Research shows that children thrive on structure and consistency, both of which help build trust between a child and their caregiver(s). Little ones like to know that they’re going to eat around the same time every day, that they have to brush their teeth and get dressed, that you’ll help clean up a boo-boo, and they especially love the feeling of security that comes from showing affection to their bids for attention. “Normal” for a child is what you create and order in their world. They like knowing that 1+1 always equals 2 and that the sequencing of letters when they sing the B-I-B-L-E song doesn’t change, no matter how many times they belt it out.
Stability feels good. We know that to be true as adults too. So, what happens when “normal” is turned upside down for them, for you, and in our world? What happens when you have to tell your family that you won’t be going on the trip you’ve saved for all year? Imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to not understand what a pandemic is or even know how to spell the word and why it’s making life feel so hard. What happens when a child can sense fear in mommy or worry in daddy but they don’t know how to ask “why?” What happens when “normal” is anything but in the world?
As caregivers, our instinct is to protect, to shield, and to guard. There’s a reason why “momma bear” is a term after all! The inability to make everything “better” during times of crisis can make hard times feel even more burdensome. While uncomfortable, these times reveal our inability as humans to have total control over our circumstances. It’s in these moments that most people seek out what is constant, stable, and normal. And it’s in this searching that you may find yourself right at the source of total peace... Jesus.
When words fail you in finding answers to your family’s questions, and even your own, or when you just need a reminder that you are not alone, here are a few biblical truths that you can ground yourself on today:
God is working even in the midst of confusion. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
Worry and peace aren't meant to coexist. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27 NIV
Trials can make you stronger. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
God cares about you. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 NIV
He really, really cares! “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 ESV
This season won't last forever. “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens... He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1;11 NIV
As caregivers, we have incredible power that influences the trajectory of our family’s day-to-day lives. For as strong as we try to be, our partners and children can sense when we are stressed and burdened. Feelings of worry and anxiety can threaten to take over peace and order in our homes, but let’s be resolved to take time out of our day to stop and meditate on God’s Word which is always true and always available. Let these reminders help you and your loved ones grow closer together in hard times and strengthen your shared bonds of faith, family, and hope.