Bedtime Conversations

Bedtime at our house can be either the grumpiest or the sweetest time of our day. We are all usually exhausted and my parent time sheet feels expired, but sometimes, even with all that, a little magic happens. There is just something about being together with your little one, almost nose to nose, and hearing their soul spill out. Tonight was one of those nights and I had to write about it before it’s a lost memory.  I’m going to do my best to keep it as word for word as I can remember! (And both of these conversations happened one-on-one.)

 

Drew: Mom, I wish there was no sin and no stomach bugs in this world.

Me: Me too buddy.

Drew: In heaven, there won’t be any of that.  It’s all here because of you know who, (makes a stinky face) Adam and Eve…but not really them, actually the snake.  Mom, why didn’t God give them a second chance?

Me: Well He did.  God said that they could eat of any tree of all the millions of trees in their garden but if they ate of the one tree, they would die. What happened when they ate the fruit from the one tree? Did they die?

Drew: No.

Me: No, God showed them grace.  He let them live.  They didn’t get to live in the garden any more but they did not die.  God gave them a second chance.

Drew: God is the nicest guy ever….(pensive look)…how did He get created?

Me: That’s a great question!  He wasn’t created.  He is uncreated because He is the Creator.  He has just always been there.

Drew: My mind can’t even get that.

Me: (laughing) Well, I can tell you it doesn’t get any easier to understand when you’re a grown-up.  My mind can’t get it either!

Drew: But in heaven we’ll get it.

Me: Yes we will.

 

Sleeping superheroes

Sleeping superheroes

 

Caleb: When am I going to die?

Me:  (with slight panic) I don’t know bud….what’s on your mind?

Caleb: I just really want to go to heaven.  Don’t you?

Me: Yes!  What makes you want to go to heaven?

Caleb: I just really want to see what God looks like.  I’ve never seen Him before.

Me:  I’ve never seen Him before either but..,

Caleb (interrupts): I’ve heard Him.

Me: Yes, we can hear Him and we can see what He does.

Caleb: Like what?

Me: Like heal our boo-boos, and give us food and change us into more loving people.

Caleb: And plant trees.

Me: Yep.

Caleb: I just wiped a booger on your shirt.

Me: (Gags, giggles, tickles…)

 

I write this to remind myself (and anyone else who needs to hear it) that in spite of all my shortcomings and struggles as a parent, God is at work in our home.  He is present because He is faithful.  He alone knows how our kids will “turn out” and I trust HIM for that.  Rest easy my friends.  He is with us.

Go Ahead and Say It

So…this post has been floating around in my head for quite some time and I’ve been putting off writing it.  (Thank you to my friend Sarah for telling me to get back to blogging.)  I think I’ve put it off because I fear this may be the post that sends some of my readers packing.   I do however believe strongly in what I’m about to write so at least I should earn some points for keeping it real.

Here’s the deal..talk to your kids about hell. There. I said it.  I did not say, H-e-l-l.  I did not say, H-E-double hockey sticks.  I said Hell.  It’s a real place with a real name.  It’s a terrible place and I do not want one soul to go there.  I am not a fan of scaring anyone into a system of belief.  In fact, I think that is wrong and well, scary.  I do not go to a church that preaches on Hell each Sunday.  It really is not even mentioned very often at my church.  Hell is not a subject that just comes up around the water cooler and I get that.  I’m not trying to change that but when it comes to the little souls who live in our home, I think it’s time for a change.

Here’s what got me thinking… Recently I’ve been in some circles in which the subject was brought up.  I observed responses to it that were both strange and interesting.  In one situation, I heard a talented preschool teacher say she had to call a student’s parents about his inappropriate behavior – the child had used the word, “hell” at school.  When I asked her how the student used the word, she said he was describing Hell as a place where you go if you don’t believe in Jesus.  He said it to another student at his (Christian) school while on the playground.  For me, this hardly warrants a parental phone call.  (As a former teacher, I’ve heard a lot worse said on a playground.)  My other experience happened in church, when our Pastor taught the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31)  When he said the word, “hell”, I observed parents throughout the church look at their kids with that, “uh-oh, he said a dirty word” look.

Both of these situations left me feeling puzzled.  Why is it treated as wrong to talk about hell?  I really don’t have an answer to that question.  I know there are very inappropriate uses of that word, which I abhor.  To tell someone to go to hell is perhaps the meanest, most callous, and most ignorant thing a person could ever say.  In no way, would I ever defend that kind of use of the word.  What I’m talking about is just an honest discussion about the place known as Hell.  For people who believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have the hope of a very real destination after physical death – Heaven.  It is the place where we will see our Savior face to face.  Perhaps that alone is the very definition of Heaven.  The Bible also describes it as the place where suffering is completely absent, where all things are mind-blowingly new and restored, where fellowship is the theme, and joy is the song.  I’m smiling as I type all those things because I really am so excited to experience Heaven.  I love to talk with my kids about Heaven. I love their ideas of streets made of “treasure”, endless supplies of popsicles, bikes with tires that never go flat, unlimited turns in bouncy houses without getting sweaty, days at the beach with no need for sunscreen, and being with God and the people they love most forever.  I love how real it is to them.  I love driving along the now pollen-covered streets, and hearing one of them say, “there won’t be allergies in heaven”.  

But how can I teach them the reality of Heaven and ignore the reality of Hell?  I want them to know that there is no fellowship in Hell.  There is no relief, no laughter, no camaraderie, no fun, and no hope in Hell.  It is final separation from God which means final separation from all things good or light.  This is most definitely scary but it is not a scare tactic.  In my system of beliefs, which is based on the Bible, it is just plain truth.  There is no scandal in me discussing it with my kids.  If it was, then I’m just as scandalous when I talk to them about Heaven.

Here’s the scandal… I was born into this world in a desperate situation.  I have a desire for wrong that burns like a wildfire, ruthlessly destroying all in its path.  Because of that, I deserved the death penalty. Thankfully I did not get it because a holy God put on flesh, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and died a criminal’s death in my place.  He erased the punishment I deserved by serving it for me.  He did not stay dead as did all other leaders of the world’s religions.  He resurrected, thus defeating death and proving life eternal.  His life is historically documented; the Earth is forever changed.  Why did He do it?… To please His Father, to defeat the Devil, to save sinners like me.

We all have many desires for our children but for me, the one that trumps them all is this: I desire for my kids to be in heaven.  God is responsible for their souls.  I am responsible to God.

Lord, I am weak and dumb but You are strong and smart. Teach me your truth.  Let it reign in my mind and in our home.  Thank you. Amen