“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7 KJV
Have you ever heard the expression “your elephant mouth is going to overload your canary butt”? It’s a favorite parental expression from my childhood. It’s also one I have used with my own children. I have 5 of them you know! We’ve dealt with this on every developmental level. From the littlest first show of independence to the struggling teen working to break free of us and run on into their own. I'd like to say I am a seasoned parent, salty even at times with sage advice and the ability to control every situation rationally. Insert hysterical laughter here. We’ve waged many a physical and spiritual battle on behalf of our desire to raise good humans. I’d also like to say I am not guilty of overloading my proverbial behind with too big of words, but I cannot. The truth is I’m often just as overwhelmed, shocked and thrown when it comes to handling these moments.
Over the years, many situations have arisen in our home that I never in a million years thought would touch us. Why I thought this I don’t know. Probably because I had the unfailing love that only a parent has that believes with all your soul and being that this little bit of perfection, loved so much, would never choose or do terrible worldly, sinful, things. I foolishly thought that if I did all the “right” things they would be so well disciplined to recognize the folly of their decisions. Ha! Nope! Even if you do all the things right your little sweet baby is a whole separate person who is going to mess up!
We were sitting in the aftermath of one of these “mess-ups” and a subsequent throw down show down one night in complete shock. Why did these things keep sneaking up on us? How do these evil issues keep invading our home? Why was this so difficult and why were we always at war? We had a kid in crisis. They had been for quite a while, and we were so lost. We’d gotten the help. We’d changed all we could. We’d counseled and sought expert opinion. Mired in the muck I was so frustrated at how impotent I felt and how far away God felt. My husband and I are both helpers. We are trained to run towards disaster. Part of that training is a regimented set of rules and standard operating procedures you always use. It’s what helps keep a responder calm, because no matter the situation there is already a plan, and you know what to do because you’ve trained for it. We had no algorithm to follow. We couldn’t figure out our starting point.
As we were discussing this my husband even said, “if this were a tactical situation, I’d know how to approach it.” Wait a minute! Why wasn’t it a tactical situation? We were under attack by the devil himself. He was an intruder into our home! He was robbing, thieving and destroying! So, I asked what would you do if this really was a physical intruder? My husband said, “call for back up and secure the perimeter.” So, I cried out to God and sent my 911 call straight up to the Head Honcho and shouted for help! I imagined an angel army surrounding our home. I realized I had an entire arsenal at our disposal. We began to discuss suiting up in the Armor of God. I literally imagined putting it on. I got up and walked to every window and doorway in my home and prayed God to seal it with his mighty protection. I had found my role in this battle. I might not be big and strong, but I can be annoying, and I am persistent. Once the target had been identified I was locked on. I’d help keep the bad guy irritated enough that he’d run from here happy to be rid of the place, as we were of them.
That’s what I did. I walked through my home every night and spiritually slammed and barred every door. Double locked every window. I prayed huge hedges of protection. I flooded the place with praise and worship music. Encouragement was shouted for the home team. We bound every evil and bad thing in our home in the unbreakable bond of Jesus. I invited the Holy Spirit to dwell in my home and heart. We also began to triage the wounds left in the wake of the battle. We reinforced our love for our ravaged child and tended to them as we would if they had been physically wounded.
Guess what happened? We ticked off the evil that had moved in. That angry, misguided child got angrier. We started being attacked on other fronts. Distractions multiplied. Unexpected demands and frustrations abounded. It felt like the dark got darker. So, I turned up my battle songs and I shouted the devil out. I reminded him and myself that he held no power over me or my home. I papered the walls in prayer. Physically and metaphorically the house was cleaned out. Light was let into areas long neglected. I stepped away from it for a moment to refill a cup long gone dry. My husband and I met to shore up our marriage bond and reinforce the nucleus of our family. We redoubled our efforts in counsel. We sought reinforcements in the form of others that had been in this battle before and found solace in their wisdom. We coveted prayers.
Things began to calm as the enemy retreated, but we knew it was not over. We could not let our guard down. That sneaky devil was circling, looking for chinks and cracks. We saw flashes of our child under all the darkness that cloaked them. Slowly the light began to penetrate the darkness. We began to feel the lift within our home as Jesus stepped in to help carry the load. We were in no way clear or even near the end of this battle. We were just getting started. We knew these blow ups were the first volleys in this war. The knowledge that we had Jesus, his angels, and all the power of heaven on our side made the long road ahead worth the toll.
“But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they will walk and not grow tired.” -Isaiah 40:31
I’d love to say it all got better from those moments on. It didn’t. The trenches got deeper. We trudged through the mud. We became battle weary and lost. Shell shocked and hurting we continually apply the only balm we know that will heal while taking the sting from each new situational wound inflicted – the Gospel. What I know without a shadow of a doubt is that God loves this wayward child. He loves my husband. He loves me. He loves this family. His plan and purpose for every one of us is right and good. He will see it to fruition in His time. We know we will get frustrated and obstinate in our desire to have this finished sooner rather than later. Reminding ourselves that whatever He is guiding us through will only add to the testimony of His awesome goodness is the only way we can bear the skirmishes. When we cannot pray, we reach out to those that can. We call for back up. We retreat and rescue. There is a plan now that makes sense and lets us work within the moments we don’t understand. We hold the line. We stay the course. Our war plan is in place, and we know who already holds the victory!
“For the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight against your enemies to give you the victory.” -Deuteronomy 20:4
As always my friends I am praying all good things in Him!!