Updated: Oct 24
Dear Church Family,
“I feel like I have a smoothie of emotions, all mixed up together.” This was how my son described his back-to-school feelings to me earlier this week. Anxiety, anticipation, fear, excitement, and “blurbling” (the swirling feeling somewhere between joy and anger, he explained) were all in the mix. He’s not alone. It’s hard to face the unknowns that lie ahead.
So what can we say or do to support and encourage our kids as they (and we all) struggle with our fears about the future? We can’t take the uncertainties away, but we can offer these (distinctly Christian) gifts:
A is for Affirmation:
We can affirm what is good and true in the present. Listen out for little things we can say YES to: Yes, you’ve worked so hard to prepare. Yes, it’s frustrating but the tears show that you care and that’s a good thing. Yes, you are loved no matter what by God and by me. Yes, you are made in God’s image and you really matter to him. Yes, even if you failed this time, it doesn’t define you and it doesn’t define your future. You are not alone. I see you. I am with you.
B is for Blessing:
Scripture says our words - of blessing or of curse - have real impact (Matthew 16:19). Although it’s mysterious, God imparts his favor and protection through the words we speak to and over one another. Jude 1:2 is a quick and easy blessing to memorize and pass on: “Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.” When I have a few more seconds before the flurry of backpacks and lunches fly out the door in the morning, my kids get the full “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face shine upon you” treatment from Numbers 6:24. We have authority to bless in Jesus’ name.
C is for Confidence:
Even if today is uncertain, Christian hope teaches us that God has promised us his presence for all our tomorrows. We can give the gift of perspective: a confident assurance that no matter what, there are some things we can always know the outcomes of. We can remind those around us that we belong to Jesus, and come what may, that means our future is secure. No effort we put in today will ultimately be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58), and nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
There’s a lot we don’t know. But we can know some big, anchoring things that make all the difference. Let’s Affirm, Bless, and instill hope-filled Confidence.
You are loved. May the Lord bless you and keep you this week, just as He will forever more. (<== see what I did there?)
Pastor of Discipleship and Women