“I will give you treasures hidden in dark and secret places. Then you will know that I, the Lord God of Israel, have called you by name.” (CEV) Isaiah 45:3
This week’s devotion talks about how life can be hard and good at the same time. Trust me. As a mother of three and the wife of a currently deployed military member, I am speaking from experience. I am walking my kids through a hard time right now. But in times like this, it’s important for me to remember that God has promised to give us “treasures hidden in dark and secret places” (Isaiah 45:3), because when I remember that, I can help my kids look for those treasures too.
But how do we help our kids find these gifts from God so that they “know that I, the Lord God of Israel, have called [them] by name” (Isaiah 45:3)? It can take a bit of work, but here are a few tricks I have picked up from trial and error, speaking with counselors, and attending workshops on helping kids manage their emotions in hard times.
Spend time with friends and family. Getting together with friends or family members can be a real treasure when things are tough. As Psalm 133:1 reminds us “It is truly wonderful when the people of God live together in peace.” It doesn’t matter if your child talks to their friends about what’s bothering them or simply plays with them, being with their special community can help them cope with their emotions.
Find your happy place. Whenever life is hard, I like to get outside. It could be as simple as playing in the backyard or going for a walk down the street. But, no matter what the weather is, getting my kids outside does wonders for their moods. Afterward, we all come inside calmer and we can have a conversation about what was bothering them.
If the outdoors is not a place that calms your kids, you could try other relaxation techniques like blowing up balloons, exercising, or doing yoga. Once your kids are in a better state of mind, try to encourage them to talk about what’s going on. Ask them open-ended questions about how they feel about their situation. Then try working together to brainstorm ideas on what they could do to make things feel a little better.
Be with God. Maybe your child doesn’t know what to say to God or maybe they're mad at God and don’t really want to talk to him at the moment. That’s okay. Remind them (and yourself) that when you’re hurting to the point you have no words, the “Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).
Life will be hard sometimes. But as 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 reminds us, God is with us in those hard times. He has given us “treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” And that is a beautiful thing.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Scripture Promises for Tough Times