Wednesday, November 8, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Life Is NOT Fair

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No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18, TLB ~

Our kids suffer more than average. I don't think that's an exaggeration. Every child hits some bumps in the road with friendships, with illness, with heartaches. We raise our children with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and rare diseases to have a life that is as "normal" as possible. Yet, with the increased number of needle pokes, hospitalizations, therapies, surgeries, school difficulties, bullying, and just hoping to have one good friend they can trust, our kids are fighting an uphill battle.

Is it any wonder that they can start to become a bit hardened or jaded by life once they reach their teen years?

As a mom who has walked her kids through their tiniest years of accepting their differences, to school age, middle school, high school, and now college years, I want to encourage you to take heart! It's so easy for we parents to become discouraged when we hear our children verbalize their bitterness towards life. Hearing, "It's just not fair," from your child when you have tried to raise them to have a godly attitude towards challenges can make you feel like you've failed. But I want to challenge us to keep on keeping on without buying into that lie.

Our kids need us to keep speaking God's truth into them, especially as they get closer to adulthood. Since my kids have been little I have reminded them, "Life is NOT fair." We live in a broken world fractured by the sin Adam and Eve so carelessly invited. But that truth seems to be ineffective in explaining their reality to them now. All of the hardships and differences continue to make them feel like they always get the short end of the stick. In this life there are winners and losers, and THEY are definitely in the losing column.

While it breaks our hearts as parents, and we can see that by all appearances their perception seems accurate, we can still serve as ambassadors of the Lifter of their heads. Here are some other godly truths our kids need spoken into their lives as they grow:

  1. Comparison is a joy-killer — Throughout Scripture we see that God assures us that we are each uniquely made. (See Psalm 139:1-16, Matthew 10:29-31, & 1 Peter 2:9 just to name a few.) When we look at what others have that we do not have, it renders us discontent and ineffective. (See John 21:20-22 & 1 Corinthians 12) Focusing on what others have to a point of great discontentment is idolatry, straight up. I know that I have been guilty of this sin and it can spill into my kids. Instead of continuing to walk in that bitterness, I find it more effective to applaud and accentuate the wonderful gifts that God has given to each person in our family. Treasuring unique memories that we have fostered as a family has been especially great at kicking that comparison to the curb.
  2. Remember gratitude — There is not one day that goes by where we don't have SOMETHING to be grateful for. Even on our worst days, most of us have adequate food, clothing, and a roof over our heads. There is ALWAYS someone who has it worse than you. ALWAYS. We become what our brains focus on, so filling our minds with what we're grateful for crowds out the negativity. (See Proverbs 23:7 & Philippians 4:4-9 regarding our thought life.)
  3. Jesus guaranteed trouble with a happy outcome — Not one of us is ever promised smooth sailing in this world. In fact, Jesus promised the opposite in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We need to constantly remind ourselves and our kids that our circumstances DO NOT have the final say! We are just passing through this world as we march towards eternity. Letting the disappointments slide off of us and remembering that a mansion is being built for us right now helps to diffuse some of that negative emotion.
  4. We will never understand it all — Trying to figure out what seems unfair in this life is an exercise in futility. First off, God tells us that the way He thinks and acts are totally out of our league. (See Isaiah 55:8-9) Although God does reveal Himself and His mind on given topics, we may never know specifically why He allows certain things this side of heaven. Second, we don't know what others may be experiencing behind closed doors. While their lives may look like they are living on Easy Street, they may be experiencing horrible trials we would never want to exchange for our own. Finally, there are things that we may not understand right now because of inexperience and immaturity. As we grow, that changes. I love the Amplified Bible's translation of 1 Corinthians 13:12 which aptly states, "For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]." 
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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
~ Romans 121:12, NIV ~

Parents, I don't have to tell you that life is hard. You live that reality every day. But I do need to remind you that God is good in spite of it all. The Holy Spirit equips us to do hard things. Let's press on together, reminding our children of that. Because of what our families endure, God has given us a unique platform to share our lives with the world. Let's be an inspirational poem, not a horror story.

Pray with me...

Lord, we parents feel like we have to have all the right answers for our children, especially as they struggle. Put Your words and wisdom into our hearts and mouths. Help us to teach our children that life is not fair — it certainly wasn't when you took our place on the cross — but You ARE good. Give us insights on how to inspire them to greatness. May we not miss the opportunity to point the world to You, not just in spite of, but because of our circumstances.

~ Barb Dittrich

4 comments:

  1. "God has given us a unique platform to share our lives with the world. Let's be an inspirational poem, not a horror story." This is a very a very empowering statement, thank you.

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