Seeing as today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, I am reminded of the importance of teaching my children the value of the cross in their own lives. It seems like society today has forgotten or is ignorant to the value of redemptive suffering. Of course I do not want my children to experience pain, in fact my heart shatters when they are in pain, but the truth is that pain and suffering are a part of life, and it is how we deal with that pain and suffering that can allow us to grow into better people and develop deeper relationships with God.
Growing up I often was told to "offer it up" whenever I was experiencing pain. Whether the pain was physical, emotional or spiritual my mom taught me at an early age that I could use that pain to pray for others and to draw closer to God. She constantly reminded me to unite my sufferings to what Christ suffered, and to remember that where there is a cross, there is always a resurrection! Although, "offering it up" didn't soothe the pain of a headache, scraped knee, or broken heart, it did help me to feel like there was a deeper purpose for the pain, and that maybe my pain was even helping someone else.
I am so grateful that my mom taught me the value of redemptive suffering, and I pray that I too can model and instruct my children in the value of picking up their crosses in life and offering them to the Lord! I can't promise my children that their lives will be painless, but I can teach them the joy of embracing and finding freedom in the Cross!