Life has a way to teach us the meaning of disappointments, and that undoubtedly, very early on to our children!
Over the last few months we have been learning with our children how to deal with the nasty feelings of disappointments, hurts and rejections and how to trust God through it all. In the process, we are learning what it means to be parents-shepherds that imprint and shape those tender hearts with truth from the Bible.
Life is unfair, and on this earth we will never have a complete justice system because our world is one of unrighteousness marred with sin. Though we empower our children to communicate how they feel and validate their emotions through our support, it is only in looking at life through the grit of God’s Word can our children learn how to really live in a world full of disappointments.
God’s truth helps us not to philosophise nor theorise the situation, but theologise the heart and make us more Christ like in the journey.
When things get missing, when events take on unexpected turns, when plans do not eventuate, when opportunities are missed, when losses occur, when you are rejected because you are not popular, when teachers show favouritism, when words cut and friendships sour and lives are lost, we need to walk our children through laying down their hopes in people and circumstances and putting their faith and trust in God instead. Easier said than done, but once done, both parents and child will never be the same.
We as parents are effectively shepherding our children’s hearts when we do not shield them from unfavourable circumstances, but rather expose them to the transforming power of God’s grace in events like the above. Problems and disappointments allow our children to see how small and feeble they are. It is not a bad thing to feel weak in one’s own strength because that is how we learn how to walk in humility. When we shield them away from experiencing problems, we deprive them the opportunity to taste the grace of God that can truly transform.
Disappointments bite and they will always sting, but the more we teach our children to relinquish control and place themselves into the hands of God, the better their resilience will be to to handle life with all its complexities and the greater their ability to adapt to varying situations and people.
I remember an incident last year where our church had been busy preparing for the children’s first Christmas concert. It was the first time the children were going to perform on stage and they had put aside a good 5 months rehearsing their songs and memorising their lines. Sunday after Sunday they practiced and there was quite a built-up of excitement and anticipation. So the invitations were distributed and the church hall nicely decorated. The food well prepared, beautifully displayed and the whole church got really busy, but my daughter, who was one of the main characters, got more and more sick. She was also due to give her very first mini sermonette, a message from her 7 year old heart on the meaning of Christmas to all adults and children present at the concert.
To cut the story short, we explained to her that she wont be able to perform, nor will she be allowed to attend church the next day. We would never forget that tear-stained face that in all innocence asked us, “Mum, Dad… you taught me when I pray that God would heal?” Stopping us in our track is that voice of earnest innocence, of a hope dashed and a heart that had sincerely prayed all week long for God to heal her. Right at that moment of time, God gave my husband wisdom, to which he replied,…“Pray like a storm but love like an ocean…” in which my husband further explained to her that there is a greater law at work here, which was the law of love for the concern of others’ well being.
For the sake of brevity, my daughter cried her hopes and dreams to sleep…the hope of celebrating Christmas with her friends at church and performing their very first Christmas concert after many many months of practices…but we learn that the way we deal with and respond towards the disappointments our children face is as important and prominent shaping influence on their life as the way the event might play out..since the following morning my daughter bravely wore a smile and said “Mum and Dad, I feel like I want to write a story (a book) about what happened and believe that God will use it even greater than what I understand it to be”
We actually did end up all going to church. My daughter did end up performing all her roles and sharing her testimony. But walking through the process of laying down that disappointment and trusting in God was an invaluable process for both her and us!
The 7 year old’s testimony: What Christmas really means to me. . . Jesus lived to die. This is a very powerful truth. That means Jesus was actually born to die. How many of us are actually alive to die? How many of us live expecting death? Jesus came to the earth, died to save us, was raised from the dead and then went back up to heaven after 40 days. Do you know that Jesus died the most painful death of all? He was whipped, mocked, stabbed, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross. That is why we celebrate Easter but before Easter was Christmas, and before we can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we must believe in the Christmas story, that Jesus died at the young age of 33, to give hope if you would believe. So 33 years before he died, that was when Christmas took place. Christmas is when Jesus was born. King Herod wanted to kill Jesus and there was no room in the inn, so we are happy that Jesus got to be born . God ’s gift to us was Jesus and that is why we give presents to each other during Christmas.When we give a gift to one of God’s children, it is like giving a gift to God. God wants us to be a cheerful giver & be happy when others receive presents. We have a lot more Christmas traditions that occur during Christmas that talk about God in our home. Jesus showed a lot of love to us when he came to the earth to die for us. He wants us to love each other and to love him…& even our enemies. What is Christmas about? Christmas is about Jesus, God’s son, and our only key to eternal life in heaven. If we believe in him , Jesus will set us free from sin and open the door to heaven for us to go in. John 3:16 says “16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life”. I pray that you would learn to love Jesus this Christmas and accept him as Lord and Saviour.