Amazing how a clean house makes you feel more spiritual! I have to remember that. Today (after a long period of not doing so) I read Psalms to my children at breakfast.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63)
I wanted to tell them that even in sad things, God is working. I wanted to show them the upcoming blessings of Daddy being gone. That mommy and daddy will both have more time to seek the Lord like King David talks about (they understand being thirsty in the desert!). That God is helping mommy to trust Him. I explained that this is a good time to visit their grandpa, who has a terminal illness (they still think doctors can solve everything). I told them that we’ll be able to see the Pryde cousins.
Bethel said, “I won’t be sad because we’re going to play in Grandma’s playroom.” Part of me cringes, because I know that even Grandma’s playroom won’t make the deployment a completely happy time. They’re going to miss their dad more than they now realize. But then I realized that on a kid level, God is helping them to see how He is blessing and working even in a sad time. They’ll understand the spiritual blessings as they mature (and I’m explaining some of those even before they understand them).
I think it’s helpful to tell them ahead of time that looking for God’s blessings doesn’t mean that we’re not sad, or that we won’t cry when Daddy leaves. That way they don’t get the idea that being a Christian is all sweetness and light. But there is tremendous joy in seeing God work, in seeing how He providentially works situations out for His glory in our lives (not just others’ lives).