Encouragement for Today
“How the Story Ends”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (NIV)
It had been a disappointing week for my kids. Brooke had hoped for a solo in the school play but did not get it. Mark’s and Jackson’s basketball team lost a big game. Ashley did not do as well as she had hoped at a gymnastics meet. Hope scored low on a test in a subject she usually did well in. Though the events were small in the grand scheme of life, they were big to them in the frame of this week. They got over the disappointment quickly, but as a mom, it hurt to see them hurt.
Now, I am not one of these moms who carry their children’s successes about them as a mantle. I don’t advertise their achievements to bring me glory, and I don’t beat myself up for their losses, wondering what I could have done to help them more. No, they win and lose on their own merit. I learned a while back not to take too much credit for their good or too much blame for their bad. Yet, when they rejoice, I rejoice. And, when they hurt, I hurt.
So when the Saturday of the hard week came, I decided to surprise the kids and take them all to see the movie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. We had been reading the book together, and they were excited to escape into the world of Narnia, full of adventure, danger, and struggles between good and evil.
During one of the scary scenes, Brooke asked if she could come and sit in my lap. I held her tight as I watched the evil witch slay the beautiful lion. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, you’ll remember this scene well. The rich correlation to the crucifixion of Jesus will take your breath away. Several of my kids cried during this scene, not because of fear but because of the truth of what Christ did for us. Through her tears, Brooke whispered in my ear, “Mommy, how does the story end? Is Aslan going to be okay? Does he win?”
I whispered back, “Brooke you already know the answer to that question. This story is written on your heart.” That’s as much as I could get out before I got choked up. Then my tears fell as Brooke answered back, “Oh yes, Mommy, I know the real story.” The joy that swept over me in that moment far outweighed any accomplishments of my children. My children know Jesus. The real story is written on their hearts. The real story impacts their actions. The real story changes their perspectives. The real story secures their eternity. That’s a mother’s greatest joy.
Like a mother, the disciple John had many spiritual children whom he loved to rejoice with when things were going well – and to hurt with when things weren’t going so well. His third letter was written as an encouragement note to Gaius, one of his spiritual children, because he knew the truth about the person of Jesus Christ and faithfully lived it out.
Think about all the questions that rumble about in a mother’s heart. How are my kid’s doing? Do they have good manners? Do they know what to do in an emergency? Are they being equipped to handle life outside our home? Do they handle wins and losses with grace? Are they getting a good education? Are they eating enough vegetables? Are they secure? Do they know that they are loved? The list goes on.
While I do want to equip my children to be well-rounded, responsible adults, I must not miss what’s most important. Of all the things I teach them, I must place their relationship with Jesus at the top of the list. More than just going through the motions of “doing church,” I must asses whether or not I am fostering in them a desire for their own personal relationship with Jesus.
That day at the movies turned out to be more than a pick-me-up for my kids. It was a day to rejoice that my youngest daughter knew and believed about her precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Can you rejoice that your children know Him personally? If you are unsure, ask God to give you a moment like the one I described where you can have a spiritually defining moment with each of them.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, help me to be a mother who is always mindful of where my children are in their spiritual journey. I long to model the Christian life and lead them by example in what it means to have a personal relationship with You. The cry of my heart is that I will be able to rejoice with them as they grow to understand how the real story ends. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
List some ways you have or would like to teach your children about God.
Here are some to get you started:
Read Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:4-9, and -21.
God told the Israelites to teach their children about Him so that future generations would not be tempted to turn from Him and follow other gods. He knew that the inhabitants of the Promised Land worshipped false gods and idols which would influence the Israelites.
An idol is a false god that comes between you and your relationship with the one true God. It is anything that comes before God in your life. As you think about this definition of a god, think about the gods your children face in our culture. List some of these gods as they come to mind. How can you, as a parent, teach your kids about Him and make Him so real and important to them that they are not tempted to follow other gods?
Isaiah 54:13, “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 13:11-12, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (NIV)
Matthew 19:13-14, “Then the children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (NIV)
The Bathtub is Overflowing, But I Feel Drained, by Lysa TerKeurst
New release for July
P31 Woman Magazine
Spiritual Warfare and Praying for Your Kids, ETC Corner article