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If I Could Teach My Children One Thing…

If I Could Teach My Children One Thing…

Well, there are a thousand things I would teach them.  So much I still want them to know before they have to handle life on their own.  And Jesus knows, I’m trying. 

But I’ve watched my kids navigate a tough few days, both for totally different reasons, and if there were one thing that I would want them to know how to do above all else, it would be this:

When hurting, when life throws you a curveball, when a relationship is painful or ends, how to find comfort in Jesus, how to let God tend your soul.

The tricky thing about teaching this, is that this is one of the most elusive spiritual disciplines I’ve ever attempted to master.  And I’ve been working on it for all of the twenty-six years I’ve been following him.

So I would start by telling them when your heart is broken, God promises to be even closer in ways we don’t understand.  How can he be closer than he already is?  I have no idea, really, but he is.  He loves the brokenhearted in special and specific ways.  Maybe it’s because he totally gets the feeling of being brokenhearted; I’m not sure. 

I would tell them that the word of God is the key to his comfort, especially, I’ve found, the Psalms.  There isn’t one emotion left uncovered in that book.  David and the other writers went through it all.  Bad for them, good for us.  Betrayal, unfaithfulness, sinning, being sinned against, being chased, having enemies, feeling far from God, searching for him and not finding him, searching for him and finally finding him.  Relational strife.  Love, loss of love.  Friendship, loss of friendship.  Life, loss of life.  You name it, it’s in there. 

I would then tell them that there is a voice that whispers amazing things to you, especially when you’re hurting, but it comes after time and time and time in God’s word, learning what he would say to you, discerning his voice from yours, discerning his voice from the enemy.  (As my dear friend Charlotte once told me, “If {the words you’re hearing} are being said with condemnation, that’s not the voice of Jesus”).  It’s the Spirit of God bringing Scripture to your mind, perhaps even words you don’t remember ever reading, let alone memorizing.  And it’s the Spirit of God speaking distinct and intimate things to your heart, things that only God could know would mean something to you.

And then I would tell them that it’s a different kind of comfort from the human kind, to not let that surprise them or mystify them or discourage them.  There are no human arms holding you when you are in the embrace of God.  He doesn’t magically and physically appear.  There aren’t gentle eyes looking back at you.  There aren’t hands to wipe away the tears.  It’s different, but it’s just as real.  It’s different but it can heal, even more than human comfort. 

When you let it.  And I would say when you let it because there is a surrendering that comes when you go to God for something, especially when you go to him to have him put the pieces back together.  It’s an admission that you can’t do it on your own.  It’s an admission that you believe in an invisible God, that you believe he is good, that you believe he is loving.  And it’s an admission that the comforts of this world fall short – even the gentlest words and hugs and touches from mothers and friends – they can only do so much.  When you come to God for comfort, you are in essence saying, you are it for meYou are my only true hope of feeling better, getting better, healing up from this.  You are it.

There is so much more to this.  So much more I haven’t even learned or experienced on my own.  But I would tell them that I have known the comfort of God when no one or nothing else could comfort me, that it is a true thing, that it is something they can have and own for themselves.  And that once they do, they’ll be changed, and they’ll be healed, and they will know it to be true.

Elisabeth is mom to two teenagers.  She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing.  She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love: Where God Meets Us in the Everyday; One Girl, Third World: One Woman’s Journey into Social Justice; He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul.  All these books can be purchased on in paperback or Kindle.

Visit her website at and her blog at

You can follow her on Twitter at ekcorcoran or friend her on Facebook at
Watch Elisabeth and her friends spread hope through Africa with Samaritan’s Purse at

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild (

Publication Date: June 12, 2012