3 Practical Tips When You’re Wrestling With Faith

wrestling with faith as parent

1. Turn to well-worn prayers.

Try these by Thomas Merton and St. Anselm of Canterbury if you need words for your wondering or wandering.

2. Pray with the story of Jacob wrestling with God.

The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. 

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 

(Genesis 32:22-31)

What word or phrase speaks to you right now, in your own wrestling with faith?

3. When your child asks a spiritual question that stumps you, don’t panic!

Try these approaches when you don’t know what to say (or feel overwhelmed by your own uncertainty).

Affirm that the child brings their own wisdom, and find out more about what prompts their question: That’s a great question. What do you think?

Look to trusted sources of wisdom. I wonder what [Scripture, the church, our pastor, the catechism, etc.] says about that. I wonder who else we might ask?

Normalize wonder, doubt, and uncertainty as parts of faith: I don’t know the answer either. But I know we can always bring our questions to God. 

Encourage ongoing conversation and prayer together: Let’s keep thinking and praying about that together. What would you want to ask God?

This week’s sponsor of Mothering Spirit is Be A Heart Design, a modern Christian lifestyle brand that creates beautiful products to help both adults and children grow in faith. Check out their Easter offerings to bring joy to your kids in their baskets: dolls, puzzles, toys, and much more!

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