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 -