There was the true Light which, coming into the world,
enlightens every man. John 1:9
Darkness has invaded our lives anew this weekend. The thought of so many young, innocent children dying needlessly, is abhorrent to our hearts and so it should be.
I am so deeply sorrowful and have felt heart-wrenching pain for the families, the school, and all who have been touched personally by this tragedy. They are all in the thoughts and prayers of our family.
But, we mamas are the ones who tenderly hold the hearts of our own children.
We need to be guardians of the flame of faith inside of them, until they are old enough to guard their hearts themselves.
In a world of media and video games and tv and movies and cell phones which can carry the images of all sorts of evil,
One of the best gifts we can give to our children is the gift of an innocent, protected heart.
Children are made to be innocent, to believe in mystery, to be good and pure of heart. It is why Jesus said about children, "Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."
and on another occasion, of children, "Of such (children) belongs the kingdom of heaven."
The longer we can keep them in this place or storing up hope, belief in miracles and light and courage and redemption, the better. Parents are guardians, to protect our children of all that is evil or wicked, so that our children can grow to be strong.
When we give our children foundations of hero tales, faith, goodness, courage, sacrifice and hope as the foundation of their little souls, we feed their faith imagination, so to speak. This innocent giving helps them to think of themselves as those who will become heroes in their generation--
so that then they will have strength to become real heroes when they have grown into full fledged adults.
So, when a tragedy occurs, we must, as the strong ones, bear up the difficulty and tragedy inside our own hearts, prayers, walk with the Lord and in the comfort of other spiritually mature adults.
We must seek Him who is the light in the darkness and look more profoundly into scripture which reminds us that we, and our world, indeed needed a savior--and so, at Christmas, we celebrate His coming with expectation. And we must always point to our savior with hope--He is with us, He is a redeemer, He is our hope and He has never, ever left us alone.
Children store up memories so very long and these memories feed their understanding of truth and the world. So, if they are raised on fear, insecurity, and despair, from observing their parents, then their foundation will be insecure, and they will fear the world and what it might hold for them.
I do not want to diminish the deep darkness we have observed in so many ways this year, but we are to be the seasoned soldiers and the ones who lead our children to slowly perceive themselves as righteous warriors who will confidently usher God's kingdom into this world with His help, His indwelling and His power. He has won the battle and the ultimate victory is ours--that is our hope, that is our reality, if we indeed know Him and His word.
And so, I am reprinting a part from a book written by a sweet friend of mine, Julie Hiramine, who has a heart for giving our own children the gift of purity and innocence in a world that is in their face with visual darkness.
Guarding against Evil
By Julie Hiramine
With the recent shooting in Connecticut, where do we even start to explain what happened to our innocent children? How can we shield them from the evil this incident exposed?
For kids younger than 7, it is important to protect them from the dialogue and images associated with the catastrophic news reports. Kids at this age cannot grasp whether Connecticut is across the country or across the street. They will immediately fear that this will happen to them because their world is so small.
An incident like this invades their world. As parents, we need to assure our children that this is not going to happen at their school. Direct them to God’s protection of them. Of course there are never any guarantees with our children, and they are in God’s hand, but with our little ones we need to focus on building a foundation of security and stability. Be careful about this age group watching news that is frightening or overhearing discussions that may overwhelm them.
Tweens’ abstract thought is not fully developed yet either. When it comes to evil and violence this news has a tremendous impact on them. They understand more fully the reality that this shooting affected their age group, and anxious thoughts arise that this could happen to them. Although as adults we realize that this is highly unusual, tweens will project that something like this could happen on Monday when they go to school. Fear invades their heart. This is true for tweens when it comes to natural disasters or manmade tragedies.
Parents, we need to help our tweens understand that this is extremely unusual. Also that fear is a tactic Satan uses to make them doubt God and forget His promises. Remember true love casts out fear so a lot of affirmation of love is essential. Go out of your way to tell your kids they are loved by you and God, and that God has a future and a hopeful destiny for them.
Now for teens this is an event that needs to be discussed. Looking at accurate sources of what happened during this tragedy will be very important.
Friends will be blowing the news stories out of proportion and sensationalizing it, so you need to provide accurate information.
Another key will be helping them evaluate the situation with a Biblical lens. They need to be aware of Satan's desire to steal and destroy, and that we do not just fight against flesh and blood, but “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12) Teens need to see how a person can be influenced by the darkness and Satanic influences that can fill their minds, that can result in violent, misguided, insane behavior. This is a time to discuss how little by little the enemy can take over athe thoughts, perspective, and false reality of people walking in darkness.
Jesus tells us to take captive every thought, to dwell on "whatever is true, right, just, pure, etc." and that when we are not yielded to Him and his truth, we open our minds to the evil we dwell upon. This didn’t just happen overnight.
Consequently this is a perfect time to explain to your teen this is why you are careful about media influences and video games in which they immerse themselves. It is so subtle how the enemy takes a person from their natural God-given mind to someone who could think up and carry out this atrocity. Guarding their minds and hearts against all the unhealthy influences in the media and violent gaming world is so important at this age and having accountability with godly adults and influences is essential.
We parents need to do two things in the face of this tragedy: guard our children against the negative and use the opportunity to communicate God’s truth. In other words, “It doesn’t work to just block the messages of this world unless we are pouring in the real truth and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.”1 Lastly, pray together as a family for those who were the victims of this attack, that God would bring healing and peace in the midst of loss-and help our children determine to become those who will bear light and bring redemption into their worlds at times like these.
There are more questions than answers when it comes to a situation like this. I like Kevin Leman’s advice when he says “The ‘why’ questions are always the hardest, and the answers ‘I don't know’ and ‘I don't have a clue’ are acceptable.” I pray God gives you wisdom and discernment as you address this issue with your children.
1. Take from Guardians of Purity by Julie Hiramine
Julie Hiramine is the author of Guardians of Purity and the founder of the ministry Generations of Virtue.