Parenting Is A Battlefield, But I’m In The Lord’s Army
by Pauline Hylton
I once said in an article that marriage is like delivering the newspaper. It’s just so daily. Parenting is like that, too; but over the years, I’ve taken some days off.
There were several years when I was so busy juggling the caregiver and working woman balls that I dropped the mother and wife balls. Other days I was so self-consumed that I just “coasted” with my kids. I was too lazy to hold them accountable to God’s standards. After all, I wasn’t holding myself to His standards. How could I expect that from them? Sin does that to you. It clouds your thinking. Deceives you. It did that to me.
Even sitting in a trendy coffee shop with subtle jazz playing in the background, encouraging the “serenity now” philosophy, and drinking too expensive and too strong coffee, there is an internal super-struggle going on in my caffeine-soaked brain. Raising children is one of the hardest battles a parent can face. Like Rebekah, we try to control our children’s lives so that they can be happy or safe. We rush ahead of our husband and devise our own way to do “God’s will.” But at what cost? For Rebekah, she never saw her beloved son Jacob again (see Genesis 27).
I try not to dwell on the spiritual world around me, but Scripture does say that we fight against principalities and powers, rulers and authorities—the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly places. Because of that, we as parents need to be prepared for battle—spiritual battle. We need to put on our armor—the armor of God. We need to fight the battle God’s way rather than fight it Mom’s way.
Ephesians 6:14 tells us to begin by putting on the belt of truth.
My deceptive heart whispers thoughts like, My son is ungrateful. I deserve better. Or, it’s my husband’s fault—not mine. It chides, Just give up. It’s not worth the conflict. Try having those thoughts running through your head all day and all night. I’m sure most of you have. It ain’t pretty.
But Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). His Word is the only truth that I can bank on.
To put on the belt of truth, I need to replace those deceitful thoughts with the voice of Truth. I Corinthians 13:4 tells me that “love is patient and kind.” God is so incredibly patient with me; how can I be impatient with anyone else? I discipline myself to recall Ephesians 5:33 that states, “The wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” I need to have my husband’s back, especially in parenting.
In the past, I’ve failed to do this, and it’s been a problem. I’ve been too busy second-guessing our parenting methods to support my husband. I’ve been afraid that my son won’t like me. What if he leaves? Or that he won’t love me. What if he says bad things about me to other people? I need to label that what it is: pride and unbelief. That is sin.
God has given me a Christian husband who loves and serves his family at great cost to himself. I need to trust that the Lord is guiding the spiritual head of our home. If the Lord can channel the hearts of kings, He can give my husband a heads-up about our son.
The other way I’m going to fight this internal, spiritual battle is with the Holy Spirit’s help. Jesus says in John 15:5 that “without Me you can do nothing.” I need to believe that and take action on what I believe. Ephesians 6:18 states, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
So what does it look like to be on the alert with prayer in the Spirit at all times?
For me, it is to pray without ceasing. That doesn’t mean that I’m on my knees all day. It means that I’m praying as I take my mom to the movies. It means that I’m petitioning the Almighty as I load the dishwasher or while I sweep the floor (which I hardly ever do). It’s depending on the Holy Spirit to teach me how to pray for my family.
I know I’ve got a long way to go as a soldier in the Lord’s army. As I persevere with the Spirit’s help, there will be plenty of other battles to fight. I don’t want to be sidelined. I want to be a good and faithful soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that one day when I meet my commander and chief, King Jesus, He will say, “Well done My good and faithful servant.”
Pauline Hylton is a freelance writer from Largo, FL, who specializes in humor or whatever else you’ll publish. She loves dark chocolate, her family and the Lord (but not necessarily in that order). For more of Pauline’s writings, visit www.PaulineHylton.com.