When your children are little, there are times they say “no” to what you ask them to do. Sometimes it’s cute.
Sometimes it’s not.
Even littles can wear you down and resist discipline to the point you wonder if it’s worth it.
Add ten to fifteen years and the tantrum looks and sounds more like slamming doors and dropping a stack of books and “I hate you!” and “You don’t understand anything!” The running away is not just down the hall, but in a car to an undisclosed location. The toddler’s resistance to go to bed becomes the teen’s challenge: “Make me.”
Even worse are the times when the scathing words pierce, because the teen or twenty-something knows your weaknesses and throws insults about those weaknesses out like the whipping of a scorpion’s tail, leaving you in stunned silence beneath the hurt.
That is where I found myself last week, and as I retreated in tears to my room I sat on my bed, Bible in hand.
Help me, Lord. What do I do?
God, in His faithfulness, reminded me of Luke 22:31.
Jesus told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
As I contemplated this verse it occurred to me that at that moment, what my child needed most was my prayer. Satan was waiting in the wings and would gladly take my cast offs. Satan’s hope is that I would retreat into despair and become ineffective.
Taking my cue from Jesus I prayed for the souls of my children, that their faith would not fail whatever life threw their way, regardless of the traps Satan was already attempting to lure them with.
It is easy to forget the first mission field we have is in our own home, and more than anything Satan wants to steal our children. And he’s good at it: makes-me-sick-to-think-about-it good at it.
Look at Cain and Absalom and Manassah. They had godly parents in Adam and Eve, David and Hezekiah; parents who walked with God.
C.S. Lewis said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the MOST important work.”
And on the rough days of parenting, when you want to give up more than anything and let your child go their own way even when that way is the wrong way, that is the very time that child of yours needs your godly council and earnest prayer.
Lord, pull her back to you.
Keep him from Satan’s traps.
Help her to see You are the way, the truth and the light.
Let him see that Your ways are best.
Replace rebellion with obedience.
Fill his heart with love.
Teach her to hold her tongue.
Let her see through the flashy worldly things that seem so appealing, to recognize You are the true treasure.
Like C.S. Lewis said, whatever else is in your life (apart from God and your spouse) must bow to the motherhood role. That’s not to say you quit serving at church to follow your child to every sport imaginable. In fact, I'd say it's crucial you don't.
My roles at church center around my children. I teach their Sunday school classes, coordinate music for them to sing and play, teach their Bible history class, put on the Good Friday shadow play and Christmas plays they are in. I try hard to make the Bible applicable, to show them how amazing God's Word is and full of miracles and things far too mysterious for me to comprehend.
Through my priorities I try to show my children that serving God is a worthy endeavor, because God is worthy of our effort, and you know, every so often, and sometimes regularly, my children show me they are watching and listening and they feel the same way.
You are your child’s only mom, and you just might be the only one praying your child lights the world with God’s love. Don’t neglect your mission. The field is ripe and the harvest is so important; in fact, it's eternal.