Musings on the Eve of Sixteen

Submitted by Kyleigh on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 04:05

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Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4   I almost didn’t live to see my third birthday. The car’s wheels, just inches from my head. Daddy running out, picking me up, and carrying me inside. The car was white, with a black bumper. It was old, and rather dirty, at least the way I remember it. The lady that stepped out of the car and was in hysterics had frizzy hair. I just remember crossing the street, then knowing I shouldn’t have done it, and crossing back. Then I saw the car, and it knocked me over.

 Three cuts, one on my knee, one on my elbow, and one by my eye, that remains to this day as a scar, a reminder during all those hard times that God has me here on earth, where I am at this very moment, for a reason.  Mommy says that between me and the car, in those few inches, there was an angel. I should have died that day, but now here I am, just days away from my sixteenth birthday. I am so blessed.



            God gave me my first breath of air in a Naval hospital in Pensacola, Florida on the seventh floor, an evening in late August, 1993.

            I was two when we moved to Jordan.

            When I was four, we moved back to the states, for what we thought would be a few years. Most people would say those were my “formative years,” between four and twelve, but I would disagree. Maybe it was, depending on what you mean. The training that has now come forth in my life happened then, in those 8 years in the states, but it didn’t come out until things changed, and I had to start over:

            Twenty-three days before my thirteenth birthday, we moved across the ocean, back to the Middle-East I love so much. I can’t imagine ever seriously considering living outside of the Middle East long-term. I think it’s amusing that most people think living in the Middle East is a scary thing, and then here I am, having lived over 1/3 of my life in the Middle East, and I find that living in the states scares me. I don’t know, maybe I’m messed up. But America with its abortions and gay marriage and liberalism seems more barbaric to me than the desert. These people here aren’t terrorists. They don’t kill their babies. I love these people. The “Hi, how are you?” without expecting an answer to the “how are you?” – it’s just how they greet you in English. J I love Arabic food, I love the language… I enjoy how they appreciate how conservatively we dress, and how they understand why we homeschool. I just wish they understood our reasoning behind it all.


            Yes, I’m different. But that’s ok. Christians are supposed to look “weird” to the world. Every time someone says I’m weird there’s a part of me that goes “Hallelujah, I’m not a lukewarm Christian!” I know I don’t have the same values as the world. I don’t rely on peer relationships. I don’t go to a youth group. I don’t go to school, I don’t listen to the same kind of music or watch the same kind of movies. I have high standards in school, the cleanliness of movies, books, and music I listen to, and the conversations I have. I don’t want “ok” in school. I don’t like swearing, crude humor, or things like that in the media I consume.

            I love my family. I hug my brother in public, and he hugs me back. We play basketball together, and talk about things with more than just “Yeah,” and “Uh-huh.” My sisters are some of my closest friends, my mom and dad my primary “advisors.” We love each others company, we love playing games, cooking, making music, and worshiping together.

            I like classical music, theological books, quilting, Celtic ballads, slip jigs, cloaks, running free in my gramma’s pasture, ships, gardens, cucumbers, the desert, running away with my imagination, old books, ankle-length skirts, my “brothers” and brother, historical fiction, writing, making movies, making a fool of myself for 3-year olds, making rolls, singing Psalms, dancing, crocheting, and making maps. I don’t want a career someday, I want a full quiver, and I want to homeschool my kids, and go to a family integrated Church. I want to be a homemaker, not earn a paycheck.

            But for now, I’m a daughter in my father’s household, serving God, helping my parents, studying, making music, and learning how to run a home.


            So here I am. It’s the night before my sixteenth birthday. I’ve had a run-in with death, found eternal life, and don’t mind being different, in fact, I rather like it.

            The eve of sixteen. Fifteen was full of changes, full of new things, full of life, joy, peace, trial, growth… sixteen will be just as full of them, but in different ways. I start my seventeenth revolution around the sun tomorrow. How will it be any different from my other revolutions, I wonder?

            When I was little, I remember thinking that sixteen was so old – you could drive (Ha! In the states, that is… here I still have 2 more years!), could stay up late, and were so tall (not so me!) and so grown up. Now that it’s here, there’s nothing magical about it. It’s just another year that will fly by.  

            Fifteen was Csehy and Yemen for the second time, Bahrain for the first time in years, two orchestras, a new oboe, memorizing 1 John, surviving physics, suffering through pre-calculus, saying goodbye to a dear friend and possibly a “brother” and his sister, and striving to love like Paul and Christ (Romans 9:3). Fifteen was family worship, my cowboy, composing, fellowship, dates with daddy, beetles and butterflies, long nights of discussion, leaving youth group, studying Romans, Venice, thick theological books (and thin ones, too!), G.A. Henty, R.M. Ballantyne, and roll-making.

            Sixteen will be anatomy and physiology, economics, history, worldview, French, Arabic, and literature. But that’s just the surface. That’s just what I can see right now, without going in. It’s the cover of the book. What trials lie ahead? What places will God show His grace? Who will make a difference in my life – and whose lives will I make a difference is? Where will I travel? Will we finally start our community with like-minded people – or will Cait and I be the only people our age in our area who think like we do? Whatever happens, this is my prayer: that I will not graduate from the Cross, but continually cling to it an Gods’ love.



And just for fun: 16 Things about me:  

1. I’m small… my thumbs aren’t even 2 inches long, my feet don’t sit quite flat on the floor on an airplane,  and I’m shorter than all but one of my friends. Extra smalls are too small.  I’ve wondered if they’d ever let me on an airplane when my suitcase was overweight if I begged enough… “Please, I’m less than 55 kgs… way less… Added together, me and my suitcase weigh less than the average person…”  I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve a mind to someday.

2. I love watching people's faces - the creases and crinkles, the way their mouth moves, etc... dimples delight me to no end. So don’t get weirded out if I’m talking to you and am staring at your mouth or face strangely.

3. I cry a lot - sometimes it's because I get frustrated over schoolwork or music, other times it's because of hearing about abortion or genocide or people dying without knowing their Creator. Other times it’s sitting in awe of God and His Glory, or Christ and His sacrifice, or His love that He would be willing to be separated from God… or Paul’s love, in Romans 9:3, and then if Paul’s love is that great, how much greater is God’s?

4. I have an obsession with home remedies. I love getting slightly sick so I can try them out. ^.^

5. I wish I smiled more than I do.

6. I love ships and sailing... someday I want to have a ship of my own - well, mine and my family's, and sail around the world, homeschooling. Currently I'm learning all sorts of wonderful words to shout out at people, such as "belay!" and very interesting while at the same time rather morbid words like "yardarm."

7. I still skip around the house, singing little kid songs like "Spring up, O Well."

8. Places I'd like to go someday - Peru, Israel, the Faroe Islands, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, New Guinea, Yemen (again!),

9. Because I have a bad left thumb (the muscles get inflamed really easily, etc.) I can crack it without touching it… which grosses out even people who gross me out by cracking their knuckles.

10. I live in the Middle East, yet have an obsession with Hebrew stuff.

11. I HATE HATE HATE romance books. Well, not so much they themselves, but what they do to my mind and heart…

12. When I graduate at the end of this school year, I’m not going to college. (send me a message/comment if you want the full reason).

13. I have been to 21 countries, 3 continents, and 28 states. (tell me if you want a list)

14. I moved 5 times before my 7th birthday, and a 6th before my 13th birthday. Only one of those moves has been within a state, and three of those have been across the ocean.

15. I play oboe, guitar, piano, harmonica, pennywhistle, recorder, and fiddle when I have the time. I’d like to learn viola and French horn.

16. I was baptized when I was 8, but most of my spiritual growth has been in the past 3 years when it’s been shooting up in leaps and bounds thanks to my dad and some very encouraging friends (Jonathan, Teresa, Mikhal, Sarah – x3, Caroline, Hannah – x2, and the N’s, mostly).This past year especially I’ve been reflecting a lot on the depth of my sin, God’s Glory, and Christ’s death in my place, as God reveals to me more of His Character and allows me to grasp His love even more.


Author's age when written


Hmm. You gotta give it to us homeschoolers, but we do know how to tell a good story. And you certainly didn't disappoint, Kyleigh! I was caught by the first lines and reeled in. I had to finish. You have quite a perspective that very few have on the world, especially here in America. That's gonna serve you well in the future, in how you see people, their stories, giving you more compassion for them as individuals on their own journey, rather than as "good" or "bad."

I have wanted to visit the Middle East since I was, oh, 12 or so. I read about Iraq when I was your age and we were first getting into the war and my heart was so burdened for that place in the world. My dad, younger brother, and I studied biblical Hebrew (I read something you said about being interested in Hebrew) for a few years. Just basic grammar, OT readings, stuff like that. I grew up keeping the Jewish feasts and festivals and had a lot of Jewish friends. I had a friend who was studying Arabic because he planned on going to the Middle East and work there towards creating peace, and he taught me the script, which is beautiful. Their caligraphy is stunning. I still hope to one day get back to it.

You already have experienced so much from life, seen more than many people twice your age. God's got big things for you, that I can tell for sure. Don't underestimate His mischieviousness!

Thanks for writing


I like this essay a lot, Kyleigh; it's very well-written. I can relate to you on some points--I too am small, I too am rather "weird"--if not on others. As far as not going to college goes, I personally disagree with you--I think that the more educated I am, the more fit I will be to home-educate my children. But of course, college is not the only way to be educated, and it might not be the right way for everyone.

I'm half Syrian myself, but I know next to nothing of the Arabic language and culture--the more shame to me. Also to my shame, I must admit to being confused by the reference to "55 kg." What would that be in American pounds?

Annabel - Thanks! Also thank you for understanding that college isn't the only way for education. :) Half-Syrian? Cool! I have no Arab blood in me whatsoever, to my knowledge. But my dad has darker skin from being in the sun, and so people often think he's Arab. I don't really know, actually. I do know that I'm not extremely light but know that I weigh under-average... not that it matters, that list is mostly random facts of little relevance... though slightly more relevant than having eaten camel's milk chocolate.


Taylor - Thank you very much! Funny thing is that I'd written most of this before the summer, then I got the chance to share it in person with a few people. We have something called "Singtime or "sing and share" at camp, and it sounds kinda cheesy but it's the best part of every day - basically where you can share from your life and/or pick a hymn you want to sing, then we sing, with 4-part harmony - it's glorious worship! But I kept telling myself to share that story, but never did. Then we have a bonfire at the end of the week to close the week off, and one of the counselors was sharing about a rainbow she saw and how it reminded her of God's faithfulness. I laughed to myself, because I knew that was God telling me to share. ;) 
I love Arabic script. I can't speak Arabic very well, but I love writing in it, even if I don't know what I'm writing. Plus it's nice, as being a leftie I don't smear all over the place.
Thank you. I do often pity people who have no chance to interact with other cultures or see the other side of things, but have been almost brainwashed into thinking that their side is the only right one - like Americans grouping Arabs into 'terrorists' and Arabs grouping Americans into all sorts of wrong stereotypes - one of our friends here heard we were American before she met us and thought we would come in miniskirts!

Well, I sure hope He reveals more of His mischeviousness - I love HIs humor!



This was a fantastic essay! I hate it when people group Arabs into terrorists-my uncle (we're not blood relatives) is from Saudi-Arabia, and he's a good person. I'm sure the public is great there! However, I agree with Annabel in the fact that I believe that going to college is my best option. It may not be yours, but I want good, expanded education for my kids. And people dying before they find God's Glory, I understand that that is your belief, and that is just fine, but some people don't believe that, and I think that's fine too :-). 

Anyway, a beautiful essay, and I'm glad you are alive today to write it :-) 

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Well done, Kyleigh! You wrote this very well! And happy birthday!

I love being homeschooled. We don't do a lot of stuff: math, reading, and writing are our main focus. It's so nice to know that we aren't alone, and that there are people like us all over the world. Sometimes, living in a small town with my best friend twenty-one hours away and in a small church where the only people who come are from out of town, I feel kind of isolated. But I wouldn't ever exchange homeschooling for popularity or so called 'socialization'. May the Lord richly bless and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you.

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

In answer to number 2:  I have a dimple!  Great essay, Kyleigh.  I can't say I'd want to live in the Middle East, but I know what you mean by America being kind of scary too.

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

I totally understand not going to college after high school.  I didn't either.  I have nothing against going to college, but I didn't feel God leading me in that direction, so I chose to follow His leading to pursue a writing career until such time as He sees fit to give me a husband and family of my own.  Don't let people make you feel pressured to go somewhere where you don't feel God's leading!!!

I have never left the US, and I am one of those who see the Middle East as just a little bit scary.  But even though I live here, I still see the US as scary too - it's just a scariness I'm used to.  But it's good to know that we ('we' meaning Christians and home schoolers both) have a light shining in the Middle East!

This was a very good and well-thought-out essay.  You are a very good communicator.   I've been thinking about writing an essay about my own life, in a style similar to this one.  After reading yours, I'm both inspired to go for it, and reluctant ... this is a tough act to follow!

Mary Ruth

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

 only read a the part where you want to go to a family-integrated church...i go to one in North Carolina..feel free to come down to visit it! It's a very friendly church,and it would be cool to meet you!!

  Well, I just kinda skimmed this(meaning the sixteen reasons)and why don't you want to go to college? Don't worry, I don't want to either!!

What a wonderful essay! I just picked up on one thing in this: Why did you leave your youth group? I recently left a youth group for various reasons; (actually, it was six months ago) and I'd love to know your reasons. Please don't feel like you have to answer this, after all, I am 3 years late!

I absolutely, positively love being different! I am subject to weird hairstyles (or so my sister think; I just tell them that's it's the new fashion; which, in some cases, it is!) You know your profile picture, well, where are you?! I absolutely love your backdrop.

I live in Australia and have never been overseas. I have moved a total of 9 times; both interstate and just moving suburbs. We have finally settled some where and bought a house, I was sooooooooo sick of renting. It's really big pain in the neck.

I was also baptised when I was 8, I felt God tapping me on the shoulder and saying "Go get baptised." So I did. Lately I have been growing spiritually, which is really great. Our family has been holding more bible studies, and that really helps. Look, I'm going to have to wrap this up; but I'd absolutely love to talk on email.

God bless you :) I think he might have a lot planned for you.

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

I know that this is super late but I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading this! You have a great testimony. :) I won't take time to explain but I just realized...we have a lot of things in common! :)

EDIT: BTW, I go to a family-segregated church! Why did you leave your youth group? I mean, I am not going to join my church's youth group for several reasons already, but what are your reasons? And I totally understand about not wanting to go to college. If I feel God telling me to go to college when the time comes, I'll go...but if not, I am perfectly happy with just preparing to be a lady of the King! :)

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Maddi: The picture was taken at Letchworth State park in New York. It's a beautiful place.

Lucy and Maddi: Our family's understanding of this has changed in past years, which is why we started going to the youth group in the first place. But we see, biblically, the primary place of discipleship as being the home, and by the father, and the youth group was detracting from that, both in time and in the authority my father had. There were also some other issues, but I wasn't aware of them until recently, and mostly had to do with some of the older youth. Also something I noticed in retrospect was how the environment was detrimental to growth in maturity, and when we stopped attending and started doing more as a family, I noticed I began maturing much faster than my peers who were attending the youth group.

If either of you want to discuss this more (or anyone else!) drop me an email through my contact form. I'd be happy to keep talking about it, but this isn't really the place for that.

Okay, thanks so much Kyleigh for replying. I might shoot you an email with some more questions and over all discussion. And if you don't mind, can I write something like your musings on the eve of sixteen? I'm turning 14 soon, but sometimes I feel like I'm so much older. Thanks heaps! ;P

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh