I’d planned to submit articles this month that all had to do with Christmas and all of the challenges that marriages and families face throughout the holiday season.
Things don’t always go as planned, do they?
Instead, I can’t seem to get the families affected by the tragedy in Connecticut off my mind. My heart hurts for them. Deeply. As painful as my story has been, my baby went to Heaven due to a birth defect… not because of senseless violence. I have the peace of knowing that all my baby girl ever knew was love, and she spent her whole life in the arms of people who loved her.
So, my heart is broken, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you all about handling devastating news when you have children. I appreciated a post from a fellow counselor earlier today. She stated that she’d talked to her children about the news because she wanted them to hear it from her rather than from someone else. She talked to them about how there are people in the world who do bad things, even though things like this don’t happen often, and gave them a chance to talk about any concerns they had.
If you have children, it is important to help them feel safe. Pray with them about their concerns. Let them express their feelings (drawing, writing, talking, or whatever seems to fit for them). Encourage them to talk about any questions they have. If you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.”
There are many things in life that we just don’t know. We don’t know all the reasons bad things happen, but according to scripture, God always has a plan. We don’t always know why “good” people suffer, but we know that God LOVES us… and will never just toy with us. We don’t know why God allowed this tragedy, but we can trust that He will work through even this.
This is not the first time evil has made a mark on this world. Unfortunately, it will not be the last.
However, we can use every opportunity to reassure our children (and ourselves) that God is still on the throne. We can focus on the good things in history that have come from bad situations.
One example from scripture comes from the story of Joseph. After being sold into slavery (and all of the trials that followed), Joseph was able to comfort his brothers and say to them,
“But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
When tragedy strikes, we can’t change what happened. But, we can use life’s teachable moments to share with our children about God’s love and plans for us. We can reassure them (and again, ourselves) that God knows what He’s doing, even when we don’t understand; and even when it hurts. God has not forgotten His children. He didn’t stop loving. He’s incapable of not loving – He IS love. We can’t forget that in the face of tragedy.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whateveris pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com and sign up for the mailing lists!