As I parent, I find I am often comforting my children with words that are even hard for me to understand and believe. I know they are true, but I struggle to choke them down as I speak them.
Friday, I was taking my kids to spend the night with my parents. I told them I would miss them and pledged to them that we could dream about each other. Sarah, my oldest said she would rather not dream about me because her dreams about me usually involve me being killed by a serial killer. I laughed awkwardly and told her that sounded awful, but I wasn't really shocked. Our minds are capable of the most horrific and gruesome thoughts. At the same time, I couldn't lie and tell her that was impossible. I never want to give my kids the impression that I will always be here or that I can save them from danger.
The next night over dinner, Chris and I talked with our kids about God being a father to the fatherless and a mother to the motherless. Chris told them about his dad leaving when he was in high school and how God has been his father. He told them about other dads and coaches stepping in to help him. We told them about our friend Terri who lost her mother to cancer and how much she misses her but that God also fills the void of mother. We did not make an effort to tell them that we could be killed by a serial killer to prevent invoking fear, but we hope the truth was received without presenting that possibility as an example. Our goal was to explain to our children that God is enough. His grace is sufficient. They nodded as if to understand, and we had them individually repeat, "God is enough."
I have to walk away from those lessons repeating to myself God is enough as if trying to convince a child - that child being me. I tell my children God is enough yet I struggle to believe it myself. It shows in the way I live. If I believe He is enough would I expect people to validate me? If I believe He is enough would I place my identity in my performance as a mother? If I believe He is enough, why do I seek answers from the world instead of His Word? If I believe He is enough, would I find less comfort in food? If I believe He is enough, would I continue to believe I am the solution for fixing everyone's problems?
So, how can I teach my children things I struggle to believe? Grace is my first answer. Secondly, while I may struggle to believe truths of God, I believe God. I believe Him at His Word. My flesh and Spirit are at war, but He is enough whether I believe it or not. This is another reason to teach things that I struggle with:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11