Friday, April 22, 2011

This Is It: 19...The "Ideal" Age

The Three Taylors: 8th birthday, 14th birthday, and 19th birthday.



Dear Taylor, age 7:

Well, this is it.


19-years old. You so looked forward to this moment in time with all the eager aspirations of a young girl with big dreams. Was this how you imagined it would be? Am I who you wanted to be?

Already I know I'm not. Oh, yes, I know you'd like how I turned out appearance-wise, with my layered hair and (kind-of) stylish clothes. You would follow me around, trying to emulate my every move. But, one of the reasons you so desired this age is the fact I'd be far away from home, living on a college campus, filling my mind with books, boys, and independence. And the truth is, Not only am I not enrolled at any college, but I am still living at home on top of it all. Are you disappointed?


I can see your big blue eyes looking up at my now 5' 6 1/4" frame, meeting the gaze of my identical eyes, all your childish expectations dashed to the ground. I can hear your thoughts, "How will I become that famous artist I've always longed to be? How can I be a dance teacher without going to college? How will I meet a husband, anyway?" (Pretty "grown-up" femininistic dreams for only a seven year old, huh?)

Oh, little heart, there is so much more! Listen to me now: I am happier than I'd ever be at a campus somewhere. And I am that artist you wanted to be, but maybe not how you expected. As for the husband part...keep reading.

I remember the picture you cut out and taped into one of your school folders years ago. It was picture of a college graduate with luscious blonde hair, proudly holding her diploma and casting a beautiful smile into the camera. You showed it to your mother, saying, "That's what I want to look like some day." That was your ideal.

There are no college diplomas in sight for me, for I have no intention of getting a college education. I have been shown through God's Word and other godly sources that it is not my "curse", so to speak, to be the "breadwinner" for my family. God has greater things in store for me as a woman. God has lead me to a different path, showing me there is no need to spend four plus years at an university away from my family, learning things I don't really need to know, immersed in an atmosphere that is typically hostile to God and all my beliefs, surrounded by influences and peers that would tempt me into an ungodly lifestyle, and I do not need to spend thousands of dollars to have a piece of paper that will not even guarantee my future. It is not my role as a young woman to engage in a career, but rather focus on preparing for my future home and family. And in this period of my life, I need my home and family more than ever. God instilled in me, as He has in women everywhere, the desire to be a helpmeet to my future husband, to be his companion through the storms and battles of life, to help manage his home and further his business, ministry or vision, to raise the next generation of warriors for the Kingdom...and a college degree cannot prepare me for this amazing challenge.

By choosing to stay at home after my highschool graduation in August of 2010, I have the opportunity to practice the skills I will need to live with my husband and raise children. By learning to submit to my parents' decisions, I practice for the time when my husband makes final decisions for our family. By learning to bite my tongue when hurtful words want to fly from my mouth, I am practicing self-control for when I'd be tempted to spew at my husband and children when I feel my "rights" are offended. By learning to be patient with my younger siblings and investing in their lives, I am practicing for when I have the precious responsibility of raising my own children. When assisting in tasks around our home, I am learning home management and practical skills I will use throughout my life. All this I cannot learn at a college.

There is a saying which goes, "If you can get along with your family, you can get along with anyone in the world." And that's exactly what I'm learning. I am experiencing all sorts of personalities, abilities, and character traits. I have watched eight other people deal with conflict and joys, difficulties and fears, and have observed how I get along with people as well. (People have doubts about our homeschool "socialization"...let me assure them: there is no cause for worry!)

Okay, I have presented a small case for staying at home, but I'm certain the question still rises in your mind: "What about falling in love with a boy from college?"

A while ago a member from our church and I somehow got into a slightly heated conversation about this subject. "But you need to go to college to get an education! There is no other way to make it in the world!" she kept saying in a forceful voice. I was unmovable. Then she tried a different technique. "My daughter met her husband at college. How are you going to meet a husband?" I laughed inwardly. Sometime later, my pastor also asked in a playful tone and with a twinkle in his eye when discussing my upcoming graduation, "You aren't even going to college to get a MRS degree?"

Yes, even you, Taylor, at a young age, were dreaming of when a charming, heroic young man would save you from the evil bullies on the college campus, and you'd go on long walks and fall in love. (Strangely enough, marriage was never part of the story.)

As I type, the glitter on my left ring finger catches my eye, and I reminded myself, once again, of the day six years ago when I said to my mother, "I am choosing to remain pure for my future husband." The silver band, engraved with a heart, key, and graceful swirls, reminds me of this commitment. And, I am reminded of all the impure thoughts and choices I have made since that decision as well. Oh, how the blush of shame creeps up my face. I know how fickle my heart is, and I am sorry for my struggles with wrong thoughts. But I am getting ahead of myself...


I have never dated (probably much to the chagrin of you, seven-year old Taylor), and am saving all my dates for my future husband. I have been shown the biblical idea of courtship and purity. I am waiting for my future husband. "But how will you meet your husband?" I don't know...I'll leave that up to my "Match-maker": God, my Heavenly Father! There are times I have wanted to take the pen from His omniscient hand and add my own details, but I am learning to entrust it to Him. I have seen the heartbreak of wrenching the pen from God (in fact, I am listening to the story of a young woman who is entering great heartache, foolishness, and sin at this moment), and I do not want that for myself. God's ways are always best, and I know I would mess it all up, and I have already complicated matters.


I realize you may have many more questions, and feel free to talk to me about them. I could point you directly to the Bible and show you were in God's Word I have derived these stands. Please, don't feel disappointed in me and my choices. I am so happy with my decisions and very fulfilled here at home with my family. I am looking forward to what God has in store. I am not disappointed in who I've become (meaning the choices I have made).


Yes, I am now 19 - the ideal age in your mind. And yes, whatever age I am is the ideal age. And now, to 14-year old Taylor who thought 19 was the earliest age I'd be engaged and married by...so far, no Prince Charming is in sight, and that's fine with me - I have so much learning to accomplish before he shows up!

Lacheln!
Taylor, age 19

34 comments:

yankeegospelgirl said...

That's a very good letter. I'm blessed to be able to live at home and go to college, because my father teaches for a living! I would never want to have the "college experience" though. Dorm life is not only very expensive, it can be so toxic for a Christian young person.

Amy W. said...

Taylor!
I LOVE this!!! I love how you wrote it and what you wrote. :) I especially love what you wrote about college and how being at home with your family is the best place to prepare for being a wife and mother! My thoughts exactly! I heartily agree! :)

Happy 19th! :)
Blessings!
~Amy

Miss Taylor said...

*YGG: I agree...I know of young people (personally and through third-person stories) who have entered into the college setting and had their Christian morals and worldviews challenged, and even compromised. And yes, most "older" people pressure the young people to get the "college experience". I don't want it, I don't need it, so I chose to avoid it! :)

*Amy: Glad you liked it! :) I've been meaning to write about these subjects for a long time, and my thoughts aren't completely on paper...er...typed up yet! And, yes, home is the best environment to prepare for my future home, especially since I have some very grace-filled, loving, and will-not-hesitate-to-rebuke parents and siblings to practice with! Hee-hee! ;) I'm happy we have so much in common!

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Alyssa Rose said...

Amen, Taylor! Keep trusting the LORD! In His time, in His perfect time, the Lord will bring forth His beautiful plan for your life! Day by day He is making you into the beautiful woman of His heart!

May the Lord bless your 19th year!

With LOVE,
Alyssa Rose

Kate said...

Happy belated birthday, Miss Taylor! On the eve of turning twenty, I've done some similar reflecting. When I was ten or eleven, I'd always imagined being married by twenty, but the Lord has had different plans for me, and I am so thankful for His loving guidance. Following His perfect will always brings blessings, and I wouldn't trade the past few years for anything!

Blessings,
Kate O.

Ps. 37:3-5

Miss Taylor said...

*Alyssa: I am trying to trust in God and surrender my expectations to Him; it's definitely a daily thing! Thanks for your sweet encouragement; I appreciate it! Love ya!

Kate: Happy (early) birthday to you as well! 20...don't you feel old? ;) Yes, following the Lord is truly a blessed journey; through all the trials and joys, I have learned a lot by walking with Him...and I'm still learning! That's funny that you thought you'd be married by 20 as well; I guess little girls like to dream big! :)

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Hannah said...

Happy (very belated) Birthday, Taylor! Better late than never, right?! :-) I hope you had a wonderful day! 19 seems so young . . . since I'm turning 21 in August. lol :-) Time flies faster as you get older, it seems! May God bless you richly as you serve Him faithfully!

Miss Taylor said...

*Hannah: Thank you! No, 19 is SO OLD! (But then again, I thought 18 was old...) But I guess compared to your "ancient" age, I'm just a young whippersnapper! :) And yes, time DOES fly faster as I grow older (it gets away from me a lot quicker too!). ;)

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Bonnie said...

Hi Taylor, your blog has been listed at www.youngchristianbloggers.blogspot.com :)

Miss Taylor said...

*Bonnie: Thank you so much for the link! Blessings on your outreach! :)

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Anonymous said...

Well how many working moms are the sole breadwinner anyways? SO many of us are dual income! Why is it so EVIL to provide for your family? To be able to have a skill, JUST IN CASE?

Miss Taylor said...

Miss Taylor said...
*Anonymous: I acknowledge the economy is very unstable, and it is an extremely difficult time in our nation's history to provide financially for one's family. I know firsthand, for my own father has been unemployed for almost 10 months and I have witnessed many similar circumstances.

But, while our family has not had a steady income with neither my father or my mother working (my mom has been a stay-at-home mom for about 11 years), God has provided EVERY single one of our needs. Have there been times when we have wondered if there'd be enough money to pay the mortgage? Yes. Have there been times when the budget doesn't make sense and there is little money in the account? Yes. But God has come through each time; He has provided for and blessed us - blessed my parents for their decision, for taking the leap of faith...especially my mom's decision to come home and fulfill her biblical role as a wife and mother.

The main responsibility of providing for the family is laid upon men in Genesis 3 in the form of the curse God gave (difficulty in providing). The woman's curse (Genesis 3:16) is pain in childbirth; never in Scripture do we find women providing for themselves or their family. The Lord has always provided masculine protection and provision for women.

As long as you are in the Biblical bounds, there are ways you can help your family's financial situation. For instance, I love graphic/website designing and have my own home business, but it is under my father's authority, and someday will be under my husband's. It is not to take precedence over the financial support of my future husband's income, as he is to be the main "breadwinner" - it rather can complement his income (i.e. the Proverbs 31 woman) - nor should it ever take precedence over my family (currently parents and siblings, Lord-willing somday a husband and children) and my responsibility as the homemaker.

"JUST IN CASE" - just in case what? Just in case God won't provide? Consider this: how big is your God? Can you trust Him to provide, even if you don't have a "college degree", a job, or a steady income? You can never go wrong by taking the step of faith, relying upon the Lord to provide. If you follow His ways (for example, by becoming a "stay-at-home" mom and fulfilling God's role/plan for women), you will never be sorry. Can surrendering our securities, our will, our plans be difficult and sometimes scary? Yes, but there is never a more blessed path than surrender.

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

breakingsilence said...

As a Christian female who is a senior in college, I must respectfully disagree with your views on higher education. As I look back on my college career so far, I find that my belief in Jesus has gotten STRONGER since I started attending my university. I have also had many opportunities to talk about my faith and beliefs with classmates AND professors! I never "force" the topic; I just let it come up in normal conversation.
I would strongly encourage you to re-consider your views on college. You should take a couple of classes at a local community college to get a better idea of what college is all about! And you might learn something new in the process!

Miss Taylor said...

*breakingsilence: Just last evening, I had two conversations with two different individuals, and both shared the heartbreak of watching college (even Christian college) slowly, subtly, but surely demise and compromise their children's faith...and they both confirmed I was making the right choice by purposely choosing to avoid the influences of the college setting.

Have there been good college experiences? Yes. Have there been opportunities for the Gospel to be spread a primarily hostile campus through the influence of believing students? Yes. But I have heard more solemn warnings than positive encouragement, and have seen too many lives and faiths corrupted by the college experience.

"You can't jump into a pig sty wearing a white suit without getting some mud on your clothing" was quote I heard, and I think applies itself well to the subject.

Besides the above things I've mentioned, I do not really have a need for college; I have nothing to justify a "college experience". There are so many less expensive ways to learn about things I am interested in (i.e. graphic designing, art, writing) without having the debt of $20,000 to pay off for many years...and learning about things which really do not pertain to my field of interest.

And, if my purpose is not be a "career woman", but to be helpmeet to my husband and a mother to my children, then truly, college would be a poor waste of my time.

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Daniel J. Mount said...

A friend put it this way:

There are 100 children standing on the side of an interstate highway during rush hour. The referee gives the command to run across. Seventy make it to the other side alive.

Then, the next day, perhaps it's seventy-one. Perhaps it's sixty-nine on the third day, and eighty on the fourth.

There comes a time when we need to stop asking, "How do we make the interstate experience safer?" and "How do we improve the survival rate?"

There comes a time when we need to step back and ask, "Should we be making our children run across that interstate in the first place?"

Miss Taylor said...

Absolutely. Awesome quote, Daniel! The most tragic part about the analogy is that it is so terribly true.

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Daniel J. Mount said...

I can't take credit!

breakingsilence said...

I appreciate your response and the statement that you don't feel college is for YOU. There are plenty of people who don't need to go to college, and I totally respect that!

However, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't make generalizations about college being bad for everyone. I did a lot of praying before I entered my current university. I believe God called ME to attend college. I've had many opportunities to share my faith and belief in God with classmates and professors. And they've been open to what I have to say.

Like I stated above, God calls people to do different things. He calls some people to go to college, and He calls others to stay at home. There's nothing wrong with either option.
Just my $.02. I'm 3 years older than you, so take it for what it's worth, haha! :)

Miss Taylor said...

Out of curiousity, breakingsilence...what are your reasons for attending college, if I may ask?

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

breakingsilence said...

Of course you may ask! I don't mind sharing. This might get kind of long, though, just a warning! ;)

I didn't just jump in to college without thinking about it. I graduated high school a year early (yay homeschooling!) and took a semester off to consider my options. (Being a SAHD was/is not an option for multiple reasons that I would rather not get into. I don't want to start a debate, lol!) I eventually decided to attend a local community college to earn my AA. My part-time job at the time had a tuition reimbursement program that would cover 80% of my expenses. Community colleges are not that expensive in my state, so coming up with the other 20% was not that hard for me. In the interest of full disclosure, I expected to be married by the time I finished my AA. My parents were married young, so I assumed that I would be as well!

During my freshman year of college, I met a guy at a Bible study that I thought I would end up marrying. He met my parents, and they really liked him. Unfortunately, he walked away from God, but that's another story that I don't want to go into. Obviously, I didn't end up marrying him, lol!

As I got closer to finishing my AA, I started considering whether to go on and get my bachelor's degree or if I should find a job right after getting my AA. During the time I was praying about it, I started hearing about a certain university within 10 minutes of my house that was ranked as one of the best for my major. My parents and I did some research on it, and we liked what we found, except for the cost. It's not super expensive, but it is somewhat pricey. I remember praying one night, "God, if You want me to go to this university, then please provide me with the money, because I can't afford this on my own!"

Guess what? He did. The university is pricey, but they have a very generous Financial Aid department if you're a good student. My tuition and book costs were covered in full for all of last year, and they will be fully covered again this year.

I don't want you to think that no thought/prayer went into my decision to go to college. You have no idea how much prayer went into my decision.

So, why did I choose to go to college, you ask? Because that's where God led me.

Again, this is just my $.02.

Miss Taylor said...

Thank you for sharing, breakingsilence! (Sorry for not responding sooner!) :) Yes, there are positive college experiences, and it seems as this may be the case in your situation.

Still, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend college to Christian young people. "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial." (1st Corinthians 6:12a) I have seen too many lives shipwrecked for the sake of a college education, and I for one will be a lighthouse of warning to those who are consider the route of college. Are there times and places for "higher education"? Yes, but never at the cost of one's faith.

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

breakingsilence said...

Don't worry about not responding sooner! I have had a super busy week as well. I'm looking forward to the weekend! :)

I understand 100% where you're coming from. When you've seen something (like college) cause a negative impact in people's lives, it makes you more likely to speak against it.

My point with this whole thing is that people need to seek God and follow His path for their lives, whether it's choosing to stay home (as you have done) or going on to higher education (as I have done).

I'm sure we both agree that praying and seeking God's will for our lives is the best thing we could possibly do. ;)

I really appreciate your responses. Have a great rest of the week! :)

Miss Taylor said...

breakingsilence: "...people need to seek God and follow His path for their lives"...Absolutely, I wholeheartedly agree with you! It is definitely best to seek what the Lord has store for our lives - for He ALWAYS has the better plan (I've found that out though experience!).

Hey, just curious (if you can't tell, I'm a curious person!), how did you find my blog? It's always fun to hear how others discover my blog. :)

Thanks for visiting. You have a wonderful, God-blessed weekend too! :-D

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

breakingsilence said...

"...It is definitely best to seek what the Lord has store for our lives - for He ALWAYS has the better plan!"

Amen to that!!

As to where I found your blog... I was browsing randomly last week, and I think another website/blog linked to you, but I don't remember which one! Haha!

Daniel J. Mount said...

God can bless despite life choices that are not His ideal.

The presence of what we would view as God's blessings doesn't prove that we are pursuing His ideal for our lives. And, oddly, enough, there is also some truth to the converse: We can be pursuing God's best for our lives, and He can permit us to go through a trial anyhow.

Let me give a different example: I have known people whom God has blessed in one way or another after a divorce. But that doesn't mean that divorce was God's ideal for their lives (after He says that He hates it!)

We cannot prove God's will from anecdotes from life experiences.

Miss Taylor said...

Thank you, Daniel, for saying what I didn't know quite how to say.

"The presence of what we would view as God's blessings doesn't prove that we are pursuing His ideal for our lives." Exactly right. Amen!

Thanks. :)

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

breakingsilence said...

This will likely be my last comment on this post.

God's path is not the same for everyone. That would be boring!! :p God may call some girls to stay at home, while others may be called to higher education. The key is to pray and seek His perfect will for your life.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on the subject of college. I respect your opinion, and I assume you respect mine as well. Different opinions make life interesting! ;)

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Miss Taylor said...

Yes, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. :)

I'm not out to "judge" or belittle you or anyone else who chooses college, so please don't let it seem that way. I am just presenting a biblical case for avoiding the college experience and what God has shown me and others. :)

But yes, above all, to seek and follow the Lord's will for our lives is the ultimate goal for every situation and decision.

Blessings!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Liz said...

Taylor,

You said you don't intent to go to college and that being home with family is the best place to be, I think otherwise.

What if you stayed single your whole life. You can't expect your parents to provide for you all the time.

I know that many of us DO get married, but if you don't, you want to be ready.

Some colleges are really bad but there are some places to go that are really helpful.

Oh, and if you're interested in a neat Bible college that is all about learning to love the Lord, etc, follow this link. This Bible school is all about getting to know Jesus. They have 1 hour meditation times twice a day. All the women dress wearing skirts, etc. (And: they play bluegrass music, like someone else I know :) ) They just started allowing young ladies to attend a year and a half ago.

Here's the link:http://ati.iblp.org/ati/students/opportunities/imi/overview/

Check it out. They don't view it as a "College" but I find it interesting. half my siblings have gone there!

Liz said...

Oh yeah, sorry Taylor,

The brochure on the link will say "young men" but they really are allowing young women now too.

And, I apologize if I sounded a little too rough in my last comment, I do believe that some secular colleges aren't very nice, but you don't HAVE to go to college. My bros are getting college education from home. :) They've been doing lots of CLEP tests, etc.

Thanks

Miss Taylor said...

Liz:

What if you stayed single your whole life. You can't expect your parents to provide for you all the time.

When my mom read your comment, she said, "Why wouldn't we provide for you all the time?" :)

Obviously, there will come the day when my parents will move on to a better Home (Heaven!) :( , but I will trust the Lord to provide for me if I would be still at home with them.

And yes, I have heard of good experiences at colleges/Bible schools, but I really do not have a need for higher education of that sort, and chose to even avoid it because of the numerous negative reports I have heard.

If, for some reason, I needed some special education for certain topic, I could perhaps justify a course specifically pertaining to that study, but otherwise, I don't have any desire or necessity for college.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! And, no offense was taken! :)

Liz said...

Sorry,

Just when I look at the way my grandparents are, they wouldn't have the means to provide for taking care of anymore. Maybe I'm just looking at my situation - not everyone's

Rachelle said...

Such a beautiful, good, lovely letter. Ahhh, yes, I can remember dreaming of this as the "ideal" age when I was younger...books, boys filling my mind on a campus somewhere! Exactly! :) Well, I am attending college, but I'm still living at home, so the "ideal" has been exchanged for the "real" and "God-willed." Thank Him!

Taylor Garms said...

Rachelle: Thanks! Our ideals are often not God's greater plan for our lives, as you mentioned. I look back on my life and see how God's hand has directed me and my family onto paths we wouldn't have originally intended to travel on, but they have certainly been the better paths! :)

I enjoyed perusing your blog! May the Lord continue to bless your journey of surrender! :)