We cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. (CEV) 1 Corinthians 12:22
As your children grow, they will at times forget that God’s love is vast, that he loves us far beyond anything having to do with us. In fact, we can so easily forget this because we instead accept two competing lies.
One lie is God cannot love us because something is wrong with us. We’ve sinned too much, or we are too different from those around us. Maybe you have a child who is struggling with this lie right now.
I have a disability. While I have finally learned to fully trust God’s love, it didn’t come easily. I felt like I had to be “normal” (non-disabled) to truly be used by God, to in some way deserve his love. Accepting that lie harmed me a lot, and it may be harming your children or their friends right now. Don’t let your children believe that God cannot love them.
The other lie is God loves us because of how normal we are. Believing this lie warps our acceptance of God’s love, especially while we are still growing up,
The appearance of stability and normalcy can be a tempting idol for children, especially when being raised in a Christian culture. We see adults in our churches with stable jobs and what appear to be solid relationships and families without any problems. Our children can think that “normal” is all that God wants us to be.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with normalcy, but children need to witness how different kinds of lives can also be lived for God’s glory. You can help them by pointing out that a less-typical life—one of singleness, of uncertain careers, of unstable living situations, of mental health issues, of disability or long-term illness—are not indicators of God’s absence. Instead, they present us with opportunities to help people feel like they really do belong.
We should help our kids see that God loves each of his children. It is important that they understand his love has nothing to do with them being good or bad, normal or strange, certain or doubtful, healthy or ill. His love is deep enough to find them wherever they might be, and vast enough that it includes people we might otherwise ignore.
In fact, God’s love is so vast that he specifically includes those of us who some might see as unnecessary. He tells us to invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame” (Luke 14:13) to the banquet and that “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22). Help your child understand who in your community and church might feel left out, or like they don’t belong. Talk with them about the big things and the small things that can help them feel God’s love for them.
Picture books to share:
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Sharing Our Brokenness