There may come a time when raising children that things feel hopeless. Little by little you see his love for God slip away. She makes choices contrary to the way you’ve taught her. Church is no longer where he wants to be. Your little girl who once sang that Jesus loves her, now doesn’t believe He exists. These are just some examples of hopeless situations (or at least ones that can feel this way).
I’ve felt hopelessness and it’s from my own experiences I can share the following ways to combat it…
1) Don’t put your hope in the outcome, put it in the Lord.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
This is so important because oftentimes the outcome we envision is nothing like the Lord’s. We base our hope on what we believe is “best,” when it may very well come through in a way we didn’t expect or want.
No one could have convinced me several months ago that my 17-year-old daughter having a baby would turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to her. But knowing what I do now, it was.
If we put our trust in outcomes, we may be disappointed. But when it’s in the Lord, we can see miracles even when it doesn’t make sense.
2) Celebrate the little victories.
Who dares despise the day of small things… (Zechariah 4:10)
It may take some creativity depending on the situation, but you need to look for the victories (regardless of how big or small). Not only that but you should celebrate them. Thank God. Point them out to your child, if appropriate. Document them.
We should never dismiss what God is doing in our children’s lives, even when it doesn’t seem to be much. Oftentimes it’s the little victories that eventually lead to the big changes.
3) Even in the silence, know that God hears your prayers.
“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” (Mother Theresa)
At times it seems as if God is silent—we’re not hearing from him. We’re not seeing him move. Nothingness can breed hopelessness. But your prayers haven’t gone unheard. The enemy of our soul wants us to believe that God isn’t listening. When we fall for that lie, our faith becomes shaky. But God’s Word tells us different. We can have confidence and boldly approach his throne with our prayers (Hebrews 4:16).
4) Proceed with caution when sharing your “hopeless” situation.
“Be careful who you trust and tell your problems to. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.” (Vanny Angel)
It’s important you don’t walk the rocky path alone. At the same time you must use caution in what you share (sometimes specifics aren’t necessary) and who you share it with. Sad to say, some people will use it against you. Others unintentionally make the situation worse. It may even get back to your child, causing mistrust.
Error on the safe side when sharing your hopeless situation. It will eventually come to an end and yet, you may have to deal with the residual effects of what you shared.
5) Remember that hope doesn’t disappoint.
“…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
God’s love for us (and our children) is greater than anything else we may face. Having hope in him will never bring disappointment because his purposes and plans far exceed anything we can imagine. We are never guaranteed things will turn out our way. But we are guaranteed his love to see us through.
© 2015, Stephanie Romero