There's a question that's been swirling in my mind, a question my friends and I keep asking each other, keep asking ourselves: "What kind of world have we brought our children into?" And more importantly: "What can we do about it?"
So what is a mother to do when the world seems to keep getting scarier? What can we do? How do we respond to the frightening things we're seeing happen on TV, on the internet and even in our own cities, in our government, at our children's schools and with their friends? How do we deal with raising children in a broken culture?
When I hear about the shootings, the refugees, the political corruption, the terrorism the bombings, the racism, I know my first response is to lose heart, to lay awake at night worrying and agonizing over the devastation in the world and feel helpless concerning my children's future. But as a mother who fears God, this is the exact opposite response that I should have.
It will not do us or our children any good to live as fearful mothers.
God has called us to to be steadfast, faithful women, women who trust in his promises, who believe what he says to be true. When we take him at his word - when we eradicate our unbelief, we can live in a radical way that's counter-cultural to our world today. We mothers can watch the news without despair, because we know God is sovereign and has a much bigger plan than what the 10 o'clock anchors are reporting. No matter what awaits us, or our babies, we don't have to fear because our hope is not in today.
We can live with a rare fearlessness - because we have a hope in God's great redemption story - that even though today I am drowned in grief and sorrow over what is happening to African Americans, to police, to the LGBTQ community, to the Syrian refugees, and so many more innocent people, I can still live with trust in God's great mercy and love for his people - that someday, all will be redeemed. No more tears. No more pain. No more fear. No more suffering or shootings or protests or fighting or people fleeing for their very life.
One day we will be with him in eternal glory, and no matter what happens to us today, we can trust our future is secure. We can mother fearlessly with faith, because of what God has done in the past and hope for what we know he will do in the future. We trust that he is sovereign over all, that he is still fighting for us
To be honest, I find myself daily crying out, "I believe, help my unbelief!" I am not perfect at this, is anyone? But when we put this into practice, when we study God's word, when we spend time talking to him and walking in his ways, we can admit this is a hard truth, but that we know it IS truth. And slowly, surely, our hearts are transformed.
And when we have this truth (as elusive as it can feel at times) embedded deep in our souls we can raise our children to understand the same.
So what does our world need? What can we as mothers do?
We can raise our children to weep for a loss of life. To have mercy on the helpless. To know that all people are created in the image of God - and no matter the age or race, all have value - every life matters. We teach them to have eyes for the hurting, hands for helping, hearts of bravery and valor. We teach them to love God's law, with a deep conviction for truth, yet great mercy and empathy for lost and hurting souls.
What we can do is impact the next generation.
If we want to see our world changed, then we start with our own children. We must train them to love righteousness, to have a deep compassion for the pain and turmoil the world is in, yet understand how to stand up and fight for truth.
You are raising a world-changer, mom.
You are enormously, vitally, part of the cause to change the world.
You are shaping souls in your home, every, single day.
In everything you do, every bedtime story, every breakfast conversation, every walk to the park or drop off at daycare, you are shaping them to someday change the world.
When you talk to your children in the car about loving their black friends well and not placing stereotypes on them, you are shaping them. When you treat your gay family member with respect and love in front of your children you are shaping them. When your children watch you swing by a birth center to stand up for a helpless baby in the womb's right to life, you are shaping them. When you email your politicians, serve on PTA or walk to the mailbox to send money to a cause Middle East, you are shaping them.
Our children are taught, not in lengthy, great, eloquent speeches, or in a few, random moments of awkward talk about Christian values when they are teens - no, they are shaped and transformed little by little, though living life with you each day.
Your children will learn to live their life by the wisdom of God when they have watched you, their mother, model it for them day in and day out.
This is a weighty responsibility. But it is an investment that is worth more than anything else we will ever do.
We are the gatekeepers of our homes, and we will likely have the greatest impact on our children's lives - on what ultimately shapes their opinions, loves and values. We must teach them to become leaders in their generations, deep thinkers and high action-takers, shaped by a love for what God loves.
Our children will be world-changers when they learn to live different from the world, with a deep reverence for the balance of unity, mercy, truth and grace.
When we see horrific stories covered on our news, it should not make us fear and want to hide, it should spur us on to become even more committed to raising our children to become protectors of the helpless, Godly messengers to a lost and broken world. When we have no fear for our own futures (however bleak and full of suffering they may become) we can raise our children confidentially, radically, to rest secure in the same future hope we have in the coming return of Christ.
Moms, if we can unite in this truth, if we all would strive to raise our own children with this hope and truth deep in their souls, then someday, an entire generation will rise up that loves moral goodness, values life, protects the needy, bears the burden of grace and acts in love! It will be a generation like we've never seen before, one that is dedicated to the good things of God, to shaping our culture towards righteousness, towards the way it was originally designed.
When all hope seems lost for our world, there is something you can do, and you're doing right it now. So go, live life with your children, remembering that you are making an impact on generations to come. Your responsibility as a mother is great, but it is not on your shoulders alone - Christ the King has given you all that you need when he gave his life for yours on the cross.
Me and my little world-changers.