A Lesson from a Sixth Grader

My son is in the sixth grade, and our our relationship seems to change every day. There are days when I feel like we are connecting on deep levels, and days where I feel so very uncool in his eyes.

But today, we had an incredible conversation. It was an attempt to build his faith, but the Holy Spirit must have known I needed some encouragement, too.

Today, my son shared with me that he felt as if he had no purpose. We talked at length about his feelings and friendships and what we can do to encourage ourselves when we’re feeling down.

Ultimately, we found ourselves discussing Scripture. (I literally could not believe my 12-year-old was still sitting with me by the time we got to this point! That alone seemed to be a little nod of encouragement from God!)

I asked him to read to me from Jeremiah 29:11-13.

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you...plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me.

And from Jeremiah 1:5.

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.

We did a short Lectio Divina exercise together. (Are you screaming “Miracle!” here? Because I sure was.) We talked about what it is to know someone, and that the Bible often uses that word to meaning knowing someone intimately. That God didn’t just know my son before He created him...He knew him inside and out, what he would do, how he would think, that he would have ADHD and OCD, that he would be full of doubts and full of amazing ideas.

And here’s the kicker. When I asked my son what that meant to him...what it meant to be known that way before God created him, he replied, “He knew everything about who I would be, and decided it was still a good idea.”

I have repeated those words over and over in my head since he spoke them. Sometimes when a piece of Scripture is so familiar, it can lose meaning. But here, in a time of my own life where I was starting to feel a little adrift and restless, my son let the Holy Spirit speak through him to reach me.

Think about that. You. With flaws, shortcomings, and weaknesses. With a bad temper, a tendency to gossip, or an impulse to overspend or overeat. God knew all of it. God knew you would sometimes be distracted in prayer. God knew that you would say things you’d regret. God knew that you would be impatient with your kids from time to time. He also knew you would dream big dreams, adore your family, explore your passions, and bring His love to the world.

And he decided you were still a good idea.

And you are. What a loving, merciful God He is.


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