I do not know how things look from where you stand right now. But uncertainty is a persistent theme here, as some things tentatively begin to reopen and other things remain indefinitely closed. We do a lot of waiting-to-see: waiting to see what the grocery store looks like this week, or whether swimming lessons will be cancelled this summer, or when we can safely have a grandparent or two over to play.
I suspect that through this, our daughters are getting a lesson in “the many things Mom and Dad don’t know.” In some ways, the ground between us has been leveled—we are no longer the ones who hold the plans and dole them out daily, but we wait with our daughters to see what will happen next. We do our best to wait patiently.
But built into this strange season of waiting-to-see are many gifts—chief among them, the time to process these changes together. We can take long walks together or, heck, even stay up late to talk through hard things. (We have nowhere to be in the next morning.) On days when one child grieves—because everything is different and she doesn’t understand why—I have no tightly-wound schedule to keep me from climbing into bed with her and holding her while she cries.
I know that not every family has that luxury right now. Many of you are working harder than ever (thank you!) or grieving heavier losses than ours (I am so sorry). But I suspect that most of us are looking for ways to lift our children’s eyes toward God during this time of global suffering, and today’s series of books offers a beautiful, very practical way to do that.
One book in particular has been helpful in talking to my younger daughters about loss. Henry Says Good-Bye*, by Edward T. Welch, tells the story of a young hedgehog, grieving the death of his pet ladybug, and the story walks through Henry’s emotions and grief in a way that is honest but also oriented toward the gospel.
That book is a part of the Good News for Little Hearts series, a series overseen by the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF). Written by some well-known Christian counselors like David Powlison or Edward Welch, these books address issues like coveting, anger, fear, or anxiety, and equip parents with tools helpful in deep discussion with young kids.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how well-written these books are. Even as an adult, I’ve felt challenged and convicted, or reassured, by the stories, and I’m grateful for the doorways they have provided into deeper conversations with our kids. At the back of each book, the author includes a parent resource, as well has some perforated cards with scripture that address the book’s topic.
When our circumstances feel so uncertain from day to day, I am grateful for books like these that help remind our family of what never changes: Christ’s sacrifice is still sufficient for us. God’s love for us never changes, and he never leaves us. Those are the stories I want to read to my girls again and again while we wait to see what comes next.
*This book is so beloved at our house that I couldn’t find it anywhere when the time came to photograph it. “Have you seen it?” I asked each daughter in turn. When I got to Phoebe, who at six has keenly felt this year of abrupt transition, she sighed. “No,” she said. “But I love it so much.”
Good News For Little Hearts (Series)
Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF); Joe Hox