Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

The Battle Called Motherhood, and No More Picnicking in War Zones

I have seen a lot of parenting, good, bad and ugly in twenty years of youth ministry alongside of Peter.

I have grieved over the callous ways moms speak to their kids, and I have observed as a bystander, the child’s head hanging a little lower after a parent’s cold, callous remarks.

I have also been that mother myself.

I’ve sat with parents who are grieving over bad choices–irreparable choices–their kids have made, and I’ve comforted moms who lament that they wish they had done things differently.

I have made my own share of mistakes.

And I ask myself why.

Why do parents end up with kids that look so differently than what they expected?

Weren’t there warning signs along the way?

Any red flags?

What went wrong?

I don’t have all the answers, and I haven’t done things perfectly myself. But I do know that to raise children “God’s way”, we’ve got to actually keep God’s ways before us.

This post is a wake up call for mothers who are in the battle called motherhood right now. 

You heard me right– Battle, because that’s what this is. Ask any serious mother–she’ll tell you that sometimes at the end of the day she feels drained emotionally, physically and mentally and spiritually.

Motherhood is no picnic or some convoluted walk in the park. It is war. We are battling for the hearts and minds of our kids.

We are just saying no and are staving off enemies that masquerade as good things.

We are on the front lines, and we are under-supported and under-appreciated.

We feel alone. But we aren’t. There is One who sees all and knows your struggle. And He is the one handing out rewards at the end.

Sometimes I wonder if we moms are delusional- living in a fantasy world–like packing up a family picnic and spreading your blanket in a war zone.

Have you ever met anyone who was living in a dream world? Maybe it was your own toddler who tried to introduce you to their imaginary friend, Simon. Or perhaps it was a shell shocked veteran who was still re-living the horrors of war.

You look at them kinda funny because they just aren’t seeing reality.

Imagine your husband plans a picnic for you and your family. He carefully packs a yummy lunch, a frisbee and a kite and proceeds to take you into the middle of a war zone.

He says “Let’s sit here. This looks like a great spot.”

You look at him in disbelief because you know that sitting here means certain death. You say, “This is really no place for a picnic.” He insists that there is no danger. He has seen people online do it and they looked like they had fun. He tells you to loosen up and stop being so negative. You let him know that he’s lost his mind that that you and YOUR kids will not be eating lunch in the middle of a war zone.

Absurd scenario? Absolutely.

But that is exactly what we do when we let down our guard in this culture and absorb its values. We are sitting ducks in a war zone and then we are leftshell shocked, wondering how our kids got hurt.

I think I need a world-view shake up; a mommy spanking of sorts:

What is reality?

Do you know?

Reality is the truth about life.

Truth is not what I believe it to be, and it is not what you believe it to be. Truth is non-negotiable.

The truth about life is that God exists and rules all things including his creation. (that’s you and me.) God also expect things from us. He is holy and sinless, and when we sin, we are answerable to Him. If we do not accept his free gift of grace, his Son Jesus Christ’s substitutionary payment for our sins, we will be found guilty at the judgement.

You might say, I don’t really like that. I don’t believe it. Again, I am sorry about that because that is indeed truth according to the Bible. That is reality.

As Christian women, we sometimes live a delusional life, and this is where we fall. We are holding our children’s hands and leading them along the delusional life; the life where God is not central, but peripheral. 

We are delusional when we believe that life is a picnic, instead of a war.

We are delusional when we focus on temporal things instead of eternal things, firmly plant our hearts here on earth to the neglect of heavenly things.

We are delusional when we underestimate Satan. {insert eye roll}  If you are like me, you hate it when people talk about “Satan” like he is constantly around every corner and trying to make us fall. I have been guilty of this “oh please, so weird” attitude myself.

As much as I hate to admit it, this is the plan of Satan.

Satan WANTS to make us believe the exact opposite of what scripture teaches. Satan wants us delusional about his ways and tactics. He wants us to think he is a harmless, red horned imaginary creature who does naughty things.

He wants us to believe that our kids are immune to problems, they are really good in heart and that their choices are harmless.

He wants us to underestimate OUR own capability for wickedness.

He wants us to allow our kids to engage in the baser things of the culture.

He deceives us into thinking that our choices are amoral, when in fact every choice is bringing them closer or farther away from God.

He wants us to thing that we can coast through life instead of battling the flesh.

Satan is a liar and a deceiver. The end.

That is why it is imperative to be in the Word of God daily. Reading and applying God’s word takes us through the war zone. It reminds us not to get comfy there, because it is not where we belong. It reminds us to guard our hearts, keep our eyes up, and to watch and pray.

His word is reality.
Reality is:
  • that His people will be different. Not conformed. Distinctive. Holy. You and your kids.We need to ask ourselves whether our lives reflect Christ’s holiness, or if we’ve become SO absorbed by this world that we are really no different.
  • that God’s people are not God’s people in word only. Remember the Israelites? They were all under the cloud and watch-care of God, but God was fed up with their hearts that were “far from Him.”  He is all set with our lip service and ritualism.
  • He seeks humble followers.
  • He expects obedience.
  • He commands us to love others, and to represent Him accurately.
  • When He says no to certain sins: anger, gossip, envy, jealousy, hate, division, you’d better believe that His no means no.
  •  He is no respecter of persons, no matter how big or above the law you think you are in your own eyes.
  • He wants contrite hearts and a reverence for His word.
  • He wants us to realize that He is big and we are pretty small in the grand scheme of things.
He needs mothers that will answer the call to righteous living in their home.
He needs us to do right. Period. Not compromise or blend in or take on the values around us.
And if we are His followers, and if He is our Lord and Savior, our lives need to reflect His,
And we need to teach our children,
His children, actually, 
His ways and His word.