I'm glad we're Christians, Mama."
Smiling in agreement, I asked my 11-year-old daughter what made her feel that way. Her response still echoes in my heart.
"Because we have hope."
We had just returned from spending Christmas in California, where we'd helped my sister's family prepare for a move to Hawaii. My kids loved the time with their cousins—a rare privilege since they live on opposite sides of the country. And now, these cousins were moving even farther away.
This painful parting prompted my daughter to give thanks for hope.
Hope that goodbye is not forever, not when we all know Jesus. Though we live thousands of miles apart and have no idea when we'll be together again, a shared eternity is coming.
Hope that God's plans are bigger than we can imagine and He's able to make a way in impossible situations.
Hope that our loving Lord holds our future in His hands.
Hope that He's bringing good out of our pain.
This is our inheritance as followers of Jesus, secured by the unchanging character of our faithful God, made possible by the redeeming work of Jesus.
" We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, which enters the Inner Place behind the veil" (Heb. 6:19).
Moms and dads, ours is the privilege of breathing hope into the hearts of our children, of helping them see God's love in the midst of life's struggles.
Here are some thoughts on living out this calling:
- Model redemption in everyday life.
In real life, the best-laid plans go awry. Our kids' behavior isn't always ideal (and neither is ours, if we're honest.) Disappointments are part of life on this planet. Yet these moments of frustration don't have to ruin the whole day. On the contrary, they often present opportunities to showcase redemption in everyday life.
If the day's plans fell through, find some other way to have fun and make memories together.
If a discipline issue arose, after addressing it, take time to reaffirm your child and speak forward into the person you know he or she can become. Express what you love about him or her and how you see God at work in his or her life.
In disappointing situations, verbalize your faith that God is always working for the good of His children.
- Keep the conversation going.
Ae parents, we have a built-in audience. Our kids see the struggles we face and learn by watching our faith lived out in front of them. As appropriate, talk with them about how God is bringing good out of your pain (or dream about what He may do). Point out His blessings in the midst of hard times and savor His kindness together.
- Be present.
One of my favorite attributes of God is His nearness. Sometimes He doesn't fix our problems or make the pain go away. But He's always near (even if we don't feel Him). We can do this for our kids as well. When life is hard, be intentional about making time together—to listen and give understanding, to pray, to do something fun with them, to build your friendship...
Hope is central to our faith in Christ. As we walk with Him and hold onto hope, our kids can see God in real life and find His hope for their lives, too.
Meredith Mills is a wife and mother to three inquisitive, adventurous, fun-loving kids. She loves finding Jesus in the everyday and is passionate about helping others experience Him, too. She blogs at DazzledByTheSon.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Facebook at Dazzled By The Son and on Instagram and Twitter @DazzledByTheSon.
This article originally appeared at just18summers.com.
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