You asked me if I care about your children and my heart sank right into my chest. Oh, how that hurt. Do I want your children—or mine—to grow up in a world full of danger and evil?
I didn’t answer then. The words I saw sprawled across the internet were written in black and white but they were painted in frustration, and there was nothing I could say to convince you or have you trust my intentions. But today, as the sun shines bright and the cold wind rips the golden leaves from the trees I’ll tell you, if you’ll try to listen, what I want for our children.
I want our children, yours and mine, to walk through life without the fear that lurks in dark corners and jumps out behind new neighborhoods, new people, and a 24 hour news cycle. I want our children to know the Creator of the Universe is with them and has reminded them over and over again that His hand is on them and no matter what happens, He is there.
I want our children to make the words written in Matthew 25 so much a part of their lives that they cannot help to see the Imago Dei in each and every person they meet. I want our children to live a life of service and community.
I want our children to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. I want them to know lament. I want them to know joy.
I want our children to trust that God is true even if every human they meet is a liar.
I want our children to do the hard things, relying only on God’s grace.
But there’s so much more.
I want our children to laugh and play with the girls in their class who wear the hijab.
I want our children to smile at the neighbors as we walk by, without fear, just God’s love shining through.
I want our children to know real freedom. Not the kind we try to give here, but the kind that is only found through walking with God.
I want our children to have Kingdom dreams, not the American Dream.
I want our children to live out the things we teach them on Sunday mornings, walking by faith so they will be counted with the saints.
I want our children to live a life of radical grace.
I want our children to be world changers, not just in name but truly ready to walk in the unknown instead of retreating into a desire for safety and comfort.
We serve a God who asks us over and over to do what seems impossible. He asks Abraham to sacrifice his own child. He asks us to walk into fiery furnaces. To sleep with the lions. To sell off all that we have to follow Him. He asks us to live in such an extravagant way that we treat all those around us as if they are God in the flesh. He tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars but to fear not.
Friends, he tells us not to fear. He says He is with us. He gives us assurance over and over again even as He asks us to do the impossible. I cannot read the words of my Jesus without saying my door is open. I cannot turn away those in need. The commands to love others without reservation far outweigh anything that hints at self-preservation. I am compelled by the Gospel to welcome the refugee. And I want that for my children, and yours as well. Not because of a pie in the sky idea that love wins and all will be okay, and certainly not out of political correctness. I welcome the refugee because Jesus so radically welcomed me. And that is what I want for our children.
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3 thoughts on “What I Want for Our Children”
Oh Brenna, thank you for these words. That is what I want for our children, too. And it is seen these days as so un-American, so un-Christian, isn’t it? When I read the gospel, this is exactly what I see though. I absolutely love that my daughter gravitates towards non-white children because she wants to know their culture, that seeing someone in a hijab doesn’t frighten her because she was held by Muslims who loved her dearly as a baby. She is learning trust instead of fear that I didn’t know as a child. I am unlearning fear and fighting hard against it. May we all radically welcome as we were welcomed! Amen.
“I want our children to know the Creator of the Universe is with them and has reminded them over and over again that His hand is on them and no matter what happens, He is there.” Brenna, this is something I think we all need to remember. I’m reminded of a scene in The Silver Chair, when Puddleglum and the children were asked in the name of Aslan to release the bonds of the prince who was bound to the chair. They were afraid because they had been told that he would kill them and become a serpent if he were released. But they were supposed to do whatever was asked of them in Aslan’s name. So Puddleglum said that Aslan never told Jill Pole what would happen, he just told her what she must do.So even though they were scared and even though they might have died, they obeyed the sign Aslan had given them. Turns out they were safe and it was the right thing to do. God asks us to do hard things and sometimes we wonder if we’re really supposed to do a certain thing, but we remember that He is with us and we don’t have to know the outcome before we follow through. These times we live in are hard and it is hard to know what to do sometimes, but I believe if we keep our eyes on God, we will be given wisdom to know what is our part. Sorry this is so long, but I just wanted to share that thought. May God give us love and grace and wisdom to do what is right in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. Thank you Brenna for sharing your heart thoughts.
What I want for our children is a world without borders, a community of seekers welcome to gather (no questions asked), a sense of hope that pervades all our days. With every tragic breach of trust, every mindless violent situation, we are given an option – to get very angry, fight, scream OR to stop, observe, listen, reflect, try to understand, and confirm that our world was created out of God’s “extravagant love.
No matter what happens in the day-to-day world, we need to remember that the kingdom of God is here, now, within us.
What will I do today to practice kindness? My circle is small, but I can and do reach out to my dear ones and love them and support them, even and mostly in the hard times.
I want our children to keep their very powerful sense of awe about the world, about people. I love their curiosity, their willingness to try something new, and if they fall, to get up again and laugh or smile, because they tried. I want them to remember that they are just right, exactly as they are, and can only become better by sharing.
I want them to learn gratitude… not in a classroom or a lecture, but in the first snowfall, or in a friendly hug, or the bunch of dandelions which they can pick and give to someone they love.