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Carmen Lappe offers an honest account of life with children and considers how to encourage our children’s faith when God seems silent in our own lives.

Currently, my daughter Gemma’s favorite hymn is “In Every Age.” While I’ve been working diligently to learn this song on the piano and find myself humming it almost constantly, I recently found myself focused on the title and how befitting it is for this stage of life. I write a lot about the struggles of raising young children, as it’s the juncture in which we find ourselves and also the place where I can feel closest to God. At other times, I’ve never felt further away from Him.

Our son Damien recently turned three. He has presented more challenges than our daughter, challenges I was not at all prepared for or ready to accept, if I’m honest. From a strabismus in his right eye and recently-discovered nystagmus, emotional and behavioral challenges, to an IEP to address his needs in school … I was not ready.

I was not ready for my husband’s work schedule that, for the past two years, has required more of me than I was willing to give: more time alone with the kids, becoming the default parent for morning and afternoon routines, and taking them by myself to many of their appointments. Most of all, I was not ready to feel like a shell of my former self, fraught with anxiety and self-loathing for not better managing my life.




A recent afternoon alone with the kids began peacefully enough, but ended with me mopping up an entire cup of lemonade that had been spilled deliberately on the living-room carpet. At the brink of desperation after a long week, I buried my face in the carpet and screamed, “Are You even listening?” Hot tears stung behind my eyes and my entire body pulsed with anger when suddenly, the door to the basement creaked open and my daughter Gemma emerged.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?” Now, I believe in being real with our kids. I want Gemma and Damien to be comfortable expressing their emotions and talking through them with their dad and me. I want them to know it’s okay not to be okay.

“I just wish I could do better,” I told her.

She shrugged and said, “Okay, but who were you yelling at?”

I told her I was talking to God; I was praying and asking for His help. She responded, “But why were you yelling at Him? That’s not how we pray.” As much as I believe in being real with the kids, I also believe in being real with God. I believe it’s important for the kids to know that prayer isn’t always the quiet, rhythmic prayers we offer at Mass or at bedtime. Often, prayer may look like my tears, born out of despair. My scream into the floor, driven by desperate hope, was a prayer.




The lemonade ordeal got me wondering: how can we encourage our children in their own faith when God seems silent or distant in our own lives? How can we profess His supreme love in one breath, when the next might express feelings of abandonment?

First, we must acknowledge that God is constant; we are the ones who move and change. While we create boundaries to His love and put up barriers to His mercy, His steadfast love never leaves us, like the sun perpetually shining as the earth turns around and around in the darkness. Even when we lose ourselves in distractions along our earthly pilgrimage, or trials that seem insurmountable, His constant, supreme, and unfathomable love remains.

Second, we recognize His sovereign, constant goodness that has never left us. His lavish generosity surrounds us at every turn: a warm home, a job to go to, food on the table, and the love of family are treasures we may take for granted, yet they are owed to none of us. Waking up every morning is promised to no one. Yet when our eyes are opened and we take our first breath of the day, it is because God has willed it so.




Finally, we persist. We bring it all to the Lord in daily prayer, weekly Mass, and implore His grace in the sacraments as often as possible. These tangible reminders of God’s goodness are the means by which we are sustained and brought to the fullness of life in Him. By practicing our faith together as a family, we plant the seeds of faith in our children and the seeds of hope within ourselves that they will spend their lives knowing and serving the Lord.


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As much as I believe in being real with the kids, I also believe in being real with God. #catholicmom


When God seems silent, consider that perhaps He is listening through a friend who assures you, “This season is hard. Keep going—I am with you in the darkness.” Maybe His encouragement comes in the arms of your children in a warm hug at bedtime. It might be just enough to get you through to the next morning, but that’s enough.

We can acknowledge seasons of life that are hard, but let us not remain with our cheeks buried in the lemonade-soaked carpet too long. God is listening, even though He may show it in a different way than we expect.



Copyright 2022 Carmen Lappe
Images: Canva