Entering the Fight

Hello again!  I’ve been on a hiatus for a while because my computer crashed a few months ago.  I finally found some time to take it in for a diagnostic check, but it had completely died on me.  Luckily, they were able save all my files and transfer them onto my husband’s computer, but now I’m learning to adjust to using a Mac instead of my trusty old Acer 🙂

I’ve been missing writing, but I’ve also realized that finding time to write is becoming more and more difficult.  With a one year-old who is climbing on everything and has discovered that there’s water in the toilet, and three other boys vying for my attention, I’m exhausted when the day is done.  But I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while so hopefully the boys will cooperate and take good naps.

One of my first posts, When the Nest is Attacked, was about spiritual attacks on our home and family.  I loved writing this post because it made me really consider where the attacks were coming from and how I needed to fight them.

Currently, a spiritual attack we are fighting in our home is one against selfishness and excess. Between celebrating a few birthdays and Christmas in the past couple months, our boys grew accustomed to receiving a lot of gifts and participating in fun activities.  We had family visit from out of town, we were able to do fun things as a family over Christmas break, and there were lots of presents. While these were all fun and good things that I’m happy my sons were able to experience, it’s been tough to go into January and get back into a routine.  It’s also been tough to teach young kids to have grateful hearts for all they’ve been given without continuing to expect more.

A while back I read a devotion about spiritual attacks.  I liked the point it made that we must acknowledge the attack so that we can enter into the fight.  It made me think, do I get frustrated and discouraged by these attacks, but fail to fight back?  Do I find myself becoming lazy instead of preparing for and entering into the battle? I think too often, that’s exactly what I do!  And that’s exactly what the enemy wants.  He wants us to become discouraged, hopeless, and worried about what’s going wrong in our lives.  He wants us to give up and just accept that this is what our life amounts to at this time.

But let’s be honest, that’s all garbage! Because when we choose to acknowledge the spiritual attack for what it is, we don’t give it power over us.  We don’t believe the lies or allow it to determine the end of the story. No, we choose to enter into the fight by focusing on the light instead of the darkness and by arming ourselves with the full armor of God.  We choose to enter into the ring believing with full confidence that God has already won this battle so we have nothing to fear! And it’s not only acknowledging that we are IN a fight, but also recognizing WHO it is against. We’re not in a battle against flesh and blood! It’s not a battle against our children, our spouse, or even ourselves. It is a battle against the enemy and one that we need to fight immediately!

In my case, it took me shaking off the frustration with my sons because of their attitudes of discontentment and selfishness and instead using it as a teaching moment.  It took patience from me as I put myself in their shoes and realized they are still learning about holidays and seasons of the year. It took humility on my part to turn to God and ask for help in my moments of discouragement.  It’s not easy, but these conversations with God are so much more fruitful than being torn down by the enemy’s lies!  And the peace it brings is unexplainable as we allow God to fight these battles for us!

It’s been nice to get some of my thoughts out again and hopefully it won’t be too long before I post some more. Enjoy your day with those around you and be encouraged!

Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!

When the Nest is Attacked

The Story

A few weeks ago, I noticed a mother and a father bird building a nest in our pergola.  I had a front row seat to their cooperative effort as I watched from our kitchen window whenever I was doing the dishes.

Let me interrupt this story for a second to let you know that I prefer an empty sink after each meal.  This means that I either load the dishes into the dishwasher or hand-wash the non dishwasher-safe items (which I try to limit these days) after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It’s just my routine and I prefer not to step out of it.  I note this to relay that I spend a lot of time at the sink throughout my day.

Back to my story…

I found it endearing to watch the mother and father “nest” and couldn’t help but think about each time we prepared to welcome one of our sons into our family.  So much time is spent making sure our hearts and our home are prepped for a little one.

Once the nest was completed, the mother rested and laid the eggs and the father came and went to check in.  In the meantime, my sons and I affectionately named the birds.  I chose Harriet for the mommy and they picked T’Challa (after the superhero Black Panther) for the daddy.

Like a dream, the eggs hatched on Mother’s Day.  I’ll be honest and say that I was somewhat obsessed with checking in on the family at this point without bothering them.  Other than my husband grilling a few times, we stayed out of the backyard to give them their space.  Cute, right?!

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve watched Harriet care for her babies so gently.  She only left to find food to bring back to the nest, allowed her babies to nuzzle under her wings, and kept a watchful eye on anyone or anything that she saw as a threat.  Again, this scene consumed me a little more than I’d like to admit considering I’m not especially an animal person and usually don’t like to be too close in proximity to birds.  I even went as far as Googling questions I had about birds in general.  Ask my husband, I love to Google, but even this was a little extreme for me.

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Meet Harriet and her babies (who are camouflaged in there). Please excuse the poor quality of the photo. I didn’t want to get too close to the nest so I zoomed in quite a bit.

This morning as I was washing the breakfast dishes, I gazed and daydreamed about watching the mother release these little birds to fly off.  I wondered if she would ever see them again and if the siblings would stick together.  (Yes, I know I’m crazy at this point). It was all so sweet….

Until it wasn’t.  This evening when I was making dinner, I realized that the birds were gone and the nest didn’t seem intact.  And there was a stray cat in our backyard next to some feathers.  I didn’t shed a tear, but I was pretty angry with the cat, who we can all assume is the suspect in this disaster.

I no longer would be able to witness the baby birds learn how to fly or see their happily ever after. We gently told the boys what we think might have happened (they seemed more intrigued than sad), and went on with our night.

But I can’t stop thinking about it!

Attacks to our nest

So where am I going with this depressing story?  Well, unfortunately, we all experience attacks on our nests.  The focus of these attacks are on our marriages, on our parenting, and on our relationships with others.  The attacks come in the form of comparisons on social media, bullying, and insecurities.  They come from our discontentment in a world where the Jones’ always seem to be doing something bigger and better.  They come from advertisements and media that desensitize us to sex and violence.

Before we even bring our babies home from the hospital, we dream.  We dream about what it’s going to be like to have a new son or daughter.  We dream about who they are going to be friends with, where they will go to school, and what hobbies they will enjoy.  We dream about taking them on their first trip and introducing them to our favorite places.

When we finally bring them home, we realize that these dreams seem so distant.  Because in the present, we receive opinions from everyone and their best friend, spoken and unspoken.  We see what other parents are doing as we scroll through Facebook and Instagram and begin to feel inferior about the choices we are making.  Are we doing too much?  Are we not doing enough?  Are we becoming THAT mom?

My kids are still young, but already I have the fears of when they begin to be more influenced by their friends from school.  And don’t even talk to me about when they get to the age of having their own phone or social media accounts!  There is so much yuck out there for them to be exposed to!  (I already have lots of conversations with God about these concerns of mine so that He can be prepared for my crazy when these days arrive…and so that I can work on laying my worries at His feet in the meantime.)

And, like I mentioned, it’s not just our parent-child relationships being attacked.  It’s our marriages because we no longer make time for each other.  It’s our families because we spend so much time passing each other by on our way to and from activities.  Our priorities slowly shift over time and before we know it, we’re all just roommates!

Self-Defense

So how do we fight these pervasive battles?  How do we prevent our nests from being torn apart?

We begin by tuning out the opinions of the world and focusing on the opinion of One.  The One that matters.  The One who sees us trying our best on the little sleep we’re getting.  The One who knows the child we are dealing with because He created that child and chose us to be the parents.  The One who equips us with everything we need to care for our children.  And the One who gives us grace in every moment to reset.

We do this by surrounding ourselves with other parents who we respect.  We find and rely on our mom tribe for care and support.  We turn off the TV and put our phones down to enjoy a family game night.  We find a babysitter and schedule a date night, or have a date night at home after the kids go to bed.  We monitor what our children are watching.  We intentionally seek out relationships with people who will encourage us in our walk.  We equip ourselves with Scripture to intentionally fight the attacks.  And we pray…a lot!

It’s worth fighting for

Our homes are sacred.  Our marriages are sacred.  And this is exactly why they are being attacked.  Can we make a pact to fight together for our homes, our marriages, our families, and our relationships?   Instead of focusing on the agendas of the media, opinions of others, and the expectations of the world, can we promise to focus on what’s best for us and our families, seeking first His will for our lives?

Poor Harriet didn’t have a fighting chance once her nest was attacked because she was alone.  She did the best she could to care for her babies.  But luckily for us, we are not in this battle alone.  We have a sovereign Father who is with us every step of the way.  And we have others around us who want to help us protect our nests.  Take heart knowing that when we look to the Lord and do the best we can do with what we have, we’ll be just fine.

I’d love to hear from you on how you protect your nest.  I enjoy hearing your experiences and trying out new things in our home.

Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!

A word on social media:

I love social media for many reasons.  Living so far from my extended family, it’s a great way to “stay in touch” with relatives and friends, sharing pictures and stories.

But I also try to be aware of when it’s affecting me negatively.  When I notice I’m starting to compare myself to others and discontentment is creeping in, I take a break.  I highly recommend doing the same if you notice those feelings in yourself.