Monday, September 8, 2014

Honest Questions

"Sometimes I question myself and wonder, 'Is Jesus really real?'" These were words from my middle child the other night, my little 7 year old Jaylyn. She is my little ball of fire who tries everything thing her big brother and sister do. Her heart is tender and thinking is deep.

It's been over a year since my grandma passed away and we all miss her, but it's Jaylyn who is still grieving the most. There are still nights when I tuck her in and the tears start to fall. She will again say, "I miss Grandma B. I wish she didn't die." We often recall a memory, share a story and pray for comfort. Minutes pass, the tears stop and she's ready for bed.

The other night was different...there were no tears, but there wasn't her typical smile either, just a serious look and a big question. I know my children must make their faith their own, but honestly I wasn't expecting this deep conversation with a 7 year old. So I quickly prayed for wisdom and then shared what God put on my heart.

I talked with her about how it can be hard to understand Jesus is real and God is really there when hard things happen like death. She just nodded her head and then I proceeded to tell her a story about my last conversation with Grandma B. They had called the whole family home, hospice was coming in and her condition was worsening.

I approached my grandma laying on the couch, we talked for a bit and I asked if I could pray. She nodded, I took her hands in mine and began to talk with God. As I did her breathing eased, her body relaxed and peace filled us both. In that moment I knew she was ready and I was reminded God was real.

As I shared with Jaylyn she listened and I prayed asking God to help her see Him. Then I asked her, "How can we know Jesus is real?" She confidently responded, "Because the Bible says so." And then was ready for the conversation to end.

So she went to sleep and my mind went to work. I found myself praying one minute and worrying the next. I also realized these are honest questions, ones we all have and should at one time or another. Life is hard, sometimes God's plan doesn't make sense and His ways aren't the ones we'd choose, but yet in those moments He works. He showed Himself to me as I said my earthly good-bye to one I loved and offered peace the world can't provide and I'd never be able to create. So friend, let me encourage you to ask God, or a trusted friend who will point you to Him, the hard, honest questions.

Once I realized my daughter's question was OK and natural, I began to pray and ask God for insight. He brought two different scriptures to mind. The first guided my prayer for Jaylyn - in Mark 9:24 the man with a sick boy says, "I believe; help my unbelief." For the last week I've been praying for my daughter's, well all of my children's, faith. Asking God to increase it and make it real.

The second passage that was quickly on my heart was Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."  These words guided my prayer for me and encouraged me yet again to live the faith I claim. My children are watching and as the saying goes, "More will be caught than taught."

Friend, I appreciate your prayers for my little Jaylyn as she makes her faith her own and for me as I try to live out Deuteronomy 6! Also if you have any words of wisdom, my ears are open!! And finally if you have questions yourself, follow my daughter's lead and ask away...I may not know the answer, but I will pray and ask God to give you the answer!

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