejection comes from the judgment of imperfect humans. The ones making decisions are like each of us – they have a limited point of view and skewed lens based on their own experiences and beliefs, which are reflected in their opinions and decisions.
So, what are we supposed to do?
I return to the lesson I learned three years ago after I wrote this blog. I remember I’m a Child of God, and so are my children. No matter who cheers us on, who supports us, who calls us out as worthy (or who doesn’t), God has created each one of us specifically with a plan in mind, and our goal should be to please Him in everything we say or do, even if others don’t recognize or notice our worth or accomplishments.
Why would we ever need validation from sinful, selfish, imperfect people (which we all are by nature)?
Last summer I did an insightful interview for Future Christian Podcast you can find here. I encourage every parent to listen to the wisdom I’ve gained through the most painful season of my parenting. In the interview, I talked about my obsession with posting all the awards and accolades my children received on social media, mostly for the benefit of the likes and comments, and having others affirm my children (and ultimately me as a parent) through their accomplishments. It was really eye-opening for me to verbalize that with a stranger.
After that experience, I decided for the next year, I was not going to post anything about my children’s accomplishments. And I haven’t. That was difficult for someone like me. I would find myself comparing my children to what others had achieved. Many days I wanted to post the amazing things they were accomplishing, but I knew it was for the wrong reason. Just as I was comparing my children to others, I knew someone would be comparing their children to mine.
And comparison is the thief of joy.
How should we affirm our children? By pointing out all the great things about them. By letting them know how much we love and care about them, but there is someone else whose love will completely outshine anything we could ever feel for them. And the One who loves them the most has their future confidently in His hands.
We should also remind them God’s approval is more important than anyone else’s, including ours.
As Kennedi is preparing to leave our house, it’s important for her to know what God requires of her. In Micah 6:8, we are given three specific instructions: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
We must teach our children to live a life of honor, to do what they know and have been taught to do, to be fair to others, and to do their best to ensure those around them are treated justly as well.
They should fully support the concept of mercy – this means freely giving mercy to others, whether they feel it’s deserved it or not, and being at peace with it. God’s love is demonstrated to others when we show mercy.
Walk humbly with God
This is probably the toughest of the three directives. Humility – it’s a difficult concept for many of us, especially given our human nature. Humility is not often looked at as a character trait to be championed or celebrated. It does not always get you far according to the world’s standards. But it’s what God requires of us. Either we can elevate ourselves or wait for God to elevate us.
If they are following this guidance, we can be confident God is pleased with our children. There is more direction the Bible provides for how to live a life worthy of honor. Although my time has somewhat run out to provide instruction in my home, for the last two years I’ve been working on a devotional. And its debut couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. Using God’s Playbook for the Game of Life: 52 Scriptures Your Young Athlete Should Know Before You Send Them Off Into the World is scheduled for release in early August. I dedicated this book to Kennedi, as she was my inspiration for writing it. After her injury, I questioned if she had a strong enough foundation in the Word of God to carry her through the challenging situations she would encounter when I was no longer there to help her through a difficult experience.
This annual devotion features what I feel are the 52 most important scriptures I wanted my children to know by heart. Each one has a 7-day workout to reinforce the scripture and meaning so by the end of the week, that scripture should be clearly understood and memorized.
It is my prayer all the hours of praying, seeking, researching, and writing will introduce a new generation of young athletes who will forever stand on the firm foundation of the Bible, and know God’s Word and promises in their hearts and minds.
You can pre-order here, and all orders placed before July 31st will be signed and shipped in the contiguous US for free!
Before I get back to my graduation celebration, remember this…
No more comparison – don’t let anyone steal your joy!
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