It was a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. As I made my way up and down the aisles in the grocery story, my wandering thoughts went home to be with one of my children who was hurting. Passing the Valentine’s Day candy, I was reminded of the days when my children were young and they could be cheered up with a hug, a prayer, and a treat. Not anymore. I grabbed a heart shaped box of chocolates and placed it in my cart anyway. “At least he’ll know I love him and I’m praying for him.” I thought. I drove home, put away my groceries, made my way to his room, and placed the candy on his pillow. He’d find it when he got home from work.
I miss the days when a hug from me was enough to comfort my kids during difficult times. As they have gotten older and life has taken its toll, a mother’s love is not enough to get them through the hard times. I cry when they cry. I hurt when they hurt. When they are nervous or confused, my stomach is in knots right along with theirs. It just comes with the territory of being a mom. We know in our heads that the trials of life can be used to grow our children up, mature them, and direct them to God. But I am convinced they are just as much for our growth and maturity as they are for theirs.
As much as we’d like to think we can, we cannot make it all better for our children and we never could. But we can direct them, as we direct our own hearts, to God and to responding correctly. Not only will it help our children to learn how to respond, but it will help train our mother’s heart to depend on and trust God with our children. It will remind us that we are not in control.
Here are 11 things we can do to help our children through difficult times:
- Pray! Pray for them. Pray with them.
- Enter into their trial with them. Even if their trial seems small to you, remember it is not small to them. Don’t treat it like it is small.
- Pray that the trial would not distract them from God.
- Be available to talk. Ask questions. Let them know you are there.
- Take them out to lunch or coffee.
- Leave them a gift or note on their pillow letting them know you are praying for them.
- Tell them they don’t have to feel awkward about how they feel, that it is normal, and that you understand.
- Hug them. A lot!
- Ask them regularly, “How can I help you right now?”
- If you see them choosing to spend time in the Word and see them responding well, make sure you let them know that you see it and that you are proud of them.
- And make sure you take the time to thank God for the work He is doing in your child’s life, and in yours!
Parenting is never easy. It changes with time, but it never gets easy. It has been used in my life to make me aware of my constant, desperate need for God and has caused me to throw myself at His feet for help and wisdom.And that is exactly what it was meant to do!