I love watching my children develop into incredible human beings however it is not without its ups and downs. The character building process is a purposeful and intentional journey. To become slack even just for a moment allows tiny cracks to form, providing opportunity to question, challenge and debate the validity of ones beliefs, values and morals. If we are to equip our children for valiant living that will sustain them for a life time then they must be well prepared for the journey. This is not a journey for the faint hearted.
My son is currently delicately balanced between the last vestiges of childhood as he plows full steam into the tweenie years (an unheard of phenomenon just a few years ago) and my daughter has now fully transitioned into to her mid teens. I am awed at how incredible this transition is and how the second time round (and being more aware of the process this time ... poor first child!) how truly remarkable this journey really is.
First time round I found myself suddenly forwarded into the marshlands of teenage-dom, a kingdom entirely consisting of hormonal slayers and fiery dragons. It is indeed a time of slaying and conquering. Slaying the fiery dragons of a roving attitude and the rising resistance while continuing to equip my young Zealous-heart to conquer the prevailing self doubts, failures and fears. My first foray into this unknown territory left me scratching my head and wondering how on earth I had become lost in this perilous and vast land. I quickly learned that a new way of parenting was needed and necessary. My once little princess was emerging into a zealous and passionate warrior woman ... intent on defining her own path and forging her own way. Long gone were the bouncy pigtails and pretty dresses. I had to quickly unpack the picnic basket, stop skipping through the daisies and pull on the hiking boots and backpack. If we were trekking through this kingdom then I was going to be ready. Jumping to attention I quickly caught up to my brave and Zealous-heart as she galloped ahead intent on her own adventure. Together we rode through the approaching storms, fought the hormonal onslaught and occasionally hid in the safety of a welcoming cave. We continued to march to the beat of an internal drum (hers not mine), through the valley of shadows we pressed, welcoming the gentle breezes that blew in from heaven above. Embracing the tranquility and peace of green pastures we rested, drinking often and frequently from much needed quiet waters.
It is indeed a journey ... into a heartland of character forming and chiseling of moral fortitude. The shaping of character equips for a life time. It is this very process that sets the standards by which to live by. It is the lens through which our children will outwork their beliefs, values and morals and ultimately provides the focus of who they will become. While the early years are spent in shaping, moulding and often BENDING the young mind, heart and soul of our young-hearts, it is now a foray into the outworking of all that has been instilled within them and it really does get outworked, challenged and tested. Standing till the end is apparently a long process and a battle worth fighting. Not an easy task under normal circumstances and rather challenging on your own ... as I soon learned. Finding myself on the battleground many a time, I desperately looked around for a comrade in arms to assist with the warding off of the eminent fiery darts and the all consuming cannon balls but alas the army had retreated. Standing and continuing to stand is for the strong and courageous at heart. Fortunately I had laid camp near some kindly kinsmen who beckoned me forward and ever onward. Equipping myself with my helmet, breastplate and belt I took up my sword and shield and marched ever onward towards the path of peace.
So once again I find myself embarking on the next adventure with my Valiant - heart, drawing a certain amount of solace from the journey with Zealous - heart, I am well armed, equipped and ready to go. I am hopeful that this next crossing into teenage - dom will have less twists and turns having learnt which battles to face and those to let go.
Psalm 23: 1-4
The Lord Almighty who is my shepherd and my guide shall never leave me wanting. He has made the green pastures for me to delight in, he is beside me at the quiet waters, it is there that he restores my soul. His peace washes over me, I am renewed afresh. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake and it is his name that is upon my lips. Even though I walk through dark valleys and shadows are looming, I have nothing to fear. He is with me until the end.
Ephesians 6:13 - 17
I am able to stand firm because I am fitted out with truth and salvation which is strapped deeply in my inner being, I am girded well. Righteousness has fortified me, my heart and soul are encased securely. The word embedded deep within pierces the darkness dispelling and extinguishing that which would seek to take me out. Faith goes before me and shields me, it is my hope and defence. Suitably fitted with peace my steps move ever onward. I can not look back, nor turn around....my only hope is forward.
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