This summer, for the first time ever, my family couldn’t go home.
Year after year, we’d travel from Florida to Iowa to visit my husband’s parents. We stayed in their home, of course — the one my husband grew up in. The one that held so many memories of his childhood, holidays with our kids and incredible home-cooked meals. It always held a comforting, loving familiarity.
Our recent visit was a whole new reality. Their home now belongs to a new owner. My mother-in-law, once a vibrant, active woman, is now severely mentally impaired as a result of a rare virus that suddenly and ruthlessly attacked her brain. My father-in-law requires supplemental oxygen and has difficulty walking.
Their home is now the local nursing care center. It’s a beautiful place. The staff is well-trained and caring. Yet, as I walked the halls, my heart was incredibly heavy. Everywhere I looked, there was sickness, confusion, pain and brokenness.
This was not what God had in mind when He created the world. As I walked the halls, I just kept thinking, This is not how it was supposed to be. This world is not my home.
As moms, we put a tremendous amount of emphasis on home. Rightly so. It’s our job to make our homes a place of warmth, love and security for our children. They need that.
But we have to remember that our home is temporary. Our children will leave it one day. Like my in-laws house, it will one day be sold to another owner. No matter how much love fills it, it will never satisfy the ache and longing in their hearts for their true home — where all the brokenness of this world will be made right.
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14
It’s so tempting to want to make our children’s worlds a comfortable place for them. We want to protect them from harm and woundedness. We want to save them from failure. We want them to be happy. It’s our human inclination to want to avoid pain for ourselves and for the ones we love.
Here’s the brutal truth: God never promised that we would be able to protect ourselves or our children from any of that in this broken world — no matter how hard we try.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Should we work very hard to make our homes safe and loving? Absolutely. But let’s use the fleeting time we have with our children in our earthly homes to keep them focused on their heavenly one. How can we give our kids an eternal perspective? Here are a few messages they need to hear:
Truth never changes.
Every day, it seems like there is a new assault on Truth. Sin is increasingly celebrated, normalized and legalized. The whole idea of an absolute right and wrong is considered outdated and bigoted. More and more Christians have decided that because the culture has changed, biblical principles should evolve, too — or else we’ll be seen as hateful and unloving.
In reality, the most loving thing we can do for each other is speak the Truth of God’s Word. Truth is always for our guidance and protection. It’s not to restrict us, but to give us life, joy and peace! Sin — rebelling against God’s design and principles — always ends with pain and destruction. Maybe not immediately. But always.
Even when Truth is spoken in love, it usually offends. Jesus was crucified for speaking Truth! It challenges our sinful human inclinations. It calls us to humility and self-sacrifice. It reminds us that we answer to a Power that is greater than ourselves. It isn’t based on our human desires or our ever-changing, often misguided feelings.
The world is indoctrinating our children with lies. In a culture that is literally crumbling, let’s be models of living out Truth boldly! Let’s make teaching and helping our kids apply unchanging Truth a deliberate and passionate part of our daily interactions with them:
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:5-8
Trials won’t last forever.
This world is full of unbearable tragedy. It’s all around us. It makes my heart heavy. But I’m not without hope. I know without a shadow of a doubt that one day God will make all things right. Does that always bring tremendous comfort when my son’s disease rears its ugly head? When I’m crying in pain from my own chronic health issues?
Honestly, no. Sometimes it just stinks. Period. I’ve fought anger and despair more times than I can count. But gradually, I remind myself that it will not always be this way. That God is good all the time. Even when He doesn’t heal me or my son. Even when I don’t understand His ways. Our trials — our children’s struggles — remind all of us of our need for a Savior. He promised that our battles are never fought alone:
The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
Time on earth is a blip on the screen.
Just like our trials won’t last forever, worldly success and pleasure won’t either. Spending our lives chasing after others’ approval, the world’s definition of achievement and short-term gratification is foolish and short-sighted. A chasing after the wind. Even Solomon, the richest man who ever lived, agreed:
I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
A few months ago, my Pastor gave a great illustration. He brought out a long piece of rope with a tiny piece of red tape wrapped around one end. And he said something like this: This piece of red tape is your life here on earth. The rope represents eternity. What are you living for? Where are your spending your time and energy — for the red tape or the rope.
In a world gone crazy, one of the most important things I can do for my kids is to give them eternal perspective and keep pointing them toward home.
Not my in-laws home, not even the home that holds my family — the home our heavenly Father is preparing for all of us who know Him.
Where all things will finally be made right.