Over the last year, I have since come to realize the life-giving power of hope. I have noticed a correlation between the hardest seasons of my life and my level of hope. When I did not have a sense of the future, when all I could see was the nose at the end of my face (which is really short and flat), then I really struggled. However, when I could see that there was hope in the future, that maybe, just maybe, God has something exciting around the corner, it really didn't matter how difficult my circumstances were. I think it is the same with our kids. When my children are discouraged about their performance or wonder out loud if there is ever going to be anyone out there for them, how do I respond? Do I say, "Get over it"? Do I ridicule them? Do I pump them up with false promises? What can we do when our kids feel hopeless?
The gift of hope comes in a variety of ways. One thing that I have done with my kids is wonder out loud about their future. "I wonder what God is going to do with you one day. I can't wait to find out!" Besides being positive, it is also biblical (isn't that great?). Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has planned good works for His children, even before we were born, that we should walk in them. When they enter the family of God, this promise is true for them too.
As a mom, I have learned to always be on the lookout for my kids' natural propensities and personalities. Even the negative ones, the ones I struggle with, can have a positive use if surrendered to the Lord. Our little one is very strong in personality and opinion. Sometimes it comes off the wrong way, but the Lord has helped me to look at it as a potentially good thing. Instead of squelching it, I am learning to look at my little man with eyes of hope. One day, as I continue to pray for and train him, that firmness of belief can be an asset to the Kingdom of God.
Another way we can give this gift of hope is to point our children to God. The fact is, unless our future is rooted in God, there really is no hope. We cannot have any confidence if the hope is resting on ourselves or others. As human beings, we are capable of many wonderous accomplishments, but we have our limits. When our children only hope in themselves or others they will end up in disappointment some time or another. We make mistakes. People fail us.
On the other hand, when we help our children to keep their eyes on God, the Father of hope, they have a sure and steady faith, even when everything else falls apart. Romans 15:13 is a prayer that I pray for them, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Because God is constant, reliable and fully trustworthy, when we help our children to find their hope in God and what He is doing, His good plans for their lives (Jer 29:11), we give them that the world cannot give.
This attitude begins with me. It is very difficult for me to give my children hope when I do not believe God will pull through in my own life. In this case, it is hard for us to give away what we do not possess. What do I really believe about God? What do I believe about my life, my future? If we want to pass the gift of hope on to our children, let's make sure we also have hope in the living God.
This post wraps up this series on Gifts from the Heart for our kids. If you want to read the whole series, you can check it out here. If you want to read the series for our husbands, you can check it out here. May the Lord inspire you with creative gifts that you can bless your husband and children with, not just now but any time, any day.