Teach Them That Life Is Messy
When you have children like it or not you expose them to things that are dangerous, scary, and messy. It’s not on purpose but as your life is happening messy things come about. As they live their lives they get into messes. It is unavoidable. The lessons you teach in the mess have so much more to do with how you handle the mess then how it came about. God has never promised us a mess free life. Jesus actually told us that in this world we will have many troubles but not to worry because we are not of this world.
I have watched my child choke, lost my son on a ski slope, and visited the scene of his accident that looked like the Back To The Future Ride for those who remember it. I have walked into a hospital room praying, survived accidents with them, and watched their hearts break into pieces. Life is so very messy. They have watched us step into frightening situations and come out a hero, and they have watched us claw our way out of situations. They have seen us grieve, celebrate, stand up for ourselves, fight unnecessarily, be forgiving and patient, and be short and stubborn. But the one thing they have never seen us do is falter in our faith. They have heard me scream at God, they have heard me cry out to him, but they have never seen me let go of him and I pray they never will.
I know you have a story and as my Aunt Lee would say I’m sure some of it is an ugly story. That’s okay. Maybe your children have some parts of their story that are ugly too. Tell God your ugly story and ask him to make sense of it over time. I speak to my clients about Radical Acceptance, and I will mention it often here as well. Radical Acceptance is accepting the tapestry of your life just as it is, realizing that it is all part of your story. Recently my friend Angie taught me to quilt. By the way it is much harder than it looks. You take little pieces of cloth, and you sew them together into what looks like a very ragged uncoordinated mess at first. But as you go along and reinforce stitches and bring in more material eventually you end up with a beautiful product. Your life quilt may look very messy. You may wish you had avoided certain experiences, protected your children from certain things, or behaved in a different way. That’s okay. God is still working on your quilt. He is reinforcing the stitches, bringing you new material, and preparing you for your next journey.