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March 2018

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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Around Easter every year, we start to think about how we’re going to talk to our kids about Jesus’ death – which can be a tricky topic for little kids that most people like to skirt around. I get it; it is not an easy one. Who wants to talk to kids about torture or gruesome death?

Talking about Jesus’ death isn’t really all that bad, I actually invite the conversation. That may seem crazy, but Jesus’ death was a gift. His death was the fulfillment of a before-time-began plan and it wasn’t scary or gross, it was beautiful.

It was a perfect example of love and sacrifice, but how do we explain that to our preschoolers and elementary school kids? How do we tell them that there is more to it than the Easter Bunny and basketball full of goodies. I think there are two important things to focus on when you approach Jesus’ death with kids.

Sacrifice

Kids might not understand death but they get sacrifice. For kids, giving up a favorite toy is as hard as anything they’ve ever done. Sharing, stopping, or slowing down can be a complete act of will and self-control.

Talk to your kids about the hard things they’ve had to do, the times it’s been difficult for them to obey. Jesus was quick to obey His Father, to empty himself of all his rights and die for us.

In Philippians 2, Paul tells us that Jesus emptied Himself out to become a man and obey His father. 

To help your kids understand sacrifice here is a fun and unique activity:

Get two glasses, and put about a ½ cup of water in each. Add about a tablespoon of bleach in one of them (don’t show your kids). Get some food coloring, and let your kids put a few drops in the cup without bleach. Explain that our sins get into everything and cover ALL of us (we are the water). But with Jesus all of that has been removed, because of His sacrifice, only He can clean away our sin. Explain that Jesus is the clean and clear water. Now pour the (bleach) water into the colored water cup. The bleach will clear it up and remove the color. Use this to talk about how the demonstration shows us that Jesus took away all of our sin because of his sacrifice.

Life

The best part about the story of Jesus’ death is not that He died, but that He came back to life!

When you’re talking to your kids about Jesus’ death, stay on it for a brief amount of time, then move onto another topic. We see this death-to-life all around us so it’s easy to make comparisons like seeds which are buried in the ground to bring new fruit, dead trees that sprout beautiful blooms, and winter’s cold which leads to fresh spring! 

Before we admire daffodils and lilies bloom, we have to go through winter and before we celebrate Easter Sunday, we have to get to Good Friday first.

Children don’t need all the gory details about death. The Bible doesn’t even spend very long on the crucifixion because the purpose of talking about Jesus’ death is so that we can see the miracle of new life.

Jesus’ death was a pre-planned act of love and sacrifice, one that would end in life so surprising and amazing that it overshadows the gruesomeness of death–and even defeats death itself. Let’s point our kids to Jesus’ loving sacrifice and His amazing resurrection life this Easter!

-Christy King

What My 5-Year-Old Taught Me in My Darkest Moment

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Recently, my husband and I welcomed our third daughter, Sailor. I can’t tell you how excited I was to be pregnant—and even more excited to have another girl! (One day I’ll write a blog post about people who say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get your boy!’)

My pregnancy wasn’t easy. I was sick, renovating a house, had a new job, and had abnormal test results early on. I saw a specialist my entire pregnancy, and we weren’t sure Sailor would be completely healthy until she was born.

But she was! She was perfect!

There’s so much I want to share about the weeks leading up to and following Sailor’s birth, but for now I’ll just say that after she was born, I experienced anxiety on levels that I had never experienced.

Cue the point of this blog: If you’ve read anything I’ve written about our second daughter, Ezzy, you know that while she’s 1/3 of our children, she’s always required 2/3 of our attention.

Homegirl is sky high maintenance.

But she’s also incredibly special. Recently, she taught me a lesson so powerful, I had to write about it.

One thing I did after I had each of my children was to create email addresses for them. I send them random emails and pictures periodically, and plan to give them access to their accounts at some point when they’re older. (Please don’t be impressed by this practice. This is the lazy parent’s version of scrapbooking.)

Here’s the email I sent Ezzy. I hope it encourages you, if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression—or just the day-to-day demands of parenting that can be so tough.

Ezzy,

Hey, sweet girl. I wanted to tell you about something incredible that happened today.

You won your first ever spelling bee! You’re only in pre-k! My little genius!

But the part I’m most proud of, is that you were TERRIFIED to do it. You didn’t want to. You were anxious all night. And this morning you even cried about it. I told you that you didn’t have to do it. Every kid had a choice. But you said, “I wanna twy.”

(You still can’t pronounce your “Rs” – and I honestly hope you never do. Okay. Maybe when you’re like, 10. But until then …)

I won’t lie – I was nervous. We had practiced the night before, and when I asked you to spell ‘cat,’ you looked at me like I was speaking Latin.

But Ezzy, you were so brave. I watched in complete awe (and nausea) as you made it through 6 long rounds. You walked up to that microphone with your side ponytail, your high-tops, and school uniform, and you spelled each word carefully and thoughtfully like you’d been doing spelling bees your whole dang life.

WHAT?

You are amazing. I learn from you every day. Today I learned that you can win, even when you’re terrified.

But more importantly, I learned that failure is not nearly as scary as not trying.

There’s another thing.

I also wanted you to know what today did for me. (Selfishly.) You see, Mama has been going through a really hard time. The only way to describe it is to say that every second of every day feels like a chore. It feels like being the only person on a ship lost at sea. It feels like every step you take is uphill. One day, I’ll tell you more about it.

When you won that spelling bee today, it was one of the first purely joyful moments I’ve had in a while. It was like stepping into the sunshine after being in the shade far too long.

Thank you for trying even when you were scared. If you can try when you’re terrified, so can I. And I will try every day because of you – because staying anxious and worried and tired is a far scarier prospect than trying to fight for joy.
I learned that from you.

Thank you.

And please, please, please, never lose the courage to ‘twy.’

Love,
Mama

So, parents. What are you struggling to try? Trying to …

Trust?
Be vulnerable?
Let your kids grow up?
Take care of yourself?
Lower your expectations?

-Holly Crawshaw