Growing up, spirituality was not emphasized to us. Even with duas, we passed bead after bead because we were told our sins would be forgiven or we would be protected from shaytan.
We didn't think about WHAT we were saying and HOW they applied to us.
Fear was the emphasis.
Fear is a part of faith but in balance with LOVE and HOPE. Well we didn't get to experience much of either one.
When we immigrated to the US and were far away from preachers, of course, it was easy to stray far, far away from our fears and ultimately our faith.
With the will of Allah, my faith was reignited some years later. But in general, I didn't connect my faith with positive feelings.
I don't want that for my children. I want my children to get to know Allah from early on. I want them to nourish their souls, their minds and their hearts with thoughts of Allah.
Through teenage years, I struggled with emptiness inside. I sought things and people to fill my emptiness and I was met with one heartbreak after another.
I struggled with loneliness and lack of self-confidence. I struggled with feeling 'not enough' for my parents. I struggled with yearning to be a part of certain 'clicks' or groups.
I struggled with the confusion of who I should be and how I should be. I struggled with not having someone to talk to and someone to hold.
Looking back, if I could give my teen self any advice, I would say, 'Umeda, Allah. Allah is One that truly matters. Allah is One who truly lasts. Allah is One who will listen. Allah is One who you will be enough for. Allah is One who heals. Umeda, Allah.'
I want my kids to seek everything they are missing from Allah. To depend on Allah. To feel the peace and tranquility that comes with worshipping Allah.
I want my kids to fall back on Allah. To find strength through Allah.
I want my kids to associate LOVE, MERCY and HOPE with Allah. May Allah protect all of us from filling our holes with anything or anyone other than Him.
So think what can you do today so those around you associate love with Allah?