When Normal Is Broken
When Normal Is Broken
New parents who bring home a baby know that life will never be “normal” again, but they excitedly embrace a “new normal,” and daily routines begin again. These same parents are filled with dreams and expectations for their baby’s life. Parents say things like, “I loved doing…, and I can’t wait until my child gets to do that.” We buy toys that remind us of toys we prized, we take our children places we enjoyed going. We also say, “I hated when I had to…so I will never make my child will do that!” We see milestones of life that we want them to pass through to have a full and happy childhood.
So what happens when we suddenly fear that those things we dreamed of for our children may not happen for them? When we see that “normal” has been broken? In reality, it happens far too often that a loved one is sick or dies, a beloved family member walks away, a child is abused, a job change upsets lives. The list goes on. But none of these has made the broad brush stroke over every family like the events of 2020. The normal for most us has not been disrupted by tragedy or a major life change. Instead the uncertainty of what is next and the removal of small normals of life have left us feeling frustrated, confused, controlled, disappointed, and angry, just to name of a few of the negative emotions that have been experienced.
In case, you think I don’t know what I am talking about, let me share with you that my older daughter was a senior in 2020. Now she will start college and my older son will start high school with the broken normal of 2020. So how are we supposed to respond? The heart battle that is fought is one of those that gets down deep where the ugly stuff grows, hidden until life gets hard. We are in no way the first to fight this battle.
Ask any room of Christians who their favorite Bible characters are and the same answers are given-David, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Peter, Paul… If one of those is not your favorite at least one probably contends for the top of your list. Now think about those faithful heroes you admire. What happened to their “normal?” I would say that they all had lives with a broken normal, yet we admire them because of their faith and the great ways God used them in spite of their circumstances.
We like to read, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” We like to think of Daniel standing boldly before pagan kings and declaring God’s sovereignty. I don’t think that these great moments just happened one day for these people. They happened little by little as they daily accepted truth by faith. Hebrews 11:13 and 16 say “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth…But as it is they desire a better country that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (ESV)
When we view “normal” in light of eternity, it clarifies our perspective of what is important in our children’s lives. God uses parents in a huge way to shape children’s lives, but ultimately He gets to choose how their lives are shaped. He gets to choose what He wants to do and how He wants to get it done. It is easy to forget that He is ultimately in control of their lives.
We don’t know what God is doing in the lives of the generation who will be in school for the 20-21 school year, but we can view His work with eyes of faith, trusting that in eternity all will be well. Maybe sometimes our dreams for our children are too small, and that is why we cling so tightly to them. God can use this broken normal of 2020 to prepare our children for greatness.
It is my job as a parent to humbly admit that my anger accomplishes nothing, my fear accomplishes nothing; I don’t need to be filled with regret for what cannot be; my ideas for my child may not be what is best. With simple, but difficult trust that God’s ways are best and that He really is in control, we can embrace the “broken normal” and say, “God intends this for our good.” Instead of wishing the trials away, we can dream a new dream-that God will use hardship for greatness in our lives and the lives of our children
May this be true of us who desire to raise our children in the fear of God.
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