Friday, January 15, 2016

five things to tell your kids

Childhood pretty much sets the course for your life. Think about it. What's the earliest, most thorough memory you have? Not some blip of a memory, but a full-length, Blue-Ray-edition kind of memory.

Were you five? Six? Probably. You can't remember much beforehand because your brain is working like a crazy hashtag network, categorizing your new experiences and connecting all of your similar ones. Your five-and-younger-year-old brain is forming itself an understanding of the world. It works so hard to understand its surroundings that it doesn't have the time or energy to store memories.

All of this simply goes to say that the first five years of life are foundational--literally--and the years to come are still super formative.

So for those of us who have kids, let's take our charge as stewards of God's most precious creation as seriously as we can, because honorable people are raised, not born.

Hurt people hurt people. That hurt often leads to a lifetime of living a life God never wanted us to live. But so many of us live it and think it's normal and--worse--think it's what God intends when it's not. It's not. Jesus came to give us life to the full, not just any life.

So before your kids venture into the big unknown, make sure they hold these five truths close to their hearts:

1. You are loved.
God was intentional with how He made you. He likes your brown hair and your brown eyes. Those weren't mistakes. God looks at you and He is so pleased that you are made in His image. And He loves you for it--for bearing His likeness.

You can't earn His love. He loved you before you came into this world--His love for you existed before you did. It is before you, it stays with you, and remains after you're gone. Welcome it, bask in it, enjoy it because it is yours to claim.

2. You are important.
You were important to God long before people listened you. Long before people noticed you. Long before you believed it.

You are important to God because you are His child. And that is good enough.

3. You are seen.
God sees you. He knows you. Not just by name--God knows you by heart. What you're passionate about, fearful of, aspiring to. He put you right in the mess you're in. Not because He's punishing you. But because He's waiting to show you how much He loves you. Accept His love and be comforted by it.

4. You belong here.
Add up your fears, worries, and insecurities--God is bigger than all of those combined. God really is enough for you. You belong here, in our family, loved by us and by God, and living in His grace. We want you here. God wants you here.

5. You can count on God.
You can count on God to set you straight--and do whatever it takes to get you there. He'll climb mountains, leave you in silence, and let you run wild just so you can see that He was exactly what you were looking for the entire time. When you're ready to count on God, He'll be ready to deliver.