It’s been a rough week as far as the kids’ behavior is concerned. A lot of bickering and fist fighting has ensued. Name calling, punching have been thrown in as well, you know, to spice things up. I have dreaded getting out of bed in the mornings, and have equally not looked forward to the witching hour. For our family that time of day is from bus pickup at 3:40 until bedtime at 7:30. From the moment they get off the bus, until the moment their heads hit the pillows (after they hit their brother's head with the pillow) it's just multi-tasking to the point of ADD. All the fighting from the morning has picked right back up again, but now dinner also has to be made, homework has to be completed, and laundry put away before all the piles are kicked over and sock matches are lost forever. Meanwhile, wreckity-girl has refused to take a nap so she's all cranky and whiny, and the cat has decided out of desperation to poop on the dining room rug, because someone has closed the basement door where his litter is kept, and although he's been meowing and pacing the house with his legs crossed, #3 child is crying, and #1 child is whining, so who could possibly hear the 13 year old cat with the puckered hiney? AAHHHHGGGG!
But even still, I am supposed to be a good Christian mother, so I cannot (should not) raise my voice, I cannot (should not) yell, I cannot (should not) spank out of anger, and I cannot (really should not) hide in the linen closet and try to find my happy place in the smell of lavender scented towels and hidden Peppermint Patties. Instead I must put on my Holy Mommy Armor and face the night ahead. Now in all truthfulness, if I was really being proactive, I should have put it on before I crawled out of bed, but better late than never, right?
So, first I will don my Helmet. Ephesians 6 it tells us that when we put on our Holy Armor, the helmet represents our Salvation. Oh and it is, my friends. Without the salvation of Christ and the Holy Spirit to guide you, you may as well just wave the white flag now, because you don't have a chance. As the most important part of your armor, your helmet protects your mind, your sanity, and it holds your thoughts captive. It muffles the high pitched whining and fighting and instead tunes you into the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit who is whispering covert instructions for winning the battle. It also helps your voice to simulate that of a very calm Mommy instead of the Incredible Hulk ---which is my preferred vocal pitch.
Next comes my Breastplate. It represents righteousness: doing what is right, holy, and just, so as to live without guilt or regret. Sign me up for 2 of those! I hate those nights when I lie in bed and regret my parenting failures of the day. My temper was too short, I skimped on hugs, I didn't play dollhouse because I was busy checking Facebook. I feel so guilty inside knowing that I messed up. Raising my children is a privilege, and shouldn't be wasted on selfishness. Instead we have been called to live a holy and upright life that follows GOD's will and leaves no room for regrets. By putting on righteousness, we are protecting our hearts from the hurts that poor decision making brings. So cover up with that Breastplate, friends, and get ready for the truth.
The Belt of truth, that is. Now, I love a great belt. It can spice up a dull outfit, coordinate with your shoes, and most importantly, keep the Hanes Her Way from creeping up. As mamas, we move ALOT during the day. We are constantly bending, lifting, reaching, and we need to know that when we are in the midst of all this activity, our pants are not falling down around our ankles. How interesting that GOD chose a belt to represent Truth. But you know, it really makes sense, because, knowing the truth of Christ enables you to freely live your life without shame and without embarrassment . It supports you, flavors your countanence, and just holds it all together.
How cool is that? I love when an accessory is multi-functional! And GOD not only calls us to throw on our Truth belt when it is fashionable (around other Christians), we are called to put it on daily. It's not to be taken off when it doesn't match what you really want to wear (um, those would be those runnning shoes of sin that help us wander way too fast away from where GOD wants us to go.) So, Belt of Truth, function over fashion, and perhaps skinny and black so it goes with everything.
All this shoe talk is reminding to throw on my sandals! In Ephesians our Sandals represent peace and readiness. Ah, peace. Nothing brought me more peace as a new mom than a nice walk with my sleeping cherub all nestled in his stroller----except for a nap. A nap, however, was not taking off the baby weight. So, I would reluctantly throw on my shoes and grumble all the way out the door. But in those walks, I found time to clear my mind, I found silence while the baby slept (most of the time), and I felt my body become stronger and more ready to face the rest of the afternoon.
Sometimes GOD lets us just meander through easy stages of parenting, but sometimes He calls us to lace up and follow Him up a parenting hill. Your strength will wain and your muscles will strain, and you may cry all the way up the mountain, but your mind will have the peace of Christ under all the pressure, and your relationship with your Father will grow as you trust Him on the path where He leads you. Whooo, I'd better lace 'em up tight, friends, because I haven't seen the view from the top yet; not this week anyways.
So let's see, we've got our helmets, our breastplates, our belts, our sandals, and now our shields of Faith. Oh, yes, give me 2 of these also!! Have you ever parented a little boy? If so, you know that during those toddler years you just brace yourself all day as they throw their bodies into you. They love you hard, they hug you hard, and boy oh boy, sometimes they fight you hard, too. And not just physically. They push you with their defiance and anger. They throw insults. But don't let down that shield! Stay consistent and know that your faith in JESUS will protect not only yourself and your decision making but ultimately your little ones as well. Keep your faith right up in front of you where everyone can see it and where you can be reminded by it as well.
I'll warn you, friends, it gets heavy sometimes. It may seem easier to just set it down and take a little break. But your children are always watching, always looking to see if you are really living by the Biblical rules you are teaching them. When you let that guard down and begin to doubt the faith that GOD has given us, they notice. Others around you will notice, too. So, don't keep your shield in the back of your closet with the skinny jeans you long to fit into again. Wear it proudly and hold it out in front. It totally matches the new belt and shoes you're wearing.
And finally, the Sword of the Spirit which is God's Word. I have to admit, sometimes it's late in the evening before I pull this one out. Sometimes it gets dusty from it's days spent unopened on my nightstand. Why? Why do I make it so hard on myself? I have a tool, a weapon even to counteract all the contention in my life and I leave it upstairs on my nightstand?! Sheesh, even I think I need to be in the naughty corner over that one!
I'm glad it's not too late to make things right! The Sword of the Spirit can diffuse anger, can provide wisdom, can help us fight evil influences that beat on the doors of our households on a daily basis----but only if we use it. Interesting that the Shield does not represent the Word of God. The Shield is something to just hold and use to block sin. The Sword, however, isn't going to do much use if it's just held out there in front. It must attack! It must battle the enemy. How so? By scripture memorization and meditation upon GOD's will and written word for our lives. We need to know what the Bible says in order to refute the lies of the world that are constantly trying to pierce our armor.
Over the weekend, we watched a show that taught us all about the spitting cobra. Hurray. One more reason that I love my country. It's bad enough that I have to get on my boys for spitting; I cannot imagine walking through my yard and having an animal spit on me as well. In my eyes for that matter, with venom. I digress. As we sat there watching this poor lion avoid getting his eyeballs burned out, I thought about the faceless moderator of this show and how "pro-spitting cobra" he was. How he positively raved about this amazing creature who shoots venom and all that stuff. How the creature should not be killed, but carefully captured and relocated if it ventured into some village or home. And on that note Mr. Moderator and I completely parted in our beliefs.
Just call me Mama Lion. If there is some crazy snake spitting poison into my babies eyes, I more than likely will not calmly remove and relocate the reptile. I will tear it apart. I will destroy it, even if it means my own blindness. I will not just take my baby cub and hide in the weeds waiting for it to find us.
So why I leave my sword on the nightstand while the spitting cobra is hurling poison at my kids, I have no idea. Or excuse. It's just easier to stay in my lazy mama pajamas some days than to put on my Holy Mommy Armor and be productive. But I'm making a committment, friends. I'm going to better, and things are going to get better, and eventually there will be peace once again in my household. So I will leave you with this:
Do you have on your armor? Some of it? Which piece do you find hardest to put on?
1 year ago