In response to the "thank you for being bold". You are welcome, but you can thank God on that one. We never felt bold. Scared, yes. Bold, not so much! Life decisions are never easy.
About feeling the pressure from others. Why, oh why, do we allow ourselves to do that? I mean, really. Especially from relatives. Yes, one of my biggest fears when we finally made the decision to let Ashton come home was how our own parents would react. I had hinted around of the possibility, but once the decision was really made I told them and then held my breathe waiting for the explosion. Guess what? It did not happen. They were loving, supportive and kind. (Really no surprise if you know our parents.) But, you know what? Even if that had not been the reaction, so what? I would have listened to their opinions and moved on. They are wise parents but they are not Ashton's parents. Lesson here - trust that you are a good and capable parent. It is sad when people do not support us but it is not life changing.
Stay at home daughters. Wow, this is a subject I am still exploring. As I mentioned, Ashton had read many books on this subject and then I had asked her to stop. I though they were filling her head with too many things contrary to what we, as her parents, believed. Really what they were doing was fanning a flame that God had put in her heart. Some would say that she is not a "real" stay at home daughter since she is continuing her education, but she has decided to stay home under our roof, care, and love until God sees fit to provide someone else to provide those things for her. For you stay at home girls out there, I applaud you for going against the norm. There should NEVER be anything shameful about living with your parents until you are married, if that is what God wills.
College is not for everyone. Remember, this is a new thought for me and I am still working on what that looks like for our family. Truth be known, Ashton would probably just as soon be done and continue her sewing business, but she is so close to earning her degree that we all feel like she needs to finish. BUT, college is not for everyone. Yes, we need doctors and lawyers and teachers and nurses. But we also need a good many of professionals who need to get their training another way. Many mechanics and electricians and barbers and seamstresses need vocational training and experience. Let's be careful as a society to not box our kids in. Let's be bold and allow them to explore their interests and then find the best way to send them out their successfully.
There is more that one way to get a degree if you want one. We have been impressed with online learning from day one. Lots of colleges offer classes. Just know that online classes and online degrees are two different things. Do your research. Online school can be a cheaper and faster way to get a degree, but online is not meant for everyone. Know what you want and then go get it.
To the young girls who have messaged me about being at college and wanting to not be. I am praying for each and every one of you. I encourage you to sit down with your parents and pray for wisdom and guidance. Shut out the world's ideas for you, write down your goals and then decide how to best accomplish them.
To the moms that have shared their stories about going off to college and then coming home. Thank you for reminding me that the best job I could ever have is to be a wife and mom. If that is what my daughter desires, how could I not want that for her?
For you young men who are struggling with the same college decisions - may The Lord lead you! Oh, how hard it must be when you are to become, in all likelihood, the head of a household and main breadwinner. I want that for my sons. I want them to be able to support a wife who does not have to work if that is her desire. I also want my boys to be happy. It is a fine line and I have to trust that The Lord will reveal it in our lives and in yours.
To my sweet daughter - thank you for being the young woman God made you. Thank you for your patience, honesty, love and forgiveness as we walked this path. You are going to do great things and dad and I are proud of you. One day we will look back on this and laugh, right? ;)
And one last thing. Two really, that we learned through this experience. If you are struggling - please reach out to others! Several people have commented to Ashton that they did not know she was lonely and not particularly happy. Let's face it, those are not just general discussions you have randomly. Don't be afraid to have deep conversations and ask hard questions. People can only help if they know there is a problem. Ask for help and do not be afraid to share how you feel.
Also, if someone means a lot to you, if you think they are great, or if you admire them, whatever, tell them now. People need to hear those things now. I told my kids a few weeks ago that when people die is not the time to tell them how great they are or how much you loved and admired them. Too late, friends. I know I am a words of affirmation kind of gal, but I do not think that there is one person out there that does not need to hear how much they matter. How much they mean to you. How much you care. Later may be too late. Tell them NOW!
So with that... you, friends, matter to us! Your comments are appreciated. Your prayers are precious. And your friendship is treasured. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are privileged to be on this journey with you.
If we can pray for you, let us know. We KNOW that these are heavy decisions and it would be our privilege to cover you in prayer.
Happy and thankful to again be counting to six!