This is the final post of a three-part series from Angela Burtis about why she decided to send her three children to Word of Life Bible Institute, and why she would encourage other parents to do the same. If you haven’t read part one, read it here. If you haven’t read part two, you can read it here. Angela wraps up her thoughts in this post and shares the value of the discipleship-filled community that her kids experienced at the Bible Institute.
Welcome back to our conversation.
Truth be told, I could write at least five editions on this topic, but I will conclude today with one of the greatest gifts given to our family via Word of Life. Let me give you a little background.
We were the Christian parents who did not encourage or, frankly, allow high school dating. From what I’d experienced and what we were watching all around us, there didn’t seem to be any value to it in our minds. You might be thinking, ‘wow, you’re radical’. Maybe, but we took our God-given responsibility and the principles from His Word, namely Romans 12:1, 2 (don’t be like everyone else), seriously and protectively.
We unexpectedly received some pushback from well-meaning friends who countered, “We’d rather walk our kids through these experiences while in our home.” Valid point, but we instinctively knew that somehow with proper training, God would take care of that piece when the time arrived.
Our greatest gift
Then we sent our inexperienced boy to WOLBI. Eventually, I received these texts…
“Mom, I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about dating. I just want to focus on the Bible and my relationship with God.”
“Awesome, good idea.”
“Mom, so there’s this girl.”
“Oh, really? Does she have all three requirements (godly, funny, cute) in that order?”
“I know she has them all, but I don’t know what order they are in.”
“Well, let me know when you figure it out.”
A few weeks later –
“Mom, she’s got them all and they are in the right order. I really want you to pray about this so I don’t screw it up.”
During the following months as he got to know her more and was convinced he should proceed, this boy called home and outlined his plan of pursuit in detail. He said, “First, I have to write my Biblical guidelines for dating. Then my DC (Discipleship Coordinator) will go over them with me. After that, I will present them to her, and hopefully she’ll agree.”
I shook my head in astonishment. Biblical guidelines for dating? Where did he get that idea? More importantly (ahem), had I suggested Biblical guidelines for dating, would he have agreed so intentionally and enthusiastically? I suspect he would have shaken his head and responded, “Are you kidding me, Mom?” Oh Word of Life, you have so many surprises in store for those who entrust their children to you.
Oh Word of Life, you have so many surprises in store for those who entrust their children to you.
There is a built-in discipleship program for each student. Brilliant! I can’t say enough about the level of accountability in a safe environment this provides for the student who is really seeking God’s will in every area of their lives. Young men and women just a little further down the road are available to walk with and challenge. This beats any kind of doing-what-everyone-else-is-doing high school dating we could have settled for.
On a much bigger level, I prayed my thanks to God, who already had this level of calling him up planned out for our boy far in advance. He knows our children, Mom and Dad, and He has their best interest in mind always. We just have to believe it. Even if we didn’t make the best decisions for them while they were in our home, redeeming and restoring are God’s A-game. He can be trusted with our kids in every stage of their development.
This relationship went on to take our breath away by the resolve and intention each put into it. He promised not to kiss or declare his love for her until he could back it up with commitment in the form of a ring and a proposal. Two years they dated before that ring and first kiss. Surely he came up with this idea from talking and walking with the wise during those first college years.
He knows our children, and He has their best interest in mind always.
They are married now and have given us our first grandchild. He is a youth pastor and she is the best daughter-in-law this mama could have hoped for, our gift. They both give much credit to their Word of Life experience for laying the foundation not just for their individual lives, but also for their new little family, and I absolutely concur.
Good things happen at Word of Life.
Friendships too, have made a big impact for all three of our kids’ time at the BI. When you live with like-minded peers who are receiving the same training and awesome life experiences, you are safe to be yourself, grow at the pace God is setting for you, and know someone has your back. I absolutely marvel at the endless fun and depth that results.
Parents of teen girls, I’m looking at you now.
Surviving high school girl drama almost did me in. I couldn’t wait for my girl to get up to the mountains and start making some solid, lifelong, godly friendships. I’m pleased to report it didn’t take long. Other young women who want to learn about God and live according to His Word – yes! I am forever grateful for the girls in her life who love Jesus and love her. Because we live less than an hour from Pottersville now, a steady flow of Bible Institute girls come to our home. Hearing their stories and watching their interactions with our girl have been so worth the wait.
In conclusion, if you’re on the fence about how to guide your children into the post high school phase of their lives, I hope God uses the experiences we’ve been blessed with to help you make your decision. Word of Life Bible Institute truly is doing things no other college is. From providing a year of “Bible in, service out” experiences that will aid in developing a working Biblical worldview, to incorporating study hours and work assignments that encourage structure and success- both academically and in career preparation- to encouraging intentional God-honoring friendships and dating relationships, your child can’t help but benefit in one or all of these areas.
Why not ask God where He wants your children to spend a year?
Want to know more?
If you have questions about the Word of Life Bible Institute or would like more information on any of our programs, please visit wordoflife.edu.
Interested in checking us out for yourself? Campus Preview Weekend is a great opportunity to visit the campus, meet the staff, and interact with current students. Call 800.331.9673 to register your spot! Our admissions team will walk you through every step of the process.
New York dates: March 30- April 1, 2017 or May 4-6, 2017
Florida dates: March 2-4, 2017
We hope to see you soon!