Do you know what happens when you set out to write a book on Raising World Changers?
Your world gets rocked.
Ask me how I know.
I didn’t write this book because I want your family to be like ours. I wrote it because I want us all to be like Him. And the last thing I want is for people to think our family is something special. We are just like you–a beautiful mess. So my new book is your invitation to a behind-the-scenes look at the good, the bad and the ugly truth of raising kids upstream in a downstream world.
And my favorite part of the journey was asking discussing it every step of the way with conversation starter questions that I asked my kids to answer at the end of every chapter. Their answers made me cringing and crying and clapping my hands and they reminded me how much they need me to need Jesus.
Here’s what happened when I asked them some hard questions:
Excerpt from Raising World Changers in a Changing World
From my 11 year old daughter: Why do you think some people have enough food and some people don’t? I think some people don’t have food because they don’t have jobs or money to get food. Other people have plenty of food because they have jobs, money, and an education. In Kenya I was able to walk through the slums, and I saw trash everywhere and very small homes made of mud and scraps of metal. It made me feel like we have so much and they have hardly nothing. I think God wants us to share food with others. But most of us are not very good at sharing. We keep everything to ourselves. When you have more than enough and you give something away, it makes you feel happy knowing you have made someone’s day. Sometimes when you give even a little, other people will have food for weeks. For us it may be giving a little, but to them it feels like a lot. I think the best thing we can do is help them to get a job. We watched a documentary that showed giving only food or money doesn’t help in the long run. We have to find a way to help that lasts.
From my 18 year old daughter: What would you say to a kid who is experiencing pain and wondering where God is right now? As a young adult and teenager I went through some hard times when I truly questioned God and chose to back away from him. I wondered where he was and why he was allowing me to go through those things. Those times really sucked and were far from easy, but looking back at them now I can see how they shaped me into the person I am today. I needed to pull away from God and question him to truly make my faith my own and understand what it means to be a real follower of Jesus Christ. God was with me throughout those hardships and extremely painful times, and he was guiding me through a rocky path. Though I didn’t always feel his presence or think He cared, I know he was constantly working in my life and waiting for me to return to him. No matter what we go through God is always there, and we have to choose to see him. He is holding out his arms willing us to run into them, but sometimes our own stubborn and defiant nature keeps us from him. I would tell kids who are experiencing pain and an absence of God that he is waiting right in front of them with open arms and that they just need to make the choice to push forward into his embrace.
From my 15 year old son: What advice would you give your parents? Don’t stop being generous. No matter how down you get, please continue to live your lives in this obedience that has shaped our family. You have been such a model of obedience and of living a life for Christ. You face real spiritual warfare and so many other struggles in what you are doing. But I want to remind you that it is worth it. I know it is hard, but you have to take it day by day. You have no idea the impact you have had on me and the rest of the family. I couldn’t ask for a better life, one in which I am constantly surrounded by the wonderful chaos of ministry and changing the world. I don’t think I could go back to a “normal” life. This is my new normal.
Don’t stop being obedient. I know that everything you do is crazy and daunting, and it seems like it is too much or that we won’t be able to do it. But every time you have said yes, God has provided. Every time we have a need it is eventually met, even if not in the way we imagined. No matter how many struggles we have, God is still with us. So the next time you feel God is telling you to do something, please say yes. Don’t stop being awesome parents. You and Dad are the best parents I could ever have. I want you to know that, even though sometimes I don’t act like it. Whatever you are doing, please keep doing it and helping others do it. I know we make it really tough sometimes, but it is paying off. I love you.
Go ahead. Ask your kids these questions. I dare you.