My oldest daughter, Nora, age 19, is no longer with us. Not that way not with us. Just not here.
I brought her to the airport in Seattle on January 20th and watched her saunter off through security to her airplane that would take her first to San Francisco, and then across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia. Her final destination was Toowoomba, Australia. To get there she flew from Sydney to Brisbane and then took a bus to Toowoomba. (Go ahead, say it out loud. You’re guaranteed to smile. It’s a fun word to say.) She’s on a semester-long quest to find out how God wants to use her and her amazing musical talents. She even started a blog to share her journey with others. You can check it out by clicking this link to Nora’s Blog. Here’s a quote from her first entry.
I’m part of a program for the next five months called “Music and Worship Discipleship Training School” (DTS). The DTS is run by Youth With A Mission Toowoomba (YWAM). For the first three months of the DTS, we’ll be studying the Word and diving deeper into a multi-faceted understanding of God. The remaining two months will be spent serving the city of Toowoomba as well as going with an outreach team to evangelize and be the hands and feet of Jesus in Southeast Asia. My DTS consists of 34 students from all over the world and 24 passionate leaders who give generously of their time and resources to teach us. I’m blown away by the fact that our leaders took up unpaid positions just because they genuinely care about us and want to spread the word of Jesus.
Youth With A Mission believes in championing young people everywhere. Orientation weekend was so great because I was able to connect with all of my fellow classmates and learn about the various cultures represented here in Toowoomba. Our leaders have emphasized that God doesn’t called the qualified; rather, He qualifies the called. No matter what place we come from in society, whether we have a degree or not, God qualifies us to do His good works. We can glorify Him in any job, any country, and in all circumstances.
I’m guessing that some of you are wondering why I’m putting such religious stuff in my blog about being a Stay At Home Dad. Well, I’m not trying to push anything on your or preach. Nope, I’m just a proud papa sharing some really great news about his oldest kid. As a parent, and specifically as a SAHD, I’ve spent countless hours with Nora since she was born almost 20 years ago. I’ve had moments of success and moments that were learning experiences of how not to parent. We’ve shared thousands of laughs, many tears and many more triumphs. As the eldest, Nora was the one who blazed the trail for her five siblings. And by blazed the trail I mean bore the brunt of my parenting learning curve. Yet, miraculously, it appears I may not have screwed her up as badly as I thought. She’s a pretty awesome person and is following her heart and her faith by going to Australia. I’m grateful for the young woman she has become and excited to see what will be her next step after this semester. If you’re of the praying persuasion please keep her in your thoughts and prayers these next few months. I’m sure she would be encouraged by a positive word on her blog as well.
Ultimately, what’s really enjoyable for me as a parent is to watch my children grow and become more independent, knowing that I played a significant role in their development. Sometimes I get to see it when my youngest (19 months old) listens to me and doesn’t reach into the toilet while I’m rinsing her soiled cloth diaper and sometimes I get to see it from half a world away when my eldest (19 years old) is attending school in Australia. It puts the daily ups and downs of parenting into a little bit broader perspective, especially if you’re a parent of only younger children. What you’re doing now is worth it! Keep it up! G’day, mate!
PS-If any of you are interested in sending a care package to Nora, the only address I know for Australia is:
42 Wallaby Way
I guess you’d have to contact her through her blog (or message me) to get the actual one.