Messengers of mercy: Teaching hard lessons to our kids

Written by Sydney Wilson
Published on March 05, 2021

There are so many lessons in life. 

Lessons we welcome and lessons we wish to rebuke. 

Lessons that we hold dear to our soul and lessons we want to pray no one else has to learn the way we did. 

And as parents, the lessons we are forced to learn and teach are sometimes those that we would have never dreamt for our worst enemy. These are the lessons our hearts ache against before, during, and after the dreaded teaching and learning of them.  

Setting their foundation

I sat across from my little girl at the table with chips, salsa, torn-out paper, and a pencil in her grasp. It was the sweetest view in front of me, but for some reason my heart just didn’t feel total contentment. 

I looked across the table and saw a little girl with a split family. I saw a little girl who was carrying far more weight than her little body was ever made for. 

Then, like an out-of-body experience, I looked at myself. 

I saw a mom who has been dealt some tough cards but doesn’t show them to just anyone. I saw a mom who looked at a little girl, who was drawing her homes on a torn piece of paper while eating chips and dip, dreading the lessons she was about to have to endure and regretfully teach to a four-year-old. 

In both people, I saw newness and rawness to a situation that could never be undone. 

Though, she was joyful. She was happy to draw and have “big talk” (that is what she calls our conversations without baby brother). 

As she drew, she talked out so many sweet words, and she, oppositely, expressed many that I wished she didn’t have to speak or even think at her age. But given the circumstances, she always will have those moments. 

As I sat there and listened, and watched, and assured her she can always tell me everything, I wondered why she was chosen to learn these lessons and, also, why I was chosen to teach them. 

But then as I watched her smile as she drew her puppy at Mommy’s house and her friends at Daddy’s house, I knew that she was resilient and optimistic. I then knew that the way I taught these formerly dreadful lessons would be setting the foundation of how she views the world, not just her homes. 

Our job to light their way

That’s when I reflected on a few verses. 

First, Matthew 5:15–16: “People do not light a lamp and then put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give praise to your father in heaven” (NET).

As her light and her lamp, it is my job not to taint the way she views the world but to light it up even more. My purpose is to teach the lessons I never wished to teach in a way that gives light to each person that encounters us. 

My opportunity is to lead my little girl back to Jesus each day, lesson by lesson, so that the way she views the world is saved by grace and not struck with despair.   

There is living hope 

Another verse that puts these life lessons in perspective is Psalm 78:2–4, which says, “For I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (NLT).

This verse is hope. It is hope that we can allow our children, in due time with respect to their age, insight into our past. In fact, they can learn from the lessons of our past. The most important part, though, is that we conclude those lessons with examples and teaching of the glory of our Lord, about his power and mighty wonders, just as the verse said. 

Again, it is imperative in our parenting that we paint a picture of a world saved by grace and we allow hope to creep in and shut out any darkness that attempts to loom in our midst.   

Oh parents . . . there is hope. In fact, there is living hope. Our fallen world is not the end, praise Jesus. And the lessons we are sometimes forced to teach our innocent children are some of the seemingly hardest steps we will take. 

Take heart, he has overcome the world. 

Take heart, he is our living hope. 

Take heart, he is gracious to fulfill our every need, and the very needs of our children.

Remember, we are granted the opportunity, not the burden, to be the messengers of mercy in the lives of our littles. He will guide us—he chose us.

Live perfectly imperfect

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Sydney Wilson

Sydney is a Mississippi native and the mother of two toddlers: Eloise and Wilson. She is a special education teacher and a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Masters degree in Mild and Moderate Disabilities. Sydney began writing in the midst of life changes in 2020 and strives to give hope to people through Jesus in the midst of their own changes, losses, or discouragement.

Read more about Sydney

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