The other day, my daughter repeatedly kept asking for something she wanted. I turned down her request several times, yet she did not get discouraged and continued to beg me. When I firmly told her “no,” she flailed her body in exasperation and said, But, Momma, I’m asking you so nicely, and you’re still not giving it to me!” I was a bit taken back by her behavior and quickly told her that just because she asked me nicely for something, that it didn’t mean that she would receive it. I went on to explain to her that I knew what was best for her and she truly didn’t need it.
Immediately, at that moment, I felt God convicting me and tugging at my heart saying, “Suzanne, this applies to you, too.”
You see, I had been praying for a few years for something to happen in my life, and although my husband and I both felt that it was God’s will, nothing seemed to be happening. Stephen, my husband, seemed to be entirely content either way, but I found myself pleading with God over the years in my prayers, and as time grew, I became confused and frustrated as to why doors were not opening.
As I stood there staring at my daughter, Scarlett, I couldn’t help but notice how our relationship with our children sometimes mirrors that of our relationship with our Heavenly father. Regardless of our age and heart’s desire, hearing “no” can be devastating.
But, just as we confidently say “no” to our children, knowing that it’s in their best interest, we must also have that same trust and faith that when God tells us, “no,” it is also for the best. I have always known the verse, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11) but in this situation, it was hard to conceal my disappointment.
As adults, I think we struggle less with comprehending that God knows best; He is all-knowing, so, of course, He does! But we grapple with understanding and trusting in Him fully. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We do not necessarily doubt that God will do best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” Surrendering control is hard, especially when we want something very much.
But there is an opportunity here. One of the most important things we can do as parents is to actively demonstrate to our children that God’s plans work for us, even if we don’t know how at first. By living it out in our daily lives, we must show them firsthand that His plans are better than anything we can devise. It is an invaluable lesson in faith.
Let’s face it. Life is a gift that is full of joyous, amazing moments, but there are hardships and disappointment, too. We might be tempted to shield our children from our struggles—and in some cases, shielding is best—but some could be opportunities to share with them what we are learning as Christians. We may be older, and hopefully, wiser, but we are still learning, and the Holy Spirit convicts us, too.
We have the opportunity to show our children that our relationship with God is a lifelong journey. We can let them see us read our Bibles and spend quiet time with Him and show them how we cherish our Heavenly father. Yes, those are all important. But we can also demonstrate to our children that we trust His plan … even if it means we don’t get what we want.
Suzanne Stamboulieh is the founder of Scarlett Gray Publishing, a Christian publishing company dedicated to producing children’s books centered on God’s Word. Suzanne is a homeschooling mom living in Mississippi with her husband, Stephen, and daughter, Scarlett. Her latest children’s book can be found here.