What I Want My Kids to Know about the Tough Days

Tough days

I've been reading through the Psalms this summer, and the other day, I came across this verse: "You have taken from me friend and neighbor—darkness is my closest friend" (Psalm 88:18). Pretty depressing, huh? I almost overlooked that verse but something about it stuck with me.

You see, the author of that Psalm felt all alone. His world was collapsing around him. He was having a really bad day, so much so that he calls darkness his closest friend.

My girls have had some tough days in the past six months. They have both had days where they felt all alone, days when they wanted to curl up in a little ball and let darkness be their closest friend. All of our kids have. Friends are mean. School is hard. The game was lost. Family members die. It's a tough world we live in.

That verse, though, made me think about those tough days, those days when darkness is our closest friend, and I discovered there are things I want my girls to know about those tough days. There are things I want them to focus on to get them through the tough times to the sunshine on the other side.

So, here's my list of things my girls should know about surviving a tough day:

You are not alone. Even if no one is around, God is there. He loves you, and He'll see you through.

This won't last forever. These moments that seem so dark now will be a blip on the radar screen of your life. Even the deepest hurts will heal.

You are loved. God loves you, and we love you. Those are two things that will never change no matter how dark the day or how frustrating the situation.

Count your blessings. In every situation there is something you can be thankful for. Figure out what it is and focus on that -- even if it's just that the sun is shining today.

Don't let it consume you. Though your problems may seem huge, there are other things going on in your world. Focus on something else for a bit. The solution to the situation may come when you least expect it.

Smile and laugh even if it's hard. There's nothing like laughter to lift your spirits and make your problems seem like they're not so big. Watch a funny movie. Tell a funny joke. Get those smile muscles working.

Don't suffer alone. Ask for help when you need it. God didn't intend for us to bear our burdens alone. He wants to carry them, and He gave us friends and family to help carry them, too.

Pray. Turn your problem over to God. He loves you and cares about you. No problem is too big for Him to solve.

The next time your kids are struggling through a dark time, share this list with them, or, better yet, make one of your own to share. (If you want a printable version of this list, just click on the picture.)

Linking up today with Walking Redeemed.