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Teaching Kids to Trust God

  • March 15, 2024
  • By Donielle
Teaching Kids to Trust God

Did you grow up with the same hymn that I did Trust and Obey? “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  So if we love that idea, why is it so difficult to put into action? What is it about motherhood that increases our anxieties? What is it about childhood that is so scary?

Kids pick up very quickly on your anxieties. Without meaning to, we teach our children that there are lots of things to be afraid of.  We inadvertently teach them that our God is not big enough, strong enough or trustworthy enough. I see my own anxieties in each of my kids, to varying degrees. I have a tendency to catastrophize any health issues I have (expecting that the worst possible outcome will occur in a particular situation). Either you take captive your thoughts or they will take you prisoner.

Something Bigger

The antidote to anxiety is to trust in something that is bigger than what we fear. Trust comes from a repeated experience that our trust object is reliable. That is why it is our job as parents to remind our children of God’s past faithfulness!  Instead of New Year’s goals this year, we did something a little different.  We made a list of God’s faithfulness through this past year. Then we shared them all at the dinner table and had a wonderful time recollecting these beautiful moments.  We hung them in the dining room to help us remember that God is worthy of our trust. Remember who God is and what is true!

I have tried so hard to do this on my own and have found its a work of the Holy Spirit. So we arm ourselves with memorizing Scripture verses that can speak against fear, that speak the Truth about God and who we are in Him. We ask the Holy Spirit to work.

Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.” Brennan Manning says in Ruthless Trust. “Our disappointments come from presuming to know the outcome of a particular endeavor.”

17760: Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin"s Path to GodRuthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God
By Brennan Manning / HarperOne

We can’t know what God is doing when things don’t turn out like we expect.  We cannot trust a complete stranger.  How can they trust a God they do not know? We teach our children to trust God by teaching them who God is.

Anxiety is…

Anxiety is often believing a lie. It helps to identify that lie. For me it is that this symptom means I have something that I will die of.  It helps me to ask myself the questions that God asked Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden:  Who told you that? And if the answer is google, I know it is not from the Lord. Who told me I have a life-threatening illness?  Google?  Web MD? If it didn’t come from God, or a trusted source, then I don’t need to hang on to it. If it is causing me anxiety, nine times out of ten I am believing a lie. Is your kid in a canal according to Google maps? Who told you that?

Its even harder to watch our kids suffer with anxious thoughts. That’s how God feels about us when we worry! Worries tend to surface at bedtime. This is a great time to think on what is lovely. One of my daughters, in the bottom bunk, had verses tacked up and tucked in all over the bunk, verses that testified to the faithfulness of God. Teach very little ones to catch those worries in their hand and hand them to God. Some kids have success picturing a Worry Monster and commanding him to leave! Sissy Goff has some terrific books on this subject.

233412: Braver, Stronger, Smarter: A Girl"s Guide to Overcoming Worry and AnxietyBraver, Stronger, Smarter: A Girl’s Guide to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety
By Sissy Goff

We project our idea of our earthly fathers onto God.  My father was quiet, hard working, loving, but really difficult to please. And I was in my 20s before I realized that it was my earthly father that was difficult to please, not my Heavenly Father. Learning to trust our Heavenly Father is a long journey for many of us.

Answering tough questions

What if you have a kid that asks those questions you hate to answer? Is grandpa gonna die?  We can’t lie to our kids, so how do we answer those questions honestly but without creating any more anxiety? Without shaking their trust?

First pray. Then consider what is age appropriate. Don’t make unrealistic statements. Don’t promise your kids that you will never die or nothing bad will ever happen to them. Do tell them that God promises that He will NEVER LEAVE us and NEVER forsake us. I have lost both my parents, and my mother fairly young. I have told my kids, though the unthinkable happened to me and my brothers and sisters and I miss my mom very, very much, I am okay. I have gone on to live a wonderful life. God has given me grace to handle the hardship, when I needed it, not before I needed it.

We don’t want them to have faith and trust in circumstances. We want them to have faith and trust in God. We teach our children to speak truth to themselves, to say: (Psalm 62:5) “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.”

A beautiful offensive weapon against fear is to personalize scripture: The Lord is Donielle’s Shepherd, she lacks nothing… He restores Donielle’s soul. That makes me heave a sigh of relief, right there, just hearing that. Try it with your kid’s name!

For teens

Our teens need to know that God is exactly the right person to take our doubts to; that He is not afraid of them and neither are you. They all have crisis moments where they do the sometimes confusing and difficult job of making sense of an unseen God, living in a sensory world.  We should expect those fears and doubts as parents. Please read Mere Christianity by C. S Lewis with your teens. It will launch great discussions. If you are ready to move on from there, read Know What you Believe and then Know Why You Believe by Paul Little. Teach them to face their doubts by stating them out loud and answering them with truth – out loud There is power in hearing your own voice state the truth.

Mere Christianity
By C.S. Lewis

Fun illustration

If you need a visual illustration here is a fun object lesson that involves stabbing plastic bags full of water with pencils:

Originally published in MOMs Magazine, Rio Vista Community Church

By Donielle, March 15, 2024
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