One arm holding the banister rail, one foot resting on the first step, he turned to me with eyes I didn’t recognize. The eyes that looked back at me were armed with daggers of anger, rage, and pent-up emotions. His shoulders held tight the tension running through his veins. His stance, his eyes, they froze me. In that moment I felt helplessly at a loss for words.
I was unable to speak. In the silence, with angry eyes glaring back at me, I heard a whisper. A whisper that soothed the burn of the daggers. “You are not fighting against your child. You are fighting FOR MY child. This battle is not yours. This battle is mine. Now pray.”
If you can pray with no words, I did in that moment. I don’t know what happened. My normal reaction would have been to feel angry, hurt, and to fight back hard. I would have demanded respect and demanded he see it my way. Because I’m the parent, and I know best, of course. In that moment the kindness of my Father saved me from myself and destruction. He covered my mouth with his gentle hand while giving me new eyes to see the battle at hand and softening my heart to feel compassion for my child at war. A war he doesn’t even really know exists. A war I know all too well.
This battle is a familiar dance to me. The music plays a different melody, and the moves may change from time to time. I need to recognize Who I’m dancing with and who is trying to cut in uninvited.
With grace given by God in that moment, I responded to those dangerous eyes that threatened rebellion, “Can you write for me what you are feeling? Write out what thoughts are going through your mind. Write anything and everything that comes to mind.”
4 words can sink a heart. “It will hurt you.”
Swallowing hard, drawing on the strength of His wings covering me, I met his gaze. “It’s ok. Just write exactly what you are feeling. Even if you think it will hurt me. It’s ok.”
He shrugged as his eyes seemed to say, “Ok, whatever.” And he turned and walked away.
I wondered about words I had spoken as a child that inflicted pain to the heart of my parents. I wondered how old I was when they felt what I’m feeling. I wondered how they got through it because they weren’t christians. How do parents make it when they don’t have Christ to cling to?
I watched as he wrote away, effortlessly. He didn’t lack for words. They seemed to flow naturally onto the paper. I never left the protection of His wings. They sheltered me and prepared me for the words I would read.
He laid the pen down, met my eyes, and I saw tenderness had replaced much of the anger. “Mom, are you sure you want to read this?”
“Ok!” And he skipped away and began playing as if nothing had ever happened. Meanwhile, I held the paper in my hand asking God for wisdom. Then I read. The words were shocking. Sort of. It was so extreme and so bizarre that satan couldn’t deny he was playing a game here. He was full on battling for my child. In that moment I experienced something I had never experienced before. Emotions washed over me like a waterfall. I did not read those words and feel hurt or defensive. I read those words and ached for my child. I felt such compassion for him in that moment that I couldn’t contain it and ran right over to him in the midst of being surrounded by people and hugged him tight. He gave a half-smile, “Mom, seriously?” Those emotions did not come from me. They came from the giver of life, peace, and true joy.
“Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for loving me enough to be honest even if you thought it would hurt me. I’m not hurt. I know exactly how to pray now. Thank you for sharing this,” I said to him. He just skipped away.
But I knew better. I know how this game works. I know the enemy wanted me to think that is all there is to this little battle and we could go on our merry ways. He’s sly like that. He is a liar. And he will stop at nothing. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I claim it. I claim the full life found only in Christ for my children.
I walked through my house with a confidence I couldn’t create on my own. This is war, and I know who wins in the end. And I know who loses. I felt rage like I hadn’t felt. It’s one thing to attack me, but don’t mess with my kids. The enemy attacks with the precision of any good military attack. He strikes hard and fast, hitting multiple targets with one launch. He seeks to destroy and to kill. His attacks aimed at the church strike hard at the family. When the family falls, churches begin to crumble.
So I listened to the One leading this battle. I prayed. I prayed in every room of my house. I prayed Ephesians 6: 10-18. I used the name of Jesus out loud because I know it causes the enemy to tremble and flee. He runs and cowers at the name of Jesus. And I freely used that power. I turned on scripture music and let it ring loud.
And then I rested on the bed of my child in the midst of a war he can’t see and is too young to understand. So I tried to break it down.
“I’m going to read to you a story you know all too well. But I want you to see something else in it this time. It’s David and Goliath. Imagine you are David. Your goliath is negative emotions you don’t understand. Your goliath is this anger you don’t understand. Your goliath is this turmoil in your heart you wrote about. Imagine all of that standing as a huge giant in front of you, towering over you. It’s hurling threats and telling you how you should feel. But how did David respond?”
His eyes held mine as he listened.
“David responded with a full faith and confidence in God. You see David realized he was a little guy against a big giant. But it didn’t matter. You know why? Because God was on David’s side and not Goliath’s side. David knew that nothing Goliath hurled at him would matter. Because when you battle against God, you lose. David knew who battled for him.”
“Listen to God’s Word. 1 Sam 7: 45-47 “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
“Honey, God has special plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy knows this and he’s messing with you. He is lying to you and trying to make you believe lies. I want you to stand firm against him. As a christian we have nothing to fear from the enemy. We are covered by the blood of Christ. We KNOW who wins the final battle. We will stand in Heaven one day and it will all be over. But until then the enemy will continue to mess with us. He wants to find a crack in our armor. But you must never be scared because he can’t harm you. You are protected by God. There is no greater protection than that. Pray always to be wise to the lies of the enemy. Pray for God to increase your faith moment by moment so you can stand like David stood, knowing who fights for you.”
I walked out of the room knowing this isn’t the end. The enemy will always battle for souls. He knows his days are numbered, so he will fight hard til the end. Until that day comes, I will fight back harder, using only prayer and faith. I know I can win. Because “one little word can fell him.”
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
by Martin Luther
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
[box] *****My favorite book on spiritual warfare is The Invisible War – What every believer needs to know about satan, demons, and spiritual warfare by Chip Ingram. *****
If you are not a believer, I’m glad you are here. You are not here by accident. Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Open God’s love letter written to you. Turn to the book of John. It’s a great place to begin.