Tonight, on this icy/snowy Sunday evening, I'd like to share my heart with you regarding children - Children Of Hope. And this message is not about telling children how they should behave and how they should respect parents and adults (that will be another post for another time); the message today is for adults - Men of Valor and Women of Class - and our attitude toward children, whether they are our own children or not. We are living in a day where children are at times seen as messy little nuisances who ruin our lives and rob us of our joy, freedom, and money. How sad! Because kids actually give us much more than they take - they give us HOPE. Hope for the future.
Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen. A feeling of trust. Wanting something to happen; to expect, anticipate. An aspiration, desire, ambition, aim, goal, plan.
As Christians, we know that our hope is solid. It is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1. Hope that is like faith...a faith that cannot be moved by circumstances or what the eyes see, because an unseen God is seen in His faithfulness. Hope is not just positive thinking - it's trusting God with your todays and your tomorrows. And children are a perfect picture of hope and trust. When we look into the eyes of children, we see the hope of what their futures hold. And the truth is, we're all children no matter our age - and we're all worthy of love and investment.
Let me show you what the journey of Children of Hope has looked like for the Womelsdorf family - our story of hope. Every family has a story of hope. The faces and stories of individual families across the world look different, but hope looks the same everywhere.
We love to see ourselves in our children - miniature versions of ourselves who grow into adults and carry our hearts and values/hopes and dreams. My mom had high hopes for me as a teenager. She wanted me to go further and do more than she had done (the selfless desire of every parent!). 40 years later, I'm still her child and she is still proud of me. We are both Children of Hope.
Children give us opportunity to engage in a "Divine Do-Over." If you have a rich heritage of faithful, God-fearing parents and grandparents, then you have the privilege of passing that legacy on to your children - a "Do-Over." If your family story is painful and is less than desirable, then you have the opportunity to change the direction of your family and rewrite history - a hope-filled, faith-filled, God-empowering "Do-Over."
As a young woman, I asked God to change the course of history for my future children and grandchildren - that they would not be bound by the sin tendencies and struggles of generations past. They were my unseen Children Of Hope, and I fully trusted that God would do miracles in their lives and that His grace would be evident in their lives - and for generations to come.
My first child was a son named Danny. The pictures below are of me as a young mom desiring that this baby boy would grow into a Man of God, and my adult son, Danny - a #ManOfValor. My first Child Of Hope.
My last child was a daughter named Heidi. I desired with all my heart that she would grow into a woman of God - a #WomanOfClass.
The young mom kissing baby Heidi in the Texas bluebonnets on our birthdays...
Became an older mom kissing newly engaged Heidi, my daughter who has grown into a young Woman Of Class - my Child Of Hope.
And in between, I watched 4 young sons grow into 4 men - my Children Of Hope. With God's help, the dream of watching them become Men Of Valor became a reality.
More years passed. 2 sons married and started their families.
I now have the joy of watching my sons as young dads looking into the faces of their baby sons - their Children Of Hope and future Men Of Valor.
And I also have the joy of watching my daughter-in-laws as young moms looking into the faces of their young daughters - their Children Of Hope and future Women Of Class.
The mama became a grandmama - kissing the faces of the next generation of Men Of Valor and Women Of Class. Children of Hope having Children of Hope.
Children really are incredible! While we as adults recognize our responsibility to nurture, love, protect and instruct them as they grow, children teach us much more than we would sometimes ever care to admit. In many ways, we should all view the world through a child's eyes and become as a little child. "For such is the kingdom of Heaven."
Children are . . . pure and innocent.
They view the world with wonder and delight.
They are honest, loving, trusting, loyal, fiercely protective.
They are funny, curious and wildly imaginative.
Their exuberant joy and boundless energy are contagious.
Mostly, they are just plain sweet and adorable.
And while all of these positive qualities are true, children also need constant supervision and are a lot of hard work. Every parent knows this to be true - children can be mean, exhausting, trying, grumpy, messy, disobedient, and obstinate. They break our precious things and take away our privacy. They get sick and don't sleep for days. They throw fits.
Well, you know what . . . that sounds a lot like us adults, too, doesn't it?
So why is it that we dislike children because of these negative qualities? Sometimes we act the exact same way - and we should know better. It really is quite ugly. But God, our Heavenly Father, loves us anyway. We are His children, and He loves us. Whatever our age, whatever our background, He loves us.
When we are unruly, willful, stubborn and disobedient, He loves us.
When we are mean, uncompassionate and unforgiving, He loves us.
When we are harsh and unkind with our words and actions, He loves us.
When we are critical and judgmental of others, He loves us.
When we are dishonest and selfish, He loves us.
When we pout, dig in our heels and refuse to budge, He loves us.
When we throw fits and demand our own way, He loves us.
When we make a mess of our lives, He loves us.
God not only loves us, He hopes in us. We are His Children Of Hope. God's desire is that we love Him, serve Him, obey Him, and follow His leading in our lives. He wants to use us for good in the same way we that that we desire our children to do good in their lives. No matter how messy our past or present may be, God's desire is that we hope in Him so that our future will be bright. In the same way that we desire to leave a legacy of hope for our children, how much more does the God who knows us best and loves us most desire to give us a hope and a future...no matter how messy, thoughtless, or selfish we can be at times.
And so, dear ones, thank you for following along today. As I stated in the beginning of this post, my heart is that we will all view children as God views them and have an attitude of appreciation for the many lessons children teach us. They are our future and our hope. This post is not about having babies - again, this is about our attitude regarding kids of all ages. The decision to have or not have children is very personal for each family, and is not to be taken lightly. I certainly don't believe that everyone should fill their homes with as many children as possible - that was clearly not my intent for this post. It just makes me sad when I hear so much negativity regarding kids and families - whatever the reason. I'm sure glad God doesn't feel that way about us!
I pray you have a wonderful week full of blessings and joy - you are my treasured friends. Please allow God to use you to invest in children - of all ages. They are our #ChildrenOfHope and are worth our attention and energy. The rewards are far more numerous than the sacrifices, and will be passed on from generation to generation.
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
|Pearls of the future - #ChildrenOfHope|