Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It's Not All About You

Idea adapted from this post, a must read.

My Dearest Anna and Eli,

People were right when they said children would bring me such happiness and joy. That despite the trials and struggles I'd face, that I would love you beyond explanation. That your eyes would melt my heart and your smiles brighten my day. They were right. But when they said I'd want to give you the world, that life would be all about you now, they were wrong.

Please don't misunderstand, my little cupcakes. Mommy and Daddy love you more than life itself and we want great things for you. Our world does revolve around you. But life in general does not. It's not all about you.

People say we should give you this, that, and the other. Buy you the latest toys, the best clothes, and take you everywhere you want to go. But they're wrong. They're placing happiness in the hands of stuff. And although everyone is busy trying to acquire more stuff, most all of those people are miserable. Because if happiness is in a house, or a car, or the latest toy then there's always a bigger house, a newer car, and some new invention of the toy of the season. Just when you think you've "found" happy, happy moves.

That's the problem with stuff, kiddos. It doesn't satisfy. The goal is contentment. To be happy and grateful for what you have. Not always longing for something else, but rather enjoying the things you do have.

We're filthy rich. And sadly, Mommy just realized this. I used to always think that rich encompassed Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Oprah, and the masses of actors and actresses residing in Hollywood. But after reading that just by buying Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love that I spent the amount someone makes in a month, it blew my mind.

When you consider this verse, it's a very daunting thought:

"It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matt. 19:24

My precious children, I want you to understand that we are beyond blessed. We have a home to keep us safe and warm when in other countries they're sleeping and living 5-6 people in an area the size of our bathroom. We have clean water to drink and don't have to fear disease from contaminated water supplies. We have food beyond most people's understanding - so much so that we have junk food, eat out, and throw leftovers in the trash without really even taking pause to contemplate that what we just threw away was more than most eat in a week. That our monthly grocery budget alone is someone's yearly income. We're blessed.

We live in an age where most everyone in our society has cell phones with texting and internet plans, houses with TV's in every room, TIVO and DVR's, DVD players, surround sound, radios, satellite and cable.... And to think. There are millions upon millions of people who likely have no clue such things even exist. Even the poorest of poor here in America are filthy rich compared to those in other countries.

We're surround by the comfort of our recliners and couches, our king sized beds, and the personalized rooms we decorated for each of you. We have appliances coming out of our ears, multiple vehicles in our driveway, and closets that can barely contain all the clothing and shoes we have.

We live in a society where parents and grandparents buy, buy, buy and where children feel like any time they go somewhere they're entitled to something new. I am so thankful that each of you does not have that spirit in you and I pray that you'll continue, even at this early age, to understand that life just isn't all about us.

Each of you have college funds and savings accounts. But I want you to understand something. This is not what life is all about. Let me repeat that again, sweethearts. This is not what life is all about!

Your rooms full of toys, rocket tents, train sets, kitchen sets, princess dresses, and toy boxes full of junk is not what it's all about.

All of this could change in an instant. By our choosing or by some unforeseen circumstance. You see, because the Bible has a lot to say about contentment. It also has a lot to say about taking care of the least of these - the orphans and the widows, the poor, the sick, and those who can't help themselves.

Might we sacrifice giving to you to be able to give to others who are in more of need? Yes. We already do. Might we at some point stop funding your college accounts in order to give to those who literally have next to nothing? Yes, we may. And people think we're weird. But if I've learned anything it's that caring what people think of us shouldn't matter. I want you to be bold. I want you to stand out. But more than anything, I want you to be bold enough to stand out for Him and what He says matters. I want you to be giving and compassionate. I want you to be able to see a need in someone's life and care enough to sacrifice materialistic things to fill that need for that person.

I want you to care about "the least of these". I want you to understand that when we're making the tough decisions and telling you "no" that it's not about trying to make you mad or because we don't want you to have things. But it is about teaching you that life doesn't revolve around you (or me for that matter), that you're not always going to have everything handed to you in life, and that if we gave you everything you wanted, you'd grow up to be rotten, spoiled, individuals who no one wanted to be around. It's quite likely you already know people like this. I know I do. And I want more for you than that. To give you everything would be a huge disservice to you.

So my dearest Anna and Eli, please forgive me ahead of time for all the times you're going to hear "No". And know that despite hearing "no" we love you more than life itself. So much so that we're willing to stand apart for His cause and what He says is important.

I love you kiddos and pray you learn the meaning of contentment and how much more valuable it is than happiness.




  1. Awesome. Too many parents today don't know or are too afraid to say "no" to their children because of what someone might think. I believe that is what has led to so many kids today having no value of or respect for things because they are continuously given new things. You guys are amazing parents and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise!

  2. I agree completely. John and I were discussing this last night in relation to ourselves. It is a constant battle for contentment when we are being bombarded by a world that tells us "More, more, more!!"