Change can be so hard on children. As much as we can include them on our thought and decision making process and bring them into our prayer time, at the end of the day they’re lives are centred around the choices us as parents make.
We are three sleeps away from loading our Uhaul and beginning our cross-country journey to our new home, new church, new job, new community, new…everything.
Yesterday held some rough moments with my kids.
From an emotion-filled: “Mom the bookshelf looks so sad and empty.”
To an angry: “Mom I never wanted to leave anyway!”
To an uncontrollable breakdown that held few words, only a deep ache.
That cuts a mama to the core.
And I knew this was going to be tough. I made plans to try to read whenever I could, give them hugs and not get frustrated even when I’m exhausted knowing they’d need grace. But you know what? It still caught me off guard how deeply beginning the big pack up affected them.
When we said yes to going to Southwestern Ontario the kids were my number one concern. All those months ago the Lord gave me a promise to believe and hold on to, and I’m pulling it out in full force today.
For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.”
Isaiah 44:3-5 NLT
THEY WILL THRIVE LIKE WATERED GRASS!
Oh my heart can rest in that! Our grass is looking greener than I’ve ever seen it in October with all the moisture we’ve had. It is thriving.
The Lord says that’s how my kids are going to do in this transition. Growing tall, strong and vibrant!
I believe this is a special promise that is available to all who are taking a brave yes step.
A brave yes step is an act of obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
It’s not simply doing something you’re scared to do or something you know is hard. If it’s hard but it isn’t God, you’re just going to have double the struggle.
But the Lord is saying to those who are hesitating to answer his prompting and say yes to his invitation to step out: you don’t have to worry about your kids.
In the safety and covering of obedience, they will thrive like watered grass.
These next few days will undoubtedly hold some challenges for our family, but my sights are set beyond this moment. To a land flowing with the promise of God. One that will be exceedingly good and holds immense blessing for my children.
We can trust God. He loves our kids even more than we possibly can. When he says they’re going to thrive, they’re going to thrive!
“Mama, were scared when your book came out? Like, did you think some people might not like it?
I shut the water to my shower off and realized I had an audience waiting to me as I stepped out. My little girl was sitting on the counter, legs swinging, deep in thought.
“Because, you know I’m scared to write my songs. To have people hear them. To hear if they don’t like them.”
I remembered the massive waves of fear every single step of the way with my book. How every time I take a box of books anywhere to sell I panic inside that this might be the time someone speaks out against it.
We talked it through. I told her that, yes, I’m still scared when someone gets a copy in their hands for the first time, but how being scared isn’t really a factor. It’s obedience. If God asked me to share my story, then I need to do it, because there might be someone out there that really, really needs it.
We don’t own the results, we just own whether we are obedient.
A few hours later she arrived at the table, gel pens and paper in hand, and asked to dictate her songs while I wrote them down. We asked daddy to bring home his guitar so they could figure out the tune. She knows God has trusted her with some big songs in her heart and a brave step toward radical obedience in her own life was made.
C.S. Lewis wrote
“Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”
If I can be so bold as to expand on the words of a great theologian, I think this can mean “let them also hear of brave mothers with heroic courage”. Let them hear of past exploits for the Kingdom of God and current stands for justice that their valiant parents are taking. Let them see a brave yes walked out in front of their little eyes so when their time comes, they know how to choose radical obedience.
Our children need to see our brave faith in action. In our quiet corner of North America, it is so hard to make brave choices. Safe options surround us every day and we can hand in our wild faith for a limiting hours of a structure 9 to 5 life.
My boys will be the first to nudge me with all their elbows if someone is in a dire financial situation, aggressively whispering in my ear “Tell them mom! Tell them!” referring to the time God filled my tank with gas when I had no more.
These stories are burned in their minds. There are the stories from the bible, there are stories from other heroes, there are stories from friends and family, and then, there are my stories and their daddy’s stories. And nothing, short of the bible, sparks their faith like hearing how God came through for us.
And nothing, short of the bible, sparks their faith like walking with us in the present when we say a brave yes and they get to watch the power of God with eyes wide open.
We want to protect our children and keep them from harm, but let us now simply give them a safe life. They will grow up. They will meet their own enemies. Their own financial difficulties. Their own marital strife. Their own illness.
And then what?
May they see a brave knight within themselves who, with the sword of the Spirit in hand, can charge at the dragon of deception with the confidence from a thousand stories of God’s victorious power in their heart.
Your children need you to be brave. They need to you take great steps of courage. They need your bold risks. And then they need to hear what God did. Don’t hold back in an effort give them a nice, safe life.
Here are some practical things I do to get the most out of a brave yes situation with my kids.
Talk it through. As is age appropriate, I share how I feel about the current situation. How I am scared but choosing to trust God. If they know how it feels before the breakthrough, they will appreciate the end result so much more. As we process our move, every miraculous event that happens is special to them as they feel fully immersed in the challenge of this decision.
I invite them to pray with me about it and to share what they receive from the Holy Spirit.
If it is something I have to act on, I have them pray for me before I do it (like going to a book event) and then share what God did afterwards. If I can bring one or all kids along, I will.
When there is closure to a brave yes, we talk it through, A LOT. I help them see what God was doing. When our adoption fell through this took MONTHS and we still end up talking about it some days. When the store was sold, we sought God together to show us what he did through that brave step.
Share the past stories. Recount as many as you can of God’s faithfulness to you in your life. Tell all the details. Make the story engaging. Remember how you felt and your joy when God came through. Or what he taught you when it didn’t work out the way you hope. What’s your hindsight saying now?
Don’t be afraid to share your mistakes and what God did through them too. My kids know the story of the agony my soul was in after I took a candy from a grocery store as a little girl. They cringe as I share my shame and smile in relief as I tell my dad and find forgiveness.
Proverbs 2:2 in the Passion Translation says,
“So train your heart to listen when I speak and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment – then pass it o to your sons and daughters.”
It takes practice to hear God’s voice and act on it, but when you begin this brave yes adventure, don’t keep it from your kids! As parents we are charged to pass on what we have gained!
In this world troubles will come, but let’s be an example to our children of radical obedience, brave steps and courage in the face fo great danger! Then let’s leave ample time in our lives to process, share and grow from all of these experiences. Let’s trust God to empower our kids in the very moment of their struggle by his Holy Spirit and by the testimony of many great witnesses!