Monday, July 19, 2010

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask about the ancient paths, ‘Which one is the good way?’ Take it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah

I dashed out the door yesterday afternoon, giving my husband a quick word.

"I'll be right behind you," he called from his work at the computer.

I don't think so, I responded inside my head. Not at the pace I am moving.

I just needed to get away from everyone for a bit. I listened to my footsteps, sounding like the very word, "walk, walk, walk, walk" and the rhythm began to regulate my breath and thoughts.

This past week has been a whirlwind. We are not "youth group" people, nor are we "youth mission trip" kind of folk either. Yet somewhere along the line we seemed to have forgotten the things that we have already worked through in previous years. When our oldest children entered the ages commonly referred to as "teenage" (oh, how I cringe at the name) my husband and I began looking to the Lord's word to help us navigate this season. Deep inside, we did not believe that our children needed to go through a metamorphosis of ugliness in order to come out at some point down the line as adults, once again recognizable to us. What we found was that the Lord does speak to this time of change. The book of Proverbs, in particular, has so much to say to those whom we call 'youth'. Beginning in the first chapter, we read that the Provers are for:

..Attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;

for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;

for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-

let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-

And later:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.

They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

What we saw at the time was an attitude within the church that seemed to be oblivious to the responsibility of the corporate body offering assistance to the parents as they train and teach during these still-formative years. The approach commonly held has turned out to be one in which "teenagers" are considered incapable of focus or seriousness, fun is the essential ingredient to any gathering, and inappropriate, self-indulgent behavior is given it's head like a feisty stallion.

Titus 2 has been a holy touchstone for us in raising our kids, but I stepped out against my better judgement this past week. This was not for our family, and yet....

As I returned home I passed two white-haired gentlemen in conversation going the opposite direction. We exchanged hellos and then I happened to catch a piece of their conversation when it resumed, "Yes, I remember my Mother would always tell me..." How blessed a role I consider this. I continued on, considering. I reflected upon the intentions, dangers, mistakes, and lessons from this past week. Thankfully, I know, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Even in this, His ways and purposes will be fulfilled, and so I continue walking, but with a greater peace.

His peace.

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