Monday, July 19, 2010

on parenthood

I've recently become a huge Donald Miller fan. His writing is witty and deep and refreshing. My first Miller book was his newest one, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I wish the title wasn't so long and weird because it feels awkward to talk about it, but in any case, I absolutely loved this book. Miller talks about the elements that make a good story and how these same elements relate to having a good story in life. It's a really relevant topic for me because I feel like I'm at [yet another] transitional phase. I'm "just waitressing" as I've been putting it to people who ask what I'm up to. I don't know what I want to do in the longterm sense. I'd be honest and tell you that I want to be a writer, but for me to say that I want to be the next Donald Miller is a bit like saying I want to be the next Miley Cyrus. It's a lofty dream, I know. So though I'm a bit of a wanderer right now, I can tell you one thing for sure: I want to live a good story.

I want to live a good story that is deep and meaningful. I want my story to have faith and love and laughter and courage. I want my story to show the people around me that there is something more worth living for because I believe that how we live our lives shows the people around us what has value and what doesn't.

And that's where parenting comes in... I'm definitely not ready to be a mother yet, so sometimes I think about what I could be doing now to learn how to be a good mother. I thought about going to visit my friend Allie's baby so I could learn to change a diaper. And I should probably learn to cook something other than pasta. And get one of those credit cards with reward points for my kids' college funds; you can't start saving too early!

I could do all those things, but when it comes down to it, I think the best way to prepare for giving my future children the best life is to live a good story myself. I want my children to live great stories, where they love deeply and go for their dreams and put all their faith in Jesus. And the best way to teach them how to do that is to do the same for my own life.

I once heard that the best thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse well. Loving your spouse well shows your children unconditional, sacrificial, and [dare I say?] mutually submissive love. It's showing your children a good story from which they can learn what has value, what is worth dying for, and what isn't.

Donald Miller talks about a friend of his who found out his teenage daughter was dating a bad boy and smoking pot and such. The dad yelled, but it didn't change his daughter. What finally made the difference was her family creating a better story for her and inviting her into it. They decided to fund the building of an orphanage in Mexico, and the daughter got really into it and even wanted to go to Mexico and meet some of the kids they were trying to help. They created a better story for their family to live, and their daughter's life was transformed because she had a better role to play in life. Praise God!

So yeah, I think the best and most loving thing I can be doing right now for my future children is to live a good story--a passionate story from which others can see the glory of God shining through. I want to grow closer to God and value the things that He values. I want to learn to love well and deepen my relationships with those around me, and I want to laugh a lot. I want to be brave and take chances and not be afraid of making a complete fool out of myself. And in doing so, my children will see an example of a great story, and they will be inspired to live, laugh, and love in their lives with full appreciation of God's gifts and the chance to take part in the beauty that God has created.

I might be "just waitressing" at the moment, but there's so much more that God has for me during this period of my life, and I'm excited [and scared] about it! I intend to live my story full of romantic intrigues and daring swordfights so that someday I can tell my children all about being a 23 year old.