Parenting

Bringing Up Faith in a Fallen World

“I’m moving to Canada.”
“We are a laughing-stock.”
“Even Adele says she feels sorry for us.”
“We are all doomed.”

Just by reading those four statements you know I am referring to modern-day USA deep in the trenches of an election season. So not only do we find “if it bleeds, it leads” stories that makes our stomach turn, our heads shake, our voices cry out in anger and sadness lamenting lives and innocence taken too soon, but we also have the pleasure of being thrashed into the ground with a “new” scandal from all sides every day.

It’s hard to find God let alone hardly any goodness in the news sometimes. And social media just fans the flames with many using their hidden political analysis background to voice their opinions across platforms. Even if you try your best to stay away from TV news, there is radio and the internet.

I generally allow limited news to flood my ears (and my children’s) on a daily basis. I stick to the lighter, inspirational stories and upbeat antics. I’m not in denial. I have a degree journalism and I have reported on all topics. I know the horrors that are happening all over the world. And while it’s important to be informed, I have to remember that I cannot save everyone. And when I watch the news, I want to put on my cape and scoop up every living thing hurting and save them. But I can’t. I was not born to this earth to save the world.

That stings in all the soft places in my heart. But I remember who died to save us all. Who has overcome the world. Who brings light to the dark, who calls the tree to bear fruit – Jesus. And when I think of Jesus and all he has done for me, I look at my children and wonder – how can I raise them to be strong in faith when so many doubt Him?

How can I show my children examples of God’s love on TV, radio and the internet? What is considered “family-friendly” varies station-to-station. And I’m not saying my kids need to be sheltered from all that is happening out in the world but don’t our kids deserve to actually be kids?

Sex, violence, our inexcusable rape-culture – all of it – is slapped, front and center on the TVs screens. In hopes of what? I’m not sure; all I know is that I have to try. I have to walk this tightrope balancing between appropriate entertainment and what isn’t; a lot of it is gray area. All I can do is walk the rope and hope that I gave them enough of a balance – not sheltering them from the world completely but also protecting them from ridiculous things that have some how made the evening news.

I have to remember that God gave us free will; we didn’t earn it or deserve it but He gave it and his love freely. The same goes for our children. Their free will may drive us to the crazy some days but its the spirit God gave them. It’s part of their purpose and passion with Christ. And we are here as their parents to help fine tune it, not on our own but with Christ guiding us.

So how do I keep Jesus in my home with so much turmoil? I could sit here and read scripture to all my kids every night. We could say a prayer  before each meal. We could go to church and Bible study every Sunday and Wednesday. All those are great things to do but for us it’s more than just saying scripture, our nightly prayers and attending church. It’s about being active members of the faith.

A perfect example of this happened on Sunday. My husband was nursing a terrible hangover from his brother’s diaper shower and didn’t make it back home in time to join us for church. I warned him the night before that if he planned on drinking quite a bit (we are social drinkers, which basically means we are the reigning regional lightweight champions) to stay there.  So when we returned home from church, he suggested we order pizza. My husband LOVES to cook so I knew right then and there that if he actually wanted to pay for pizza and not smoke something on the grill that he was hurting. Knowing we needed milk for baby girl and snacks for J’s school, we debated who would run to the store. He wanted to soon winced and suggested I go. Price Chopper, gas, pizza. Easy enough. I picked up a few groceries with ease but when I went to go fill up his car – that’s when it all started to fall apart. I swiped the debit card at the pump, opened the car door and put my card back in my wallet (or so I thought). I filled up the gas tank, hopped in his hamster car (my soldier drives a Kia Soul) and drove off to the pizza place. Minutes later, I was in the parking lot of the pizza shop. I grabbed my wallet and started to walk toward the door. I walked into the restaurant and waited in line to pick up our food. I opened my wallet and begin searching for my debit card. Driver’s license, Target card, military I.D., library card … where was my debit card? My chest tightened. Okay, I know I put it in here. I stepped out of line and starting walking back to my car with a look of worry plastered on my face. I emptied out my wallet, thumbed through the cards – nothing. I got back into my car and retraced my steps over and over again. I just had it, how could I have lost it?! C’mon girl, I thought. Just relax. It’s here.

But I kept looking, digging into the crevasses around the seat cushions. Nothing. Nada. I begin to question everything. I had the windows down, did I toss it inside the car only for it to blow out the window and onto the concrete? I thought for sure it has slipped into my purse but I shook it so hard that every thing came out of it but the kitchen sink. Then my phone started buzzing – it was my soldier. I could hear him saying “how could you lose your debit card?” So I rejected the call. I was panicking and I didn’t need him making me more upset. I already felt nuts. I drove back to the gas station. Nothing. I started to search around the floor board of his car. He called again. And again. I finally answered upset and taken aback by my tone, he became upset and told me to go grab the pizza. He would pay for it over the phone. This whole time I could feel something telling me to stay calm, it would turn up. But I ignored it.

I picked up the pizza, drove home, took the pizza inside and asked that he start feeding our now cranky children. I went back outside to look for the card, as if I needed to punish myself and find the card before eating a slice. Ridiculous, I know but I was determined to find that card. I opened the car door and for some reason decided to get down on one knee. I could feel it. Stay calm, Kristin. So I prayed. I have said out loud “Oh God no” or “please God” when something has happened but to actually pray about losing my debit card? I pray about serious stuff, the stuff that keeps you up at night, worried sick, but my debit card? It’s so trivial. I mean, the worse-case scenario is that I call my bank on Monday, cancel the card and get a new one. But I prayed. I took a deep breath and asked God to help calm my anxious heart and to open my eyes. I opened my eyes, grabbed my wallet once again and flipped it open and there it was. It practically flew out of my wallet and onto my seat! On top of several other cards! Front and center for my eyes to see. I let out a big sigh of relief and shook my head.

I came inside to share my story but debated what I should say. Should I tell them I found it under the seat so it don’t seem like a crazy person who lost her debit card in her own wallet? Do I tell the truth? And He spoke to me, again. I shared the truth, how I prayed and how the card basically flew at me. My oldest was amazed. I used the story as a teaching moment for my son to remind him and me that we need God for the smaller things in life just as much as we need him for the bigger things.

I admitted to my husband that I ignored his calls because I was worried of his judgement. He reminded me of my greatest issues in our relationship  – assuming. I assumed he would make a snarky comment like he had (we both have) in the past but instead when I admitted what I had done, he said “You know, I might have said that before but I wasn’t going to say it now. That’s why I told you to calm down, get the pizza and come home. We all lose stuff.”

Another reminder that I’m not the only person working toward a better, calmer and more peaceful self. This Sunday was full of gentle reminders, to be gentle with myself and others, and to never forget how powerful the God I serve is.

So, to sum up this long post. It’s every day moments like this that I use to help grow the seed of faith instilled in my children’s hearts. I’ll help them water it but it’ll be up to them to really grow that relationship with Jesus. And I know, when they are ready, he will help them blossom into the persons he created them to be.

We pray, we go to church, we read scripture, we use the “God App,” as H calls it. It’s the Bible App for Kids and he loves it. I don’t push God on my kids, I keep the door open and bring him up in everyday life situations like I mentioned before because he’s with us in the every day. He’s not just in church, he’s in our homes. He’s in the muck, in the joy, in the bittersweet moments – that’s where you will find Him. And that’s how I plan to bring up the faith in my home, in my world. For at the end of the day, it’s not about us saving the world. It’s about us reaching out to those He has asked us to help in our world.

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