Our older son is hitting that age where the questions are beginning. If you have older, or pre-teen kids, you know the questions I’m talking about. In our case . . . it’s not “THAT” question (yet). But judging by the questions we’ve had lately, that one is around the corner. God, please help me!
It’s no secret we don’t live “normal” lives. We do things differently. As a result, we react to things differently. Furthermore, we behave differently in public. And our son is at that age where he is beginning to catch on to what’s different. While we surely don’t want to shelter our kids to the point they are set up for failure, we do need to address and calm the fears, questions, and topics as they arise. Consequently, if it warrants, explain some of the realities of life.
One of the heavy questions came after my husband arrived home from a long day of SWAT training—obstacle course and all. He had just offloaded the last of his gear and we were enjoying a quiet conversation about the events of the day when he got the call. And when I say “the call,” every police wife knows exactly what I’m talking about. So he jumped up and began to re-pack the 50 plus-pounds of SWAT gear. Without my knowledge, our son quietly listened as Daddy briefly explained the situation. Simultaneously, I helped grab clean socks and retrieved his guns from the safe. As the door closed, I glanced over and saw the grim look on our son’s face as tears began to stream down his precious cheeks.
Class in session
“Mom, what does suicide mean?” followed by many other heavy questions. “What’s going to happen to Daddy?” . . . “Why did he have his big gun with him?” . . . “Why was he running?” . . . “Is daddy going to be ok?”
Every morning I pray and attempt to prepare to face the day, never knowing what will come our way. I ask God to prepare me for each situation I will face, to guard our little family of four, and even for the questions I will encounter. Especially relevant, I ask Him to guide, lead, and direct our steps. And no matter how prepared I may feel, it never fails, I am still met with challenges and questions beyond my ability to humanly answer.
Faith in action
I gently took our son’s hands and we knelt down in prayer. First, we prayed for God to keep Daddy and all first responders safe. For him the wisdom to make the right choices and decisions as he faced this potentially dangerous call. And for God to help calm our son’s fears as we trust in Him. Then, we prayed for the person who had reached the end of their rope that they would find the help and “Hope” we have.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:5-8 NLT).
One by one, as the heavy questions came, I explained them as best I could, and sparing too many details. But most importantly, reminding our son of the Hope we have from above.
Yet heavy questions have and will continue to come. There are questions wondering if Mommy and Daddy will be okay after overhearing a disagreement; questions asking why officers are violently gunned down; he asks about people getting cancer; questions about his friend losing his mom at such a young, tender age. Seems like these are questions this mom doesn’t always feel capable of answering.
Honesty breeds trust
But the beautiful thing is? We aren’t required to have all the answers.
We can simply lift up a prayer and rely on God to help guide us. To guide our thoughts, our speech, and our action. With His help, we can assure our children that, just because the situation looks or feels hopeless, we always have a HOPE we can look UP to. Things won’t always make sense. Things won’t always go as planned. But we have a God in heaven that we can always count on. Even when He feels far away . . . we can trust He is only a prayer away.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT).
– Melinda Merritt