24 Lessons I Want To Teach My Daughter (Before She Leaves Home)

I sat straight up in bed in the middle of the night, heart pounding.

“What is it, honey?” my husband asked groggily.

“Do you think she knows not to call boys? Have I told her that yet?” I asked.

He sighed.

It’s hard letting your daughter turn 15.

I remember being 15 years old. I think I cried every day that year, always trying to figure out how I fit in a one-size fits-all world.

She is more woman than girl now and she longs for independence and understanding. I’m learning to give her a little of both. She is strong—the change-the-world-kind.

24 Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughter (Before She Leaves Home)

Three years. That’s all I have left with my daughter at home. I long to teach her so many truths. Even though I know life is a great teacher and she’s got my stubborn streak. Yeah.

Last week at church, I watched a mom hug her 30 year old daughter goodbye as she and her family prepare to be missionaries in Africa. I cried seeing the look of pride and brokenness on the mother’s face. I don’t know where life will take my daughter, but I’m holding on a little tighter and learning to let go a little more every day.

And I’m making a list of the lessons I want to teach her (or continue to) before she leaves home:

  1. Less is more–less makeup, less skin, less perfume, less selfies
  2. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely: Life can be lonely, but you are never alone because God.
  3. It’s okay to be alone.
  4. One good friend is better than 10 who just like your new shoes.
  5. If in doubt, always wash your clothes in cold water.
  6. Failure is often a better teacher than success. Even though we usually prefer one over the other.
  7. Don’t pursue a guy. If he’s into you, you’ll know. You don’t have to call or chase or change who you are. Just wait. The right one will come (you know, when you’re much older).
  8. You are (skinnier) than you think  (prettier, taller, ____ fill in the blank). Embrace your looks. It’s a great way to say thanks to God. Looks aren’t everything, so don’t make everything about the way you look.
  9. Always carry a little cash in your purse.
  10. Make your bed. You’ll wake up one day and want your kids too (ask me).
  11. Compounding interest.
  12. People are more important than things. Always.
  13. Laugh at yourself.
  14. There’s nothing shameful about pausing or quitting a career to become a mom.
  15. A boyfriend doesn’t make you something you’re not.
  16. Save more than you spend.
  17. Procrastination always catches up with you.
  18. Serving and giving to others feels immensely better than serving and giving to yourself.
  19. This life is temporary. God is eternal (remember that on a hard day).
  20. Don’t wish away time. It’s a gift.
  21. Don’t waste your money on glamour and beauty magazines that tell you what you’re not.
  22. Be grateful for everything.
  23. Believe this: you were created to do something that matters. Don’t waste your life on things that don’t.
  24. No matter how far you travel away from me, I will always, always be closer than you think.

I Have Everything I Need {The Psalms 23 Family Project}

“We need to find a place to serve.”

 

I whispered these words to my husband, five days after Christmas.

He nodded his head. He could hear the kids arguing and nitpicking upstairs, too. Ah, Christmas break. Presents had been worn, plugged in and played with and a dose of perspective was next on the list.

Twenty-four hours later, we sat on a blue tarp in the inner-city of Houston with a bunch of kids at a Sidewalk Sunday School event.

It was so cold it didn’t take long for children we didn’t know to crawl into our laps and lean close for warmth. Terrell passed out the extra sweatshirts and throw blanket we keep in the car.

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Pastor Scott, the faithful man who drives his colorful truck to low income apartment complexes nearly every day of the week to teach children about Jesus after school, told the children to sit still, listen close and cup their hands in their laps and open them for the blessing they were about to receive.

I looked over at my daughter sitting in-between girls she didn’t know. I got a lump in my throat when I saw  her little hands cupped, waiting for her blessing.

I’m pretty sure she was hoping to catch the small toys and candy in her open hands like the rest of the kids. And I couldn’t blame her really.

But when she leaned over and whispered, “If I catch anything, I’m going to give it away to the other kids,” I wanted to shout yes because looking around at her peers without shoes and coats, she could see her hands were already full.

She could see she already had everything she needs.

Perspective for the win, again.

I’m learning we need constant perspective reminders and by we, I mean, me.
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download this free printable here

Giving to others is s-l-o-w-l-y changing my family. We can’t always feel it when we grow, until we turn around and see how far we’ve come.

Before the Bible story, Pastor Scott told the kids he had new backpacks for those who could recite all of Psalm 23. Hands shot up in the crowd and one by one we listened to precious children recite the life-changing verses.

I  blinked back tears listening to these disadvantaged quote verse after verse and I whispered prayers over them. God, provide what they need, be with them when they walk thru the valley of the shadow of death. Comfort them. Help them to know that goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their life.

My son leaned over and said, “Mom, I don’t even know Psalm 23.”

I know. We are going to fix that.

My kids are advantaged and yet they need the truth of the words these children quoted over and over.

They need to be reminded the Lord is their shepherd and they have everything they need.

 

If you’d like to join us, we will be memorizing Psalm 23 together in the next few weeks.

Psalm 23 Family Project:

Week 1: Verse 1

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need.

  • Write down needs that have been met in your family

Week 2: Verse 2
He lets me rest in fields of green grass
    and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.

  • Take a day of rest with your family-unplug, go on a long walk, play worship music in your house.

Week 3: Verse 3

He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
    as he has promised.

  • Talk about your family’s journey- When has God guided your family?

Week 4: Verse 4
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
    I will not be afraid, Lord,
    for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

  • Comfort someone going through a dark time-with a card, a visit, a meal

Week 5: Verse 55

You prepare a banquet for me,

where all my enemies can see me;you welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim.

  • Fix rice and beans for dinner for a week (or a month) and talk about the blessings on your table

Week 6: Verse 6
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.

  • Find a way to serve others: feed a meal, collect coats and blankets, change your children’s perspective

WFMW: It’s Time For A Change {Exciting Announcement}

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This is my three-hundreth and sixth Works For Me Wednesday post.

306.

And it’s my last. 

WFMW has been around for years and I have loved hosting it. But I’ve been out of good ideas for a long time and I want to pass it along to someone who will give it new life. The baton was passed to me and I want to pass it to someone you will adore.

Mary, from Giving Up on Perfect, is a long-time WFMW participant and (real life friend). We’ve written together at (in)courage for years and one time she drove a big van full of bloggers across a state with me navigating. (Her driving is a lot better than my sense of direction).

I will miss this weekly link-up, but I hope you’ll join it at its new home starting NEXT WEEK. (I’ll keep reminding you this month).

Some of you have been linking up your helpful tips for as long as I have. Thank you. I hope you’ll continue.

Nothing Is Wasted

My little one brought me a photo album she found in the bottom of the closet. She curled up beside me and opened it. We snuggled on the couch while we slowly flipped the pages.

She stopped at an old picture of me, standing against a car, looking forlorn. “What’s wrong with you, Mom? You look so sad.”

I looked at the picture and wondered how it ended up in a recent photo album. A flood of memories hit me hard. “I was sad. I wanted to be a mom so bad. I lived in sadness because it took so long. Those were my wasted years,” I said, surprised at how bitter my words sounded.

“What does that mean? Wasted?” she asked.

I wished I could take back the words. “Honey, I just couldn’t see very far in front of me. I sort of lived out of focus.”

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She thought about my answer and flipped the page to a more recent picture of the two of us, laughing.

“Well, maybe there’s no such thing as wasted years.”

Her words hit me hard. There are no wasted years.

(click to continue reading at (in)courage….)

Dear Men of the World: You Won’t Regret Giving This To Your Family

I’ll never forget the day my husband handed me a wooden box with a letter in it.

It was the same year he gave one to each of our children.

The book, Letters from Dad, made a profound impact on him many years ago. It begs the answer to this question: “If you were to die today, what would your (wife and) children hold in their hands tomorrow that would let them know they were the treasures of your life?”

My husband has been answering that question by filling up our letterboxes and our hearts ever since.

He’s written dozens of letters-some funny, some serious, all memorable. On our youngest’s 8th birthday last month, she read the letter before she opened her gifts, giggling at his own second-grade memories.

Because we all understand the letters are the gift. Letters are free, they don’t take much time, but they are absolutely priceless.

A few weeks ago as we celebrated our anniversary in NYC,  Terrell pulled me aside and read the following words to me.

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Less than halfway through, as tears dripped from my chin, I thanked God for this imperfect man who leads us and loves us so well.

He is giving us a beautiful legacy and today, I want to share it with the men of the world in hopes that you will give your wife and children the same gift.

Kristen,                                                                                               

I find myself overwhelmed. I can never do justice to the past twenty years in a letter to you. If I wrote a novel over the next twelve months, I would only be scratching the surface. The beautiful part is that I am not really the one writing this story. This is God’s story and our story. You are my coauthor. One day, I can only hope that our kids drag these letters out of a dusty box and they understand that their dad loved their mom.

I do love you. You are beautiful! For more than twenty years you have been my best friend and confidant. We have traveled many miles and many roads together. When I married you, I married well. You are the one thing I have never quit or given up on. And God knows that you have never given up on me. It probably would have been easier for you if you did quit. But you didn’t. Did I mention I love you? You’re tenacious, bold, strong, tender, kind, humble, sexy, vulnerable, gentle, courageous, caring, loving, patient, brilliant, innovative, creative and on and on.

We have been to hell and heaven together. Actually we’ve probably made the round trip a couple of times.   I am humbled that you love me. Could a man ever ask for anything more than a good woman? Could a man dare hope to have a great woman? Well, I declare with my whole heart that you are an amazing woman and so much more.

In 1994, you said, “I do.”

In 1995, you said, “I will,” and we moved to Arkansas

In 1997, you said, “Let’s take a risk,” and we headed to Albuquerque

In 1999, you said, “I want to be a mother,” and God gave us a daughter in 2000

In 2001, you said, “I believe in you,” and we left the ministry

In 2002, you said, “Florida has got to be better than this,” and we moved and it was worse, but God redeemed our time and gave us a son

In 2003, you said, “You’re not a failure,” and we moved to Texas

In 2004, you said, “God will provide,” and I got a job in the Pharmaceutical industry

In 2005, you said, “I forgive you,” and I saw the face of the Jesus

In 2006, you said, “God has given us grace,” and our miracle was born

In 2008, you said, “I want to write,” and the world met “THAT” family

In 2010, you said, “Yes,” and God wrecked us both and we started Mercy House

In 2012, you said, “Now is the right time,” and we moved and started over

In 2013, you said, “We have to tell our story,” and the “Rhinestone Jesus” manuscript was turned in to Tyndale

In 2014, you said, “I believe in you,” (Or maybe you said, “Help!”) and I quit my job to run Mercy House

TWENTY YEARS.

It sounds unbelievable to even say it. Sometimes I wish I could smith words the way you do. I would smith until I couldn’t smith anymore telling you how I love you. I would tell you in a thousand ways that you are a gift from God. I would write a hundred poems declaring your beauty. I would pen a million songs so that the world would know that I need you.

I still need you! I still want you. No one knows me the way you do. No one loves me when I’m not that loveable…but you do! For that and so much more, I love you.

Kristen Welch, I love you. I want you. I need you.

T.