When I was a kid, I hated change. I loved being able to know what to expect, I loved routine, and when that was disrupted… I couldn’t handle it. As an adult, I still don’t like change. I love being in control, I love predictability, but there is one fundamental difference between now and my childhood.
I met Jesus.
I grew up in an extremely loving home where we were in church twice a year. I became a Christ Follower in college, so I missed great programs like Awana that encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus. Only time and experience as a dad could show me the critical importance of child discipleship. I am now part of a dedicated community of loving, caring adults passionate about seizing the opportunity to raise the greatest generation of disciples!
Have you ever been walking through a difficult situation only to have someone respond with “well, it could be worse!” or “You just need to look at the bright side.” As you lead the children in your life, take the time to acknowledge this is hard! Schools closed because of a virus is hard. Losing your high school graduation, varsity sports season, or club soccer season is hard. Even the little things, like only seeing friends from a distance and not being able to hug them is HARD! As my kids look to me through these difficulties, I want them to know that even though change is hard, Jesus understands. While we are often surprised by our circumstances, we serve a God that is never surprised.
After we acknowledge that change is hard to deal with, I hope we also give ourselves grace for the ways we fall short. Scripture is unambiguous, we will ALL fall short (Romans 3:23), yet so often we put pressure on ourselves as if those individual sins determine our judgement. May we remember that at the cross, Jesus became obedient to death (Philippians 2:8) for the sake of all our sins. Whatever we as parents feel about how we’ve parented today, may we not forget that our perfect Father loves our kids more than we do and is already working on ways to redeem our mistakes– often in ways we won’t expect. As we lead our kids through change, they will see how we respond and follow our example.
While we give ourselves grace, let’s not forget our children. It is hard for them too, and leading them through times of change also requires giving them grace. Each of our kids react differently to change and we are responsible to lead them through what they are experiencing. God equips us with exactly what we need to navigate the needs of each one of our children. God has entrusted them to our care for such a time as this.
When everything feels uncertain, remember that Jesus promised in John 10:10 that we would have life to the full in Him. That means we can rejoice in the highs and fully sit in the lows, because our God is with us in all of our experiences. Our children get to experience that right along with us! We can spend more time with them and less time answering emails that can wait until the next day (or maybe once they are asleep). We can together weep with those who weep, and celebrate the little joys that our God will certainly bring us each day.
I pray that this generation, which will be defined by COVID-19, will be a generation marked by demonstrating grace to themselves and to others. I pray they understand how God might work through change to make all things new. If that reality is to come true, it starts with this generation of loving, caring adults modeling that for them, and pointing to the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3). We do this together, with the strength and wisdom of our God who never changes.