sons

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A House Divided

Published August 8, 2017 by Dawn

“I hate your house. I hate the music you’re always listening to and the way I feel when I’m there.”

He dissed my music … and my house. And the atmosphere in my home. I could have taken this personal. In fact, I might have except … well, I know it’s a spiritual thing and I am not letting the devil bait me.

I bet you want to know who said it. It hurts me to admit it, but it was my son. He hates my home. He attributes all his anger, depression and anxiety to the atmosphere of my home. That’s how I know it’s spiritual.

Ok, let’s talk for a moment very specifically about what he hates. He hates classical music. The soothing music that is scientifically proven to de-stress you. He hates it. Or, my worship music. The music that brings peace into the chaos of my life. He hates it. Why? Because Satan is trying to cause a war in him and the music I listen to is quite literally an instrument of peace!

He hates constant singing. That’s what I do. I sing … a lot. Like, all day, every day. I also laugh a lot. I also like to make him responsible for his own messes and hold him accountable for his actions and his words. He hates that. What teenager wouldn’t?

He hates it when I talk to him and my words end up being something straight out of the Bible, because the best of my wisdom comes from the Word of God. I speak to my kids in scripture form a lot. He hates that.

Do you know why this didn’t hurt me? Because I know who “he” is, and it isn’t my son. You see, Satan hates all of these things about my house. Right now, he’s managed to manipulate my teenage son into believing that everything that “he” hates about my house is making my son miserable. Perhaps it is. After all, my son is in the midst of a great battle to figure out who he is. He doesn’t know which side of the fence he’s on just yet. I’m praying for God to woo him one way, and the devil is masterfully persuading him in the opposite direction. I’m not surprised … we all have this war at some point in our lives. We all have to come into our own faith because someone else’s relationship with God won’t save us. It must be our own. So we all have a crisis of some sort, where our foundation is solidified; just us and the Lord.

I’m surprisingly calm, right? Ha! Listen, I’ve had my moments of crying out to God. This all started when my son was eleven, almost twelve. The turbulence in his heart and mind became really violent. He began struggling with depression and anger. I took it to God in panicked, ugly-crying sessions, begging him to save my son. He spoke something that was so true, though hardly comforting: “Every warrior was once a boy in training. There’s a time of preparation for the man of God, and mothers don’t get to choose when they are ready. Fathers do.”

Dear Lord.

That was the day I handed him over in my heart. I tried taking him back, but sadly, he’s not mine to coddle any more. He still runs to me like my son, leans into my hugs like he misses being a child and invents reasons to need me. But now he fights, which is something I never saw coming. He’s an untrained warrior learning how to wield a sword and sometimes, it teeters in my direction. He’s not my enemy. He never will be. I know who the enemy is. No, this emerging man of God is a warrior learning the battlefield for himself. War hurts, and so sometimes, he hurts too. Hurting people hurt people. My son doesn’t hate me. He hates the confusion. The angst. The constant struggle inside. I get it! I hate those things too.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you because, well, parenting is hard. Peopling is hard too. Sometimes, waking up in the morning is hard. You feel me? It helps to remember that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness, and wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

Don’t take it personal, friend. At the end of the day, it’s not even about you. It’s about so much more than you. Pray for your loved ones. Give the hurt to Jesus and love them like you always have. They need your constant, unwavering love as a safe-haven in this war-torn world. Love is truly an oasis, even if they can’t always recognize it as such. One of the first things a warrior seeks out in battle is a safe place to duck into in case of an ambush. Let your love be that place.

Remember, friend, you are at war too. Only, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty! For the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations and everything that sets itself up against the wisdom and knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4). As our loved ones train for their own battles, let us look past their faults and see their needs. God bless!

Father Love

Published July 25, 2013 by Dawn

I crawled into bed a few nights ago, not too long after my kids fell asleep, and while getting snuggly with my pillow, felt a piece of paper scrunching up under my head. Sadly, that was nothing out of the ordinary; I’m a writer, and guilty of sleeping with books, paper, and/or pens on many occasions. When I pulled the paper out from under me, I realized it didn’t belong to my collection of notes. Someone had written me a letter! I love letters. It’s my “thing.” I was overjoyed to know that people in my house (my kids) were embracing my love for letter-writing as a form of communication. Excitedly, I opened it and began to read (I have not copied it directly because it was written in a code we lovingly call dyslexia):

Dear Mom,
I can’t wait until church camp. I am excited. And also, sometimes, I am lonely. Can you help me with any of that sometimes?

He didn’t sign it. He didn’t have to. Needless to say, this letter tore my heart. I crawled up into the lap of God and bawled my heart out. Lord, what more can I give of myself? I would do anything to help him with that. I felt in the deepest part of me a desperation for my son. His need, expressed in so few words, cried out to me for help and attention. I’d give him the world if I could.

So very tenderly, the Lord said to me as I poured my heart out, “This that you feel right now; I feel this way about every one of my children.”

I’ve never known this about the Lord. Sure, I’ve read the scriptures but for some reason, the God I struggle to know gets wrapped up in the worldly understanding that He is distant and iron-fisted, stern and commanding. To know that my Abba Daddy is tender-hearted and compassionate toward all that He has made is the most wonderful truth the Lord has revealed to me yet. It’s one thing to read it. Quite another to hear it from His lips. My fears dissolved and relief swept over me. The Lord’s heart is aware of his pain. He is aware of my pain. He is aware of your pain. And it tears His heart.

David reveals this truth in Psalm 145:13, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.” Toward all He has made. This mother-heart in me that hurts when my kids hurt cannot even compare to the love of God’s Father-heart toward His children. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who keep asking Him.” God is a good Father, not to be confused with the earth’s best in parenting. Because as good as we are, we still fail sometimes to do the best thing in relation to our kids. Our Heavenly Father, however, not bound by earth’s limitations or our limited understanding, is able to provide all that we need and gives these good gifts without showing partiality. All we have to do is ask. And He wants to! That’s the best part. His heart is attuned to our cry and simply waiting for us to ask Him. There is no need He cannot provide for, no emotion He does not understand and care about. He compassion toward us is deep and He loves us with an everlasting love, and draws us to Himself with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). When we realize the inability of the world to offer solace, we are assured of His ability, and more than that, His willingness, to be all that we need. Loneliness? He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Orphaned or widowed? According to Romans 8:15, you, dear orphan, have been adopted. And widowed woman, for you He has spoken Isaiah 54:5, “For the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, is your Husband.” The cry of a human heart is His call to action. He feels your pain in the depth of Himself, and He responds out of a sincere desire to stop that ache. Nothing can separate you from this Love (Romans 8:39).

Father, thank you for such wonderful truth. Thank you that you hold our hearts and are attentive to our cries. Thank you for caring for us so much. I love that I can come to you as a daughter comes to her Father, and that you respond to me as a Father who loves His daughter very much. I am blessed to know You.