How do we hold to what is sacred in a material world?

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 10.45.32 PMHello Sweet Friends, I'm going to venture off of my usual today, so I apologize for those that may not relate to this one, but it is on my heart so I thought I would share it. I have been wrestling with trying to keep balance of giving to my children yet instilling good character. How do we get into the heart of a teen that thinks the world's view is "normal" when it is completely abnormal? How do we lead them to the sacred amidst the world and all it offers them?

When I think back of my youth, I never felt we missed anything even though the idea of iPhone wasn't even on the map. And if we didn't have it, I certainly wasn't aware. We went to Disney in 6th grade and it was something we planned and dreamed of and enjoyed immensely, but expected to be our once in a youth trip, and I remember many that didn't even get one trip. We were blessed for it! We carried purses we cut out of old jeans, and even bedazzled them or pasted them with Coca Cola patches. Ha!  The big thrill for our back to school dance was packing into my friend's mother's station wagon, because we could all ride together, and we may be crammed in, but oh that was fun! Embarrassingly to admit, we saved up for months to purchase New Kid On The Block Tickets for like $20.  And we actually had chores that consisted of more than keeping our room clean, and if we didn't do our chores, we actually were grounded. Heaven forbid, we actually missed things.

My how things have changed! I worked with middle school children last year along with raising one, and I don't think I was prepared for these tween years! Make your purse? Heaven forbid, where would you find a Michael Kors emblem. A station wagon, are you kidding me? We go in limos and not to our high school dance, but to our 3rd grade birthday party. And we fully expect to go to Disney at least every other year, right? And you seriously want me to help in the kitchen, did you see that I cleaned my room? (And they expect money for it:) Everyone is going to Justin Beiber or One Direction, so can we please get tickets for like $400 a piece, because they sold the $80 ones in the first 30 minutes?

I have to say that some days I want to pull my hair out! What has happened here?  So what do you do? I thought I would share my attempt to find balance, and let me do say that I welcome, welcome, welcome your suggestions! I truly think at this point I could move my children to a third world country just to combat this internal struggle!

In attempt to create balance, I told my daughter that she could have her one big Christmas wish, but that before she could get it she would read the book "Kisses From Katie." She and I are talking through the book, and how Katie left Brentwood, Tennessee to move to Africa to raise 13 orphan girls even as a high school graduate. Katie speaks to listening to the call of God, and the desire to serve His Kingdom, and the blessings of the simply life serving. I am trying my best to plant seeds.

We are taking it a step further and putting together a box of home-made items to send to Katie and her girls along with our Faith in the Field Youth Ministry for Christmas.

I took my boys on an outreach project in our community at a place where they saw little children with very little. When we got home that night, Jackson prayed, "Thank you God that we have a bed! We have a drink! We have a mom!" So good for my children to see need! To see that our presence for others in need can be sacred.

And for Thanksgiving, I drove with my boys looking and praying to find someone we could help. I wanted them to be apart of the process of recognizing need and responding, and of course, we found him. We found a man walking up to the food pantry five minutes after it closed to find they would be gone through the holidays. My boys saw a man walking without his own transportation. They saw his tears of embarrassment and tears of gratitude at seeing us. And they shook his hand, as we assured him we would get him some food. And later that night when we brought his food, we found a little apartment without power on an unusually cold night...try 27 degrees! It was dark and cold, and we walked through his home, and we prayed with him. And when we got home to our warm house and lights, they were grateful! Grateful for the things we take so for granted daily.

I suppose my thought is this...we can allow our children today to think this life style is normal, we can even convince ourselves that this American dream of having is aligned to the Gospel. Or perhaps, we can be intentional about showing our kids the truth by planting seeds, and going out of our way so that they learn to serve, and be grateful. We can stop the crazy pace we travel to behold the sacred beauty of His creation even. We can allow them to see that giving ourselves away is what is truly sacred, not opening our hands to receive or covering our bodies with labels. There is so much truth in it is more blessed to give than receive, but unless you give you will never know it.

Our time here is but a vapor, but has eternal impact. So what will you do to realign to the Gospel of Jesus not the Gospel of America?

Seek. Love. Follow. Ro