How to Help Your Children When They are Afraid
On two of our most recent walks, my friend Michele has been brainstorming about a Bible study she wants to do with her children. She wants to focus on teaching them who God is.
The women's study I'm involved in right now is centered around the attributes of God. And as a family, we've gone through a season of recent doctor's appointments, medical tests and surgery, that has forced me back into my battle with worry...with peace being found the more and more I fix my eyes on God and His character.
I truly believe that one of the best gifts we can give our children is an amazing, awe-inspiring, powerful, hope-filled view of who God is.
In her newly published book, Fear and Faith, my friend Trillian Newbell, shares that whatever the cause for our fear--
"As we meditate on the character of god and remember His holiness (Psalm 77:13), omniscience (Psalm 147:5), sovereignty (Deuteronomy 4:39), and love (John 3:16), we begin to experience the beginning of wisdom and understanding (Psalm 111:10). When (we) begin to intentionally think about God's character, (we) start to experience true freedom in Christ and joy in the Lord."
If we know God's unchanging, immutable character:
When we have failed and sinned,
Then we can trust that God is Faithful, Merciful, and Gracious.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore, I will hope in Him.' " --Lamentations 3:22-24
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." --Hebrews 4:16
When life feels scary or this world seems out-of-control,
Then we can remind ourselves that God is All-Powerful, Sovereign, and Mighty.
"O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in Heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you." --2 Chronicles 20:6
"Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." --Jeremiah 32:17
When we are tempted and are wrestling with sin,
Then we must seek forgiveness because God is Holy, Just, and Good.
"But the Lord sits enthroned forever; He has established His throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; He judges the peoples with uprightness." --Psalm 9:7 &8
"But let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord." --Jeremiah 9:24
When we are confused or feel lost and need wisdom,
Then we can look to Him, our God who is All-knowing and Wise.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him as God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him." --James 1:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." --Proverbs 3: 5 &6
When we are hurting, sad, lonely or scared,
Then we will remember that God is Everywhere and that He loves us.
"The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth." --Psalm 145:18
"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love." --Zephaniah 3:17
When our children were just toddlers, we helped them memorize (words with hand motions) some simple phrases about who God is. It can be just that simple--
God is loving.
God is wise.
God knows everything.
God is powerful.
God is everywhere.
There are also several resources that may be helpful. Sally Michael's children's book-- God's Names is excellent, as well as Catherine Mackenzie's Learn About God board book series for toddlers. And if you can find a used copy of God Says I Am, you've found a treasure!
But the best thing we can do as parents, is know and love God ourselves, and then show and share the relationship we have with Him to our children.
"And this is eternal life; that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." --John 17:3
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