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Helping Children Navigate Hard Situations

Do you remember being taught at school that plants need light to grow?  It is actually not true! How else do you think seeds manage to sprout and push up through the soil before they reach the surface?

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“Mom, I don’t want you to die, too,” said my 6-year-old one night. It was a bad night. Her dad was sleeping on the sofa in the living room while I tried to help her fall asleep in our bedroom.

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My husband, Joe, wasn’t dead but he sure looked like he was going to die. He had just been released from the hospital after surgery to remove part of his colon. For a month prior to the operation, he maintained a liquid diet to make sure his intestines wouldn’t rupture. Because of the danger of the surgery, we needed to buy as much time as possible for a better chance at a safe procedure with a good outcome.

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He survived the surgery and now he was home. Still, somehow my daughter was verbalizing what I was feeling – Joe looked half-dead and I was falling apart.

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Anxiety was keeping my daughter awake. This was her first time experiencing the nearness of death so personally. She needed to hear my comforting words affirming that her daddy was going to be okay.

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I couldn’t say the words she needed to hear. I had no idea if my husband was going to survive this ordeal or not. He was in a lot of pain, down to 147 pounds, and unhooked from the IV and antibiotics that had helped him look more alive in the hospital.

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What can we do to help our children grow in the midst of dark times?GROWING IN THE DARK | UNDETERRED.NET | ONEHOPE | LEIIZA GOMES

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Be an example to your children. You have heard this before: “Children are little sponges.” Well, they are! They will learn from you and incorporate what they see into their own lives. Teach them that they can find real peace in the darkest of times. But you can’t show them what you don’t have. Let them see you seeking God for peace. Seek Him together. This will be one of the most important life lessons you can teach your children.

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11

Be honest with your children. Talk about your feelings and your situation. Be a good listener and point them to the promises we have in Christ. God doesn’t want us to be frightened of the future.

Death is a hard topic for children, but it is a reality in all of our futures. God created a perfect world for us but sin corrupted it bringing sickness and death. And while that made God sad, He made a plan! Those who accept Christ as their personal Savior are going to live eternally with Christ in heaven. No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has ever even thought up what heaven is going to be like.[1] Our children need to hear this story and the hope of its ending.

Be consistent with your children. Show your children that we can always come to God no matter whether the problem is big or small. Remind them that God says we can come to him and He listens to us. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble.2 In your dark night, come to   God’s throne with your child to find the measure of mercy and grace you so desperately need.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

In our somber night God heard us.

Praise God Julee’s dad is now fully recovered! And she has been sleeping well ever since. While it was painful to watch her go through such a hard situation, it was beautiful to watch her tiny faith grow as, together, we fought fear with truth and experienced peace that can only come from God.

Here are some more great verses you share with a child who is going through a tough time:

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Leiza Gomes | OneHope | Undeterred.netLeiza Gomes has a passion to see children and youth find their true identity and purpose in Christ. Together with her husband, she served in overseas missions with youth in Germany and at-risk youth and children in Brazil. Leiza is both a graduate from the International School of Ministry in Boca Raton, FL and of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism. She currently works as a Project Design Manager developing tools to share the Gospel with children and youth around world with OneHope.


[1] 1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Psalm 46:1

 

AUTHOR

Leiza Gomes

Leiza Gomes has a passion to see children and youth find their true identity and purpose in Christ. Together with her husband, she served in overseas missions with youth in Germany and at-risk youth and children in Brazil. Leiza is both a graduate from the International School of Ministry in Boca Raton, FL and of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism. She currently works as a Project Design Manager developing tools to share the Gospel with children and youth around world with OneHope.

All stories by: Leiza Gomes