Monday, February 15, 2010

I don't want my children to be happy


Dear Shepherd, Sissy, Maggie and Ikey,

Recently we were told by people whom we love and respect why they oppose our plans to adopt. One of the reasons given was that we would not be able to pay for your college education.

It's true.

You all have college funds - college funds which recently took a terrible hit - but "they" say that by the time you're 18, college will cost anywhere between $200,000 to half a million dollars each. You might as well know now, we won't be covering that. I'm telling you now, babies.

The people said that the day would come when you would look at us with resentment because you had to apply for school loans while many of your friends got a free ride from their parents.

Maybe you will. Maybe you'll resent us. I really hope not. But maybe I should tell y'all now why your dad and I have decided to do what we are doing.

I know you're going to think I am going off topic (I do that a lot) but several years I saw a story on a TV show about how the latest trend was for parents to give their daughters boob jobs for high school graduation (I don't know what they gave their sons.) When interviewing one of the moms, she said, "I just want my daughter to be happy." And as I tossed a throw pillow at the television, this really huge thought occurred to me: I don't want my children to be happy.

My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are.

So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.

There are two things I desire for you, precious loves. There are two things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying cultivate in you. Happiness ain't one of them. (This means, sorry, no boob jobs for you.)

The first is, I want you to be content.

Being content is so much different from being happy. Being content is not based on your surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.

Being content and grateful leads to consistent joy.

As you know, because I've told you lots of times, Paul talked about being content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos, really rotten.

How could Paul be content whether he was in prison or if his life was literally a shipwreck? Because Paul was constantly seeking to be in the will of God instead of his own, was constantly sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of the gospel, and was constantly being confirmed, strengthened, and blessed by God because of his obedience. He was given a supernatural power - that means something kind of like magic, God magic - to do things that most other humans could not do. And guess what? The bible tells us (in Ephesians 1) that God will give you the exact same power! If you want it!

Which leads me to my second desire for y'all.

I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

This means you may be poor, 'in want' as Paul said, and that's okay. It will never, ever be okay with the world for you to be poor. So you'll be up against the world. But not your dad and me, loves, because it was never our goal for you to be wealthy - at least not in the way that the world considers wealthy.

Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

They said that one day y'all would resent us for using 'your' college money to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to you.

But I know my babies. Even at your tender ages, I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers.

So, sugarbears - I just don't believe those people.

Love,
Mommy

For more info:
Ethiopia Adoption Q&A
Our adoption timeline
The Theology of Adoption
God does not hate Africa
Spiritual attack against those who adopt
Blessed to be a weirdo


For a copy of this post:
I am thrilled that this post is being shared so much over the internet. To God be the glory! If you feel called to share it, please be so kind as to link back to my blog, instead of copying the post itself. Or email me at itsalmostnaptime @ gmail . com with "permission" in the byline for a .pdf document of the post. Thank you!!

465 comments:

  1. Love this! And I love you Missy! I hope this is read by many.

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  2. Amen, amen, amen, oh did I say AMEN!

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  3. thanks for this. i happened to need it this evening.

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  4. Can you be my mom? Plus, I already paid for my own college.

    On the serious? I love how you write and I love your heart.

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  5. That's awesome Missy. I got the college tuition lecture when pregnant with my 3rd - I can't imagine what you go through. I really appreciate this post and your perspective. Thanks.

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  6. Oh Missy! I LOVE this post! All of the things I would say if I could write (and convince my hubby we had a baby in Ethiopia- he's still not on board with that one...yet)!!

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  7. What a great post! My blog is for my babies and I wish I could just cut and paste this as it says everything I feel but don't know exactly how to say.

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  8. Oh I just love this post! So well said! Nice job! "They" can just stare in amazement as your family shows "them" different!

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  9. Oh, goodness. What a sweet letter from a Mama to her children. I just adored reading it. Thank you.

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  10. I love this. And it is SO true. I went to college knowing good and well that my parents could not afford to pay for it. I did it myself. And I don't regret it. I'll be paying on it for a while but you know what, it was worth it.

    Adoption is a major decision and one that no one goes into lightly. I think the audacity of some people to give their opinions is completely out of line.

    They're wrong. Your children will LOVE their sister, when she finds her way home.

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  11. Loved it Missy. I too paid for my own college education. My husband and I worked hard to pay off all of our school loans...going without "worldly riches."
    Thanks for posting this.

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  12. I'm mostly a lurker and haven't posted in a comment in a long time. We have been on an adoption journey, that is currently on hold, but I recently heard about Promise 686 and it looks like they are helpful. You may already know about it, but just in case here's the link. http://www.promise686.org/
    All the best!
    Tamara

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  13. Perfectly said....I hope MANY read this with hearts wide open.

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  14. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I LOVE THIS! I'm printing it out and keeping it. That much love.

    Here's another thing to consider - it may be that each of your children (certainly mine - they won't have their educations fully funded by us) will get to experience the amazing provision of Jehovah Jireh our provider when it comes time to start paying those college bills. You are giving those babies a chance to learn first-hand what it means to trust - REALLY TRUST - God to provide.

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  15. Fantastic.
    I did not get a free ride and I am just thankful, not resentful.
    PLUS, around this house, college has not be touted as the be all and end all.
    Sure it is good, but there are many other options that don't require 4 expensive years and a fancy piece of paper.
    You go girl.

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  16. First, I just don't get people saying these kind of things to others. Haven't they heard of quietly closing the door and talking about y'all when you leave - ha!

    Secondly, you're children will not resent any of their siblings, or you, for lack of college money. Had I wish my parents would have given me some moola - absolutely - but there's no resentment.

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  17. One of Rob's patient's recently told him...."God will not lead you to it unless He means to lead you THROUGH it." Amazes me when "people" forget that trusting Him will lead us on our path. Love you Mis!!!

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  18. While my situation could not be more different, this word was what I needed. Yesterday my son had a full blown hissy fit because, well, essentially he wasn't getting his way. I got all kinds of things hurled at me because I didn't understand and didn't care about his happiness. And I don't. I'm just glad I'm not alone.

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  19. Oh Missy! What a precious letter! So perfect! Thinking and praying for you during this season!

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  20. I love this!!

    When the daughter we are adopting comes home, it means that none of our children will have their own room. You cannot imagine other people's reaction to this. Because clearly it's child abuse to force our children to share a bedroom with someone they love, and they will hate us for it forever. I don't pray children's' happiness either, my prayer every night is that they will always know Jesus and always serve Him. I'm going to have to link back to this post for the four people that read my blog.

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  21. Oh my goodness, I love this!! We have said this since the girls were little, our goal is for them to be holy, not happy.

    I am so sorry anyone ever suggested such shallow, hurtful things to you in the face of the beautiful thing you are doing. You are giving your children far more than a paid for education- you are giving them the meaning of life... living for others. Hugs to you.

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  22. Amen! Amen! Amen!
    My college wasn't paid for and I survived. I also have a greater apprieciation for money and my degree.
    I also believe that this relates to marriage too. I have friends that are getting divorced because they 'aren't happy anymore'. I think it's sad that we think everything revolves around happiness.

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  23. Missy,
    This post is such an encouragement to parent with God as the leader, not society. Thank you for this wonderful reminder!

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  24. I'm still paying for college. Myself. I harbor no resentment toward parents who were unable to fund those four years!

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  25. I absolutely love this post! Thank you for putting what I believe in such a wonderful collection of words.

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  26. I. Adore. You.

    I love reading your blog!!!!

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  27. When Curtis and I were doing college ministry, we realized the vast majority of our students were paying on their own or at least helping out a lot.

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  29. I recently found your blog and have enjoyed reading it but this post is just BEAUTIFUL! Plus, what makes it even better is it is TRUTH! Keep pouring truth into your children and do not be conformed to this world. LOVE IT!

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  30. I LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEDDDD this!! What a good reminder and encouragement to me. You GO GIRL!!! You GO and get that angel waiting for you in Ehtiopia!!

    I'm off to write my student loan check!! With a VERY HAPPY heart!

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  31. Totally keeping this. Probably putting it on my bathroom mirror. Likely linking to it in the very near future. Thanks so much.

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  32. Great post! It is so nice to hear. My parents helped my brother and I as much as they could, but he and I both earned academic scholorships and worked from the time we were fifteen to save money for college. Then we had work scholarships at our colleges. We both graduated debt free, but not free from appreciating our hard earned education.

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  33. As an adoptive mother, I am so thankful you wrote this. As a mother, I'm so thankful you wrote this.

    And as a college student, I'm telling you right now I think they ABSOLUTE WORST THING a parent can do is pay for college for their kid. My parents paid for one year of my college and I wasted it. It was painfully obvious (and still is!) who had parents paying the tuition bill - we were the ones who were blowing it off. The money wasn't coming out of our pocket so it didn't matter. Trust me, the tables are turned once those tuition bills start coming in your own name!

    We are not setting up college funds for our children.

    And anyone who thinks your children will say "Gee! I wish we could send my sister back so I could get out of college loan free!" is crazy. There are some times I'd love to sell my siblings (and children!) to the circus, but every dime that's gone to their adoptions have been worth it.

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  34. Absolutely beautiful! This post has really touched me as a mom. Thanks so much!

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  35. I love this post so much! It totally sums up how I feel as well. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  36. Amen! The last paragraph made me weep. What a blessing to see the heart of our children, and to know that their hearts are in the right place.

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  37. This is stinking awesome. Telling all my peeps about it. Love you, girl.

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  38. This is SO TRUE! Thank you for posting this... You cannot serve both God and mammon, and we can ABSOLUTELY trust Him to provide all that we will need.

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  39. Won't it be wonderful to see how God works all things out for your kids' college tuition? This post is precious. Last night I was meditating on how Paul was content in all situations, and today, I read your post!

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  40. I have never understood the mantra of "I just want them to be happy." You said it perfectly.

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  41. I absolutely love this post and am in total agreement. It's really not all about our happiness anyway. Such a bigger purpose. It's hard for most of us to keep that in sight.

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  42. I couldn't agree more! I truly believe by adopting a child from Ethiopia to come live in our family and be loved by us forever, we are giving our other 3 children a better education than college ever could! Our mantra has become we just hope none of our children WANT to go to college -- just kidding, but there will not be a free ride waiting for them to get there!

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  43. Wow. This is one of the most encouraging, convicting, compelling, beautiful, and inspiring things I have EVER read. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Wow. I'm printing this to share with my husband and to ponder.

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  44. Once again Missy you hit the nail on the head,
    I completly agree with you...
    It's like that verse about teaching someone to fish, not just giving someone a fish to eat.
    I hope that children whether they are adopted or not, grow to be strong and smart, I want them to value everything they "have" --emotionally,spiritualy, ect.
    I think that you are well on your way to giving your kids the foundation they need to succeed!

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  45. so good, just so, so good. and TRUE.

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  46. Oh dear. I am now crying but so blessed by your words. These are the same words I tell our Boy, our sweet, sweet Boy who has a heart for all those little ones out there too. It's the heart that matters, and thank you, Jesus, that you see what's in our hearts before you see what's in our actions. I cannot wait to hear more about your daughter's homecoming!!

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  47. Beautiful, Missy. The popular notion that the most important thing parents can do for their kids is "make them happy" is such a lie. It's like giving them a lifetime handicap and sets them up to spend their lives tryng to find somebody else to make their life good.

    I think our calling as moms is to help our kids grow stronger, not weaker.

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  48. Amen! Missy?....I love you. A really whole big lot! You know who paid for my college ride? I did! Scholarships pay for college if you are willing to work your butt off for 'em instead of spending your high school years at one big party.

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  49. So very well said. You have such a big heart Missy!!

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  50. I. LOVE. THIS. So well-written and exactly how I feel about my kids, too. Thanks, Missy. I love your heart and the way you write!

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  51. I am so excited for ya'll(and jealous! I can't wait until its our time to adopt...). Can you believe this dream is becoming a reality?! And, you received your first (of many, I'm sure) judgemental comments...which means its really going to happen!!

    My parents provided everything I could have ever wanted...but they did not pay for college. And- I AM SO GLAD THEY DIDN'T! Because I was paying for college (er, loaning money...alot of money) I actually went to class and stayed focused on finishing. And to further solidify my point- I was so UNSCARRED by student loans (which have the lowest interest rate ever, by the way) that Nick and I took out even more loans to pay for law school.

    Your children will benefit so much more from your open, giving heart than they ever would from money. My heart is sad for the people who said these things to ya'll...

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  52. OH my! I didn't even stop to think that if I had four children I wouldn't be able to pay for their college education. WHAT was I thinking?!? Let's see... which one should I give back? Which one is too much trouble? Which one wasn't worth all of the effort to bring into this world? Which one should I exchange so I will have enough money to pay for college?? ;]

    LOVE this post!!

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  53. Once again... I sit here thinking, "Yup, she got that one right!" I love your heart for the Lord and for your children. Your prayers echo my own for my 4.

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  54. Good grief, Missy, now I'm crying at work....

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  55. THIS IS IT! I couldn't agree more. My kids aren't usually unhappy--life isn't about their comfort. In loving them and seeking contentment and holiness, they are uncomfortable.

    I AM UNCOMFORTABLE-which is exactly where God wants me.

    SO good.

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  56. This is the first time I have read your blog (I have been blog creeping and ran upon yours from my sister's blog)! WOW! I couldn't agree more! I am bookmarking your blog and can't wait to hear much more from you! Thanks for this post!

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  57. Must print this out. Change names. Have my kids read. ;)

    Beautiful!

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  58. AMEN.
    and I'll say it again
    A.M.E.N.

    Have I told you recently how much I love how you can just reach into my mind and heart and put the things i am thinking out on paper in a much more coherent, cogent and effective way? 'cause babe, I gotta tell you - GO out and PREACH this.

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  59. I know it wasn't your intent, but I needed this on so many levels. So, so many.

    I don't know what else to say, but know that my heart is so full. So, so full.

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  60. Bravo, Missy. Bravo. Just so you know, you are sort of my hero in this. I'm watching your adoption journey, because I would like to make a similar journey in the near future.

    Bravo.

    Hugs,
    Melinda

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  61. Wow--Your spiritual fruit of self-control must be on an IV of Miracle-Gro, because I would have seriously told "them" to mind their own business (and probably not that nicely). You voiced your heart in such a way that no one can argue against it.
    It is obviously God's calling on your lives to be adoptive parents, and whenever God calls, He provides. Period. Your children will NOT resent you for choosing to obey God's calling. They will learn so much from you about the love of God through this whole experience, and will probably wonder why the rest of the world doesn't understand their perspective.
    To God be the glory!

    *On another note--For those who commented to the effect that parents paying for college ruins their kids...keep in mind that every kid and every situation is different. My parents paid for both my brother and me. We both worked part-time during college to help with incidentals, but were full-time students. Our parents instilled in us (how, I'm not sure) a sense of responsibility and accountability that kept us on track. AND, my father became disabled and was unable to work during those years as well. To this day, none of us can explain how their dollars stretched enought to cover all of the expenses that college and Dad's medical bills required. We all learned a HUGE lesson about our faith and God's provision during those times. If I'd been working to pay for it myself, I would have missed that. So...whether you plan to pay or not, PRAY for God's provision and for your children's contentment along the way...

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  62. From a mother: Thank you and amen!
    From a college professors wife: college is overrated and NOT for everyone.
    From someone who made a choice that others totally shot down ("in love"): it's NONE of their beeswax ("in love")!
    From someone who will be paying off student loans for the rest of her life: thank you God for the opportunity we had to take this plunge, even if it meant debt!

    Carry on!

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  63. Beautiful - Once again, your words express what my heart feels:)

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  64. Thank you for speaking up for those of us that have our parenting choices questioned.
    My family has never understood why I don't want a college education, why I choose to homeschool my children and why the most important lesson I want them to learn is how much God loves them and how to seek him daily. He's got the rest covered.

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  65. Beautiful post! I couldn't agree more. We are adopting from Ethiopia as well. I just found your blog and I look forward to following your journey.
    Blessings,
    Amy

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  66. Y'all have been an unbelievable encouragement to me after a very hard evening last night. Thank you SO MUCH and God bless every one of you!

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  67. I screamed at my husband to read this immediately!

    This has been my prayer for my children since before they were born! The desire of my heart is for them to be content and that spirit comes from our Heavenly Father. I was so excited to read that someone else feels the same way that I do about happiness- it’s relative.

    Good luck with the adoption;)

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  68. Thank you so much for sharing this. I teach a Leadership class at a local community college, and one of the things I ask my students at the beginning of every semester is, "How do you define success?" A few mention money, but most say success means "doing whatever makes you happy." They don't get it! What I want to tell them is exactly what you have written here, that it's NOT about being happy. I just may use some of your words in my class...

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  69. That was so incredibly beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I don't even have words. Thank you for sharing that, thank you so much.

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  70. Thank you for a very well written and heart felt piece. You and your children will be very blessed as you continue to yield your will to HIS!! God bless you!

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  71. this post might be going viral on Facebook. I've never been to your blog before, but I might just have to return. You've expressed my heart perfectly.

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  72. I can't tell you how many times my husband has said those exact words ... I am not here to make you happy, but to teach you to love Jesus and glorify him ... GREAT POST SISTER ... You are not standing alone on the NO BOOB JOB issue ....

    thanks for sharing this w/ me !!!

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  73. you've just left me weepy. beautiful, mis!

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  74. I can say from personal experience that when college comes around, your kids will not look at their sister and say, "Gee. I really wish we would have had our college paid for instead of having a sister." No way.

    My stepmom is pregnant with my brother or sister. I am 22. When my dad married a younger woman, I knew they would try to have a child. And I did worry. I thought a baby would take away the little love and attention and resources my dad was throwing my way (different circumstances with divorce and drama). But seriously, as soon as I found out I had a brother/sister, I. don't. care. That is my brother or sister and I LOVE him/her. I want more for him/her than I have and if that means less for me, that is fine. That is great!

    Also, I am just finishing school and it's good for kids to have some responsibility with paying for school. It's good for us, I tell ya =)

    Amazing post.

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  75. This was so good! And Missy, have you read the book Adopted for Life? By Russell Moore. I just read it and it is fantastic. Really a wonderful encouragement to all Christians, but especially those who are adopting. Check it out!

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  76. Very well stated. My college education was fully funded by student loans. Being in debt is not fun, but God has provided more than I need and every month the loan bill gets paid. I also worked as much as I possibly could during college to pay rent, car payment, etc and I can say I was much more mature and prepared for life post-education than my friends who got a "free ride."

    Your babies will be taken care of!

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  77. Fabulous post, Missy. I sent the link to Jay to read, and he LOVED it. May I use your link on my blog, please?

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  78. Again, Missy, this was amazing. I'm sorry that it came from a very frustrating dinner. I can't imagine all of the emotions and thoughts that swirled along with it. It's a keepsake post, and one I will go back and read from time to time.

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  79. I love this and I don't think I could have said it better... Thank you.

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  80. love this post. Just found your blog...looking forward to reading more. We have three in four years (they are all 20 months apart). Love to read about other families with lots of small kids. Thanks

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  81. This post is perfection. Glad I found your blog.

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  82. very well put! We adopted 2 from Uganda last year. We also had similar issues vocalized from people close to us.
    As I was cashing in those checks from the money we had saved for our childrens education my heart began the pound and I was sick, but God quickly said to me "do you really have more faith in these small checks than in me and what I can provide for you"
    Aahh, peace swelled in me as I handed them over. God provided the entire 30K within 5months. Let me tell you we did not have it but He did. We have been resting in Him since. He has supplied all our needs. I said needs not wants :)
    God bless your journey!!

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  83. I totally agree, but don't forget the power of scholarships. I paid for my education by applying to any and all scholarships my senior year of high school. My parents didn't have any saved up for us.

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  84. New reader, new commenter...
    But I needed to read the Truth of that for myself, not just for my kids! God desires ME to be holy, not "happy."
    Good reminder for me today.
    I LOVE adoption and I hope to embark on that journey one day!

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  85. wow, so well put, the thoughts in my head that don't come out so beautifully.
    thank you for such a meaningful post.

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  86. Oh Missy--how I wish more parents "got" that. Amen and Amen!

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  87. Seriously, I adore this post. Love it dearly and deeply. So many people don't "get" what we're doing or why we're raising our daughter the way we are -- and I'm so glad to read that we're not alone in our beliefs! :-) thanks for sharing!

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  88. This blessed me. Thank you. For taking the time to remind me and give me a renewed vision for this parenting journey! Thank you.

    Be blessed!

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  89. love this! I hope I get this across to my children.

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  90. Amen, Sistah! You go, girl! And guess what? Your babies WILL be happy - Jesus is like that.

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  91. If only I could have the same outlook on life as you wish to instill in your children...Then I could be happier! That being said I think the word happy was not totally descriptive of your meaning. Maybe satisfied was the right word...Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. God seeks our happiness through his love and the sharing of that love with others:

    Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord (Ps.144:15).

    http://wordofloveforyou.com/happiness.htm

    have a *happy* day.

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  92. Great post, girl! And just know that I paid for my last year of college. I'm still alive. :)

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  93. Seriously, the kids who pay for/help pay for their own college education probably get a lot more out of college than the ones with a free ride anyway. In the meantime, they get a new sibling to love and be loved by.

    Adoption is not in my future (not that I know of anyway) but I am so glad for people like you who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and go on this journey!

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  94. Missy, you are getting some serious support in your comment section today! Thank God for encouragement. You expressed your thoughts with love and control. Good for you! I thank God there are parents willing to follow His lead regarding adoption, regardless of the meaning-to-be-helpful advice from others that is meant to turn you away from that decision. Love them, ignore them. ;-) And know they wouldn't give you the advice if they didn't care about you and your family. I pray God brings His will for your family to beautiful fruition. Your sister in Christ, ~~Rhonda ::thanking God He was willing to adopt me::

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  95. Thank you for having the courage to say what needs to be said. While we are not pursuing adoption, we are expecting our sixth child. And many, many people mention paying for college. I pray that my children will never look at one another and think that if there were one or two less maybe they wouldn't be working their way through college. My worth as a parent will NOT be determined by the material things I could or could not give my children.

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  96. LOVE this. and your heart for God and your children. such an encouragement to me today. thank you!

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  97. Wonderful. I so wish more families felt as you do! You are so ight about holiness. you are a wonderful example to hundreds!

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  98. Beautiful and a great example to us all! Thank you for following God's calling.

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  99. Mis-
    Glad I popped over here today. Of course I agree with every word you said. Makes my $800/month student loan bill seem silly in the grand scheme of things.

    Miss you,
    Beth

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  100. Beautiful!

    I can't even comprehend someone thinking that you shouldn't adopt because you won't be able to pay for college tuition. I more fully can't comprehend someone saying it out loud to you!

    What a society of entitlement we live in!

    Your kids will be all the better for having a mom who cares about the important things and not their happiness! Congrats.

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  101. So glad that someone shared this in Google Reader or I never would have seen it! Wonderful, beautiful, honest post.

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  102. I've told so many people about this post, yet I realized today I never commented on it.

    I wonder when it became the American norm that the parents are expected to pay for college. I never thought my parents would have money for that. (Maybe that's because my Dad was a pastor?) And honestly, it was fine. And I went to a private Christian college where tuition was high. I worked, I took out loans, I took time off as needed. I didn't suffer.

    But to the main point of your post: BRAVO! I'm glad it's gotten so much positive attention.

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  103. Your children may not grow up to be "happy" by the world's standards, but one thing is for sure...if your desires for raising them do not stray from the current path, your love for them never dulls, and your passion for living out God's will for your life and the life of your family never fades, then one day your chidren will, as it says in Proverbs 31, they will rise up and call you blessed. Isn't that worth so much more than college tuition?
    Proverbs 31:28 "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her..."

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  104. You are speaking my language, girl! Just found this post off a link, and am reinspired by it. This is how my hubs and I choose to raise our daughter as well. We are adopting too, from China and we are praying over an Ethiopian application!

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  105. You are speaking my language, girl! Just found this post off a link, and am reinspired by it. This is how my hubs and I choose to raise our daughter as well. We are adopting too, from China and we are praying over an Ethiopian application!

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  106. I agree with this totally! We aren't really saving money for our kids college either for different reasons. I think it is such a great thing for you to do as a family and I wish that God had placed that desire in my husband and my heart but it isn't there at the moment but maybe one day! God bless you and keep teaching your kids to be content and holy.

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  107. Bless you.
    Thank you.
    Amen.
    Good Luck!
    ....and another AMEN SISTER!

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  108. I have chills all over. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder about what it means to be a good parent.

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  109. Love this post. But I don't call it contentment. I would call it joy. Not the fleeting stuff, but the feeling you get from the peace in your heart from the gospel and the overpowering love from God. Not to say there aren't bad days and hard times. Just that they aren't as bitter. I hope that makes sense.

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  110. Thank you so very, very much for voicing what I have never been able to do. I have been weighed down with guilt over what the world, and thus, my children, expected of me. We did our best to give our six children the things that money could not buy: camping trips to wonderful parks, canyons, and oceans, parents who attend and watch and drive and listen. We could not pay for, but we DID. The contentment is just the truest thing anyone could have said! And I am going to make it a special point to study Paul this week and learn more from his example. Thank you so much for your gift to me!

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  111. Amen! Wow, I'm amazed at how eloquently you have stated my sentiments on this subject. Both my husband & I worked our way through college & we wouldn't trade the experience for anything. We found that we took our classes so much more seriously & appreciated the college experience so much more than some of our friends who got a free ride. We've already decided that we will not be paying for our kids' college education even if we CAN afford it (highly unlikely, though). We feel so strongly that this mentality has created the selfishness that so permeates our culture & are determined that we don't want that for our kids. Thank you for being a voice of truth. Your kids will one day thank you!

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  112. Great post! So glad I came across this!

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  113. Incredible. Thank you, thank you for writing this. As the Lord presses on our hearts about adoption, your words give meaning to what I'll tell my son someday.

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  114. This is a touching, elegant, & beautiful post...anchored in a reality that so few people are these days. I plan on sharing this post with all my friends, especially those with daughters. (This trend of young girls, and even women, feeling they all need "boobs" to be somebody infuriates me, BTW) And my husband and I paid for our own college degrees at Texas A&M through student loans. We graduated in 1999 & 2000 and are almost finished paying them off. I didn't feel burdened or angered by this. I was raised to repsect the value of money and to be independent. So I feel like this is another accomplishment. Having the financial responsibility motivated me to do well, complete school, and fully appreciate the opportunity. So do I think your children will be angry with your choice? NOT A CHANCE!!!!

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  115. Very cool to read! My parents were actually on their final trip to Russia to adopt my brother the day I moved to college for my Freshman year. My parents had always wanted to pay for our education, but with the adoption and rising costs of education, they soon realized they couldn't do that. They sat us down that spring and told us that they would no longer be covering us financially for school. Of course, at first I was a bit shocked and wasn't sure what to do. I'm sure I was frustrated at the time. But that was also a teachable moment of trusting God. The private school I went to at the time was $36,000 a year. In adding up the loans, I made the decision to transfer to a state school closer to home. It was the best decision for me, and had my parents not done the right thing, I wouldn't have learned how to trust God and make the right decision too. And I wouldn't have traded my education for my brother any day!

    So kudos to you!

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  116. Such a great post!
    We have 3 teenagers......oldest is in his first year of college. He's not there on a savings account from hubby and I.
    (Ministry doesn't quite pay that well)
    He's there on scholarships (hard work) and financial aid and will eventually be digging into the world of loans (he's pre-med).
    He's actually home this weekend WORKING so he'll have money while at school.
    Our teen girls are looking now for jobs for the summer.
    Kids get it. If you raise them to get it.

    Don't worry...I bet they'll be just fine come college days.
    God is in charge. He blesses like nobody's business.
    We are surely poster chidren for that.

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  117. WOW!!!! Tons of great reminders all wrapped up in this beautiful letter! Thanks for sharing!

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  118. This is such a beautiful post and a blessing for me to read tonight. My friend just sent it to me and I was so encouraged. On so many levels, this is the heartbeat of what my husband and I long for our children and our family, and it was encouraging to read it so beautifully put.

    I was 4th of 9 children in a missionary family so there wasn't extra money for college. So far, 6 of us have been able to go to college and all of us are so thankful to have seen the Lord provide for us in that way.

    We have three stairstep girls right now(3 and under) and are praying for the Lord to lead us in adopting. it seems like it is forever in our path and we're just wanting to know when and how and where...
    All that to say, I am looking forward to reading more and hearing about your journey of bringing your little girl home.

    God bless you!
    Sara-Beth

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  119. Thank God. I'm not alone out there. At least you and it seems 135 other people see our responsibility as parents with the same eyes. I tell our kids all the time that I am not concerned nor responsible for their happiness. {Kennedy~9, Sydney~7, and our newest youngin-Joel, 3 from Bangkok, Thailand}.

    My husband and I are celebrating 10 years in youth ministry and I wish I had a nickel for every time I've told a youth parent to "parent!" God did not give these children to us to us to be their bestie. He loaned them to us to raise them in the admonition of the Lord. I couldn't care less if they are good people. My concern and goal is that they be Godly. After all, none are good, now are they? And happy? Well, they get told "no" around here about 90% of the time. I've had people look at me like I'm the worst mom in the world. But you know what? I don't have to stand before those people when I die. Nope. Not me. So why bow to them now?

    Oh, thank you for this. I've never come across your blog before but found it from my buddy, Rebecca. I'd love to link to it with your permission. Our blog is private for at least two more months {Thailand regulations}. Thanks, again. Now, I'm off to read this to my hubs. He will get such a kick out of it!

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  120. Amen! Not only was that a wonderful point, it was wonderfully put. Thank you!

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  121. Well said. We're adopting for the 4th time internationally (totaling 5 children at home), and it's not comfy. It's definitely not about having everything we want...it's about following God's calling in our lives. It's scary sometimes, but that's where faith comes in. God already knows the plan, we just have to follow!

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  122. Well said. We're adopting for the 4th time internationally (totaling 5 children at home), and it's not comfy. It's definitely not about having everything we want...it's about following God's calling in our lives. It's scary sometimes, but that's where faith comes in. God already knows the plan, we just have to follow!

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  123. If only all parents had this outlook on life - it would be a beautiful place!

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  124. My dear sweet sister in Christ...your children will not grow up and resent you...they will not be mad at you...instead they will rise up and call you blessed!!!!
    What an awesome post...I wish I had written it. Even so, it declares the same feelings that I have in my heart.
    Way to go Mom...your children are blessed to have such wise parents!!
    Keep up the awesome parenting...every day training those little ones to follow in those same footsteps with their own children. These are the attitudes and teachings that go from generation to generation and raise up great workers for the Lord!!!
    In HIS Mighty Grip~
    Shelley Swindler
    adoptive Mom to two angels, who do not have a college fund either!!! :-)

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  125. very beautiful! Thank you for sharing. A boob job=happiness indeed.

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  126. Love this! And your blog! ;0) My husband said recently, "Molly (13 year old daughter) doesn't think we love her sometimes because a lot of what we do doesn't FEEL like love." In fact I wrote a post about it recently.

    Their contentment and walk with God is what matters. And sometimes, as you said, that means being willing to endure and inflict some unhappiness.

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  127. My Sister-in-love shared your blog with me today and I LOVE this post! GO GIRL! Yes Yes yes we need more Mama's and Daddy's willing to stand up and teach their children what really matters! CONTENTMENT and HOLINESS are huge! Thank you for sharing your heart and keep up the great work! Being a Mama in today's world is not for wimps that's for sure! And your children will one day rise up and call you BLESSED! You can pretty much bank on that girl!
    Vonda Livingston

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  128. Beautiful. They are very lucky to have you as their mom.

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  129. Great post. Happiness is so overrated. Contentment and holiness.....great goals.

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  130. Such a great post. I love it and definitely agree with you. My husband and I both had to pay our own way through college and neither of us resents our parents. We're both also content with our lives today. I've never understood how parents think that giving their child everything does them any good.

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  131. You hit the nail on the head girl! Awesome post! Would love all my friends to read this!

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  132. What a powerful post! With this you are changing my life along with many others.

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  133. AMEN!!!!! I am soooo with you!!!!!! This is a great post....now to spread the word on what God wants & not what we "think we need" attitude!

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  134. Amen!! We hear so many reasons why we shouldn't be doing this! The truth is, I wouldn't miss this journey for all the happiness in the whole world! This adoption journey is true joy!

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  135. I'm thinking your kids might turn around and adopt some children of their own b/c their parents showed them the way! (and that would make you happy - but you don't need them to make you happy, you've found it.)
    Maria

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  136. Thank you friend- for this post. I am going through much the same, as people give comments about us adopting that leave bitterness in my mouth. This was a breath of fresh air and I thank God for your post. I know it will lift up many. Much love. In Him <><
    Amy
    www.legacyofmylove.blogspot.com

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  137. We've adopted two and when we mentioned adopting #3, my parents question was how were we going to afford college tuition? Um...the ignorance of it floored me. So, you mean to tell me you think if we can't afford college, then that child that we would otherwise adopt, is better off with no family and possibly no education, because we can't guarantee that we'll be able to pay for college? What does that matter to a child who has nothing? Ah! You've touched a nerve....love the sentiment of your post.

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  138. Oh how I loved this post!!! So true and well said. Kudos to you for speaking truth:)

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  139. A friend of mine linked to your blog post. As a new mom of a nine-month-old beautiful little girl, I loved reading this. As a new mom I want to do everything right, and I want to do everything I can for my baby girl and her future siblings. Your post is a perfect example of what is right - teach them to be content and teach them to be holy. I will strive to teach them. I look forward to following your blog.

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  140. I don't know if you read every one of these comments, but I HAD to comment on this. I've never read your blog before, I just found a link to this article on somebody's blog and had to read it because my mom always said "I don't want to make you happy, I want to make you holy". I needed to take a second to tell you, YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT.

    I'm in my 3rd year of college right now. I've paid my way. No loans. I worked. My parents taught we to be a hard worker from a very young age. I'm not even 20 yet and I own my own home, my own car, and paid for my own school. I can't tell you how good that feels. I know what its like to work 40+hours a week, go to school full time, take care of the home I own, and serve at church. My friends on the other hand, you know the ones who's parents try to make them happy by paying for their school and car, they have no life skills. I've watch my friends literally have a mental breakdown when they graduate from college and suddenly Real Life hits them. I guess they didn't know that nobody hands you a brand new car for free once your an adult. Not me though, my parents equipped me for real life. And I couldn't be more content with it.

    Oh and they saved enough money to take in several drug addicted or abused babies the last few years. By Thursday of next week they'll have two more little ones with extreme emotional issues. The house will be crazy and chaotic. My 14 year old brother will not have all the fancy things his peers have, but he'll know how to love orphans. He'll know he has parents who follow God's will even if it means giving up their house, money, and all their time to needy kids.

    I can't thank my parents enough for not making me happy. It was the best thing they could have done for me. Forget happiness, I'm joyful and content. And that comes from the Lord and from parents who knew happiness has no value.

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  141. Sounds like you have been reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas? or perhaps Sacred Marriage? The whole - God wants us to be holy, not happy thing. I agree with that! and LOVE Sacred Marriage.

    Although, I will say, my parents did not pay for my college, and due to the financial burden (working two jobs at times, not having food/gas money, money for books, etc) it placed on me and extra stress etc in college, I will be doing everything in my power that I possibly can to help my kids through college. I might not be able to, but if I can, I definitely want to pay for it.

    Sure, they will have to meet their end of the deal - maintaining certain grades, applying for scholarships, etc. - it's no free ride. No grades, or not going to class, and I don't pay. College classes are stressful enough without worrying about how to pay for them. I don't want them to start their married lives $40K in debt like I had to.

    Am I content and trusting the Lord for my provision in my current state? Absolutely. Are we living on a super tight budget to try to get out of debt because we know the "borrower is slave to the lender"? You betcha. It does feel like being a slave, though. But, the Lord always provides, and we are just a few years behind our other friends in hoping for a home and kids because of it. But we have learned lessons through it all. And our contentment is not in "things".

    Would I trade it so that my parents had paid? Absolutely 100%. Is that the ideal situation for every person? No - everyone's different. But for me, I'm going to try to help them - it will likely be the last thing I can do before they are our on their own. A fresh start is nice sometimes, I think.

    Anyway, sorry for the length. I was just interested to see that my viewpoint seemed to be different than most people's. I'm sure your children will do just fine since you are teaching them to seek first the kingdom. (-:

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~Kathryn

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  142. Loved this!!!! Thank you for speaking the truth! I will be posting a link to this on my blog, if that's okay! I am so suprised by how many Believers just want their children to be happy and don't think about the long term effects and aren't concerned with their holiness! Thank you for wording it all so nicely!

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  143. You go, girl! I want the same for my kiddos! And, I paid for school with student loans & worked by butt off all the way through college (& finished in 3 years) & came out way farther ahead than all of my friends who were spoon fed from mommy & daddy...& I'm not bitter...I actually thank my mom all the time for doing it the way she did! Speak it, sister!

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  144. You go, girl! I want the same for my kiddos! And, I paid for school with student loans & worked by butt off all the way through college (& finished in 3 years) & came out way farther ahead than all of my friends who were spoon fed from mommy & daddy...& I'm not bitter...I actually thank my mom all the time for doing it the way she did! Speak it, sister!

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  145. Yes yes yes yes YES! Amen, sister! (I thought you would enjoy the fact that when I shared this on Facebook, my confirmation password was "kooky ideas"! :) I'm kooky right along with ya!

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  146. So, so beautiful. And while I admit to adopting my own children out of selfish desire to be a mom rather than pure desire to help orphans (bonus, though), I consider many of the methods I use to make their lives miserable to be some of my best parenting.

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  147. a friend of mine {who is in the midst of adoption process} linked to you on fb, which is what brought me here. wonderful post. my husband and i always say it's not our jobs to be their friends {just yet}; it's to be their parents and raise them 'right'. i think it's wonderful that you adopted (and are adopting?). thanks for voicing this... :)

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  148. I am a current college student and i just wanted to let you know this post was beautiful. Though you may not know it now, I doubt youre children will resent you staring your heart and home with another child. I wanted to share with you that my parents are unable to fund my eucation. While it was a huge dissapointment at first, I have really come to appreciate not having it all handed to me. It has made me take out loans and start paying "grown up" bills much sooner than expected, but I also think it is teaching me many lessons that my classes alone would not. Although I appreciate when they are able to help me with the money, I have come to rely on their love and listening ear for support more than money which continues to build our relationship. I hope your children reach a similar appreciation. :)

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  149. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  150. Awesome post! Thank you for writing it and sharing. I hope many more people read it!

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  151. Refreshing. It's so hard to find Moms with their hearts focused on the right places. THANK YOU for this.

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  152. my mom and dad "stole" my college fund, and i LOVE them immensely anyway. there is true wisdom in this post. i pray your children, as well as my own, will understand just what you've written. and thanks!

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  153. What kind of people do you interact with that they are lecturing you about not being able to pay for college as the reason not to have a child or adopt a child?

    Seriously.

    Obviously you can afford to feed them and clothe them and give them a life without need. They won't be starving or needy.
    But most importantly, they won't be without love.

    It's much worse to have a child in an orphanage or children's home or in a home with parents or family that don't really want them and to feel unloved, than it is for a kid to go without college or to (gasp) have to pay for it themselves like most americans.

    Are there really people who lecture others on family size for college savings.
    I could understand trying to lecture family planning to someone who can't afford to feed their kids on their own, but over college?

    I am stunned. College is not a basic need or a human need. It is a construct of our society and it doesn't even equal success. I know plenty of college grads who are useless and plenty of people who never finished who are very successful.

    There are many more things to worry about when it comes to helping your kids become successful adults.

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  154. My wife sent me the link. Loved it! Never believed in parents paying for their kids education (helping yes, all of it no). Kids need to work for it to appreciate it. But that really isn't the topic of the post. Contentment, Holiness, and raising them for God. Fantastic, keep up the good work...

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  155. beautiful. shared link on facebook

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  156. AMEN! Thank you for letting God speak through you. we are a family of 5 in a tiny home , with a tiny job, and a tiny car trying to adopt a precious girl from Haiti by the power of our GREAT God. And we struggle to get here here and are criticized you post was a blessing to read today. Thank you my Sister!

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  157. I took out lots of loans to get through school. Even had to switch schools when they took away some grants in order to get my mom to pay more and she couldn't. I am 32 and still paying for it. But you know what...I NEVER EVER resented my mom for not being able to pay. And college was still ALOT of fun. Even with a job and no money...one of the best times of my life. And I speak the truth...as I sat next to those kids who's mommys and daddys did pay their way...I cared alot more and did alot better. So to those people who tell you other wise...they just don't get it.

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  158. Nicely stated.

    I've said exactly the same things to my children on numerous occasions.

    Many of them are in high school and college now and I think they finally get it. And they understand it perfectly when their two little sisters, both adopted out of understaffed orphanages jump into their arms and squeal with glee I think they are all okay with their old parents and their old fashioned ways.

    And my boys have stopped telling me I'm going to win the Meanest Mom contest as well!

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  159. hmmm pretty darn sure I don't want mine ot be happy either!
    Prayers comin' your way!

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  160. absolutely God inspired. Crying my eyes out as I read the words on a computer screen that my heart feels every day. Just last week my husband had been reading a book by Chip Ingram on parenting and told me the same thing: Our goal as parents is not for our children to be Happy, it is for them to be Holy.
    Thank you for inspiring me. I am going to print this out, highlight it & put in above my desk (after I forward it to everyone I know!).
    Love to you my sister,
    Robyn

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  161. This is inspiring. Thank you, and praise God for this!

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  162. I found you through another blog that linked to this. And I so agree! What a great, inspiring post!

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  163. I love this....I am totally bawling over this....wonderful!

    I have 5 children, 4 of them adopted. I know that God has a plan for each of them and I know that where they are now, in our home with these siblings...this is part of HIS plan for my children! Thank you for these beautiful thoughts!

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  164. Beautiful! Its so nice to see a parent being honest that Happines is not their goal God fearing children is their goal. Good luck with your adoption and i know your children wll never recent you for the choices you make!

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  165. Beautiful! Its so nice to see a parent being honest that Happines is not their goal God fearing children is their goal. Good luck with your adoption and i know your children wll never recent you for the choices you make!

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  166. All parents of today's world need to read this and bury it in their hearts. Bless yours!

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  167. Excellent post. Blessings for sharing. I would like to post a link to your story and encourage all mommas and daddies to read it and give heed to the heartfelt message of it.

    Jean Stockdale

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  168. WOW. I've never been to your blog before, but a friend of mine pointed this post out to me. I hope it's okay, I copied and pasted it on mine (and gave you credit).

    I want to print this and frame it on my wall. My heart exactly! We are in the homestretch of our ethiopian adoption (hopefully) and have two boys already. Thank you, Thank you Thank you for sharing. I am adding your blog to those I follow!

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  169. Missy,

    I ran across your page from another and wanted to say, "Thank You!"

    Thank you for knowing and living the Word of God, especially in your children's lives.

    This world does not understand that the things of this world don't matter at all...and that all of it belongs to our Lord and Savior.

    Thank you for helping me humble myself and second-guess my priorities.

    I look forward to looking back at you previous posts and getting to know your family more.

    I'm praying for your adoption journey...

    In Christ,
    Christie
    http://satisfactionthroughchrist.blogspot.com

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  170. What an awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. :)

    Amy

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  171. I found this post through a friend and it was so wonderful I promptly shared it with others. I hope you can forgive my generosity with your thoughts! Thank you for sharing this--I hope to re-read it many times.

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  172. My parents paid for most of my college education, but you know what? I didn't appreciate it nearly like the ones who had to pay for it themselves. We are not adopting, but we still aren't going to be able to pay for much of our kids' education. But like you, I am not worried about it. They are old enough to understand, and they are already preparing to find every scholarship and grant possible and then work their tails off to make it through. I loved every word of your blog, and I'm sending it to my kids because it is EXACTLY the message I have been trying to say for years! It applies to so much more than college education, too. (No boob jobs for my daughter either!) Thanx so much for sharing!

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  173. I followed a link here and am so glad I did. Thank you for sharing this. I'm glad you left permission to share, I do want to post this on my blog, but I will link it to you!

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  174. Amen sister! Thank you. I shared a link to your blog!

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  175. words can't express how i feel about this post!! what an amazing love God has given us and grace to enable us to raise children!! your doing an excellent job by the sounds of this!!

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  176. "Ditto!" My sentiments, exactly! Thanks for writing this.

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  177. Thank you, sister, for writing this! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

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