I originally started this post two months ago as I was reflecting on how grateful I am to be able to see each of my boys off to school every morning. This luxury escaped me as a full time teacher, and it’s one I truly cherish now. In fact, in my 5th grade Language Arts classroom, I used to share examples of our crazy mornings to illustrate how conflict creates rising action; yet, while our chaotic mornings worked beautifully to teach important elements of story telling, they did not bode so well for my family. I remember all to often we were rushed and frazzled, and at times it was all I could do to just shoo them off with a quick, “Love ya!”
Fast forward through my quitting teaching and our family moving to a new city, to our three boys starting their first days in new schools. It was during this time that I started asking God to help my children know how loved they are, and that no matter what trials they face, they are fearfully and wonderfully made for His purposes. I started speaking that prayer out loud to each of them every night when we prayed before bed. In my heart, I was hoping it might give them comfort when they were uneasy about their new surroundings, or maybe a bit of courage as they had to step out and make new friends. It was a tangible way for me to speak strength into them through God’s Word. Over the years, this prayer has become the message with which I send my children off to school. In fact, each morning, I give them a hug and I say, “You are?” And they say, “Fearfully and wonderfully made for Christ’s purposes.”
Our world has changed dramatically since I started saying that little prayer with my boys four years ago. Mass shootings and terrorists have gripped our country with fears I never imagined I would have to encounter, let alone confront as a parent. Now, while my children may not know it, that little prayer I send them off with carries much more weight for me. Instead of just hoping it gives them a little jolt of confidence or comfort when taking a test or dealing with friendships, I am secretly, deeply hoping if they ever are confronted with evils that do exist, and neither their dad nor I could be there for them, that this little prayer would give them courage and help them to not fear or feel alone, and that being made for HIS purposes means no matter what, they are His, and they have a higher calling, and that we will see each other again….
The tears I am wiping away as I write this are ones of sadness and confusion…because the thoughts I just shared have been those inside moments I’ve been afraid to fully admit, and seeing them in writing makes them all too real.
And yet, those words bring clarity. It is not enough to just introduce my children to Christ and hope that they will someday understand what it means to have a relationship with him. I had the luxury of a whole lifetime to figure out my faith in a time period that came long after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and way before 9/11. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would one day have to explain beheadings and terrorists to my children, let alone mass shootings in their schools.
The sense of helplessness as a parent is gut-checking. But here’s the kicker! It’s right smack there…in the middle of my helplessness…that God is moving me toward action with my children, now! He’s calling with urgency to be more intentional with what I teach my children about Him and His Word. He is shouting for me to recognize that I, too, am fearfully and wonderfully made for His purposes, and my purpose right now, as a parent, could not be any clearer.
Please help me and any who reads this to be strong and courageous in times such as these. Help us to boldly share your immense love for all of your children.