I did everything for these sunflowers. I sheltered them from storms, protected them from predators, exposed them to sunshine, fed and watered them, enjoyed them, loved them.
But, in the end, they still did their own thing.
Remind you of anyone?
I don't know about you, but my kids do not always make the choices I would make. They do not always process things the way I would process them. They care deeply about things I really don't care much about. We do not see eye-to-eye on several important issues.
So I must be doing something right.
I want my kids to struggle with life and figure out where and how they want to fit into this crazy world we live in. I want them to figure that out and then fight for it, reach for it, claim it, and own it. I want them to be happy. I want them to make others happy. I want them to make a difference.
I want them to realize they were uniquely designed by a loving heavenly father - not a mystical being, not a fairy tale, but a real and powerful God who created the galaxies in one breath and then formed each of their tiny fingernails in the next.
I want them to know that this God - the one God, the only God - loves them so much that he weeps when he sees the world they have to live in. He created this world just for them, and it was perfect, but we have messed it up for them in every possible way.
He has given them breath - his very breath - so they can have a chance to make things a little bit better for themselves and their children.
I pray they don't waste it.
I would love for each of my kids to know lives of ease, happiness, security, and comfort. But I know that a truly good life, an intensely deep and meaningful life, rarely exhibits all of those characteristics. At least not all of the time.
So, as hard as it is for me to say the words, I hope they have just enough hardship so they never forget this is not all about them. They are here only to reflect His peace and light in a world that is a stranger to such things.
I want them to ask the hard questions, to entertain new ideas, to comfort Some who feel rejected by Many. Like their Father before them.
And if their light flickers and dims along the way, as I'm sure it will, I hope they will stop and reflect and change directions and do whatever it takes to make sure their flame starts blazing again. Because if their light is dim, how will those around them ever be able to come in from the cold and feel the warmth of their light?
More than anything, I want my kids to mirror their heavenly father who created them, loved them, and died for them. Not just because they were told it was the only way to live, but because they KNOW in their hearts it is the ONLY way to really live.
And then I'll know I'll have done something right.