Sunday, December 11, 2005
We had a really hard evening with Peregrine tonight. He was crying and fussing about everything and doing what I call "falling apart". At one point he asked if I would hold him, and when I tried to take him in my arms he began to fight me. I sat in the rocker with him and held him. He screamed and tried to pull away and so I held him tighter. He complained that I was hurting him and I explained that if he would stop fighting my arms would be gentle but as long as he fought my arms would be strong around him.
And so we sat, my heart hurting over my boy's foolishness. I knew that if he would simply surrender, that we could share sweet fellowship together. This went on for some time. He would momentarily stop struggling and rest his head on me, and then the fight would start again and I had to use my "strong arms" to hold him close. In desperation I began to pray aloud over him, asking Jesus to help him to obey and to calm down. Immediately he grew still and his body relaxed as he gave up fighting and allowed me to hold him gently in my arms.
I was reminded of the verse that says "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places". Lately I feel like I'm in a battle with my precious son and I needed to be reminded that he's not my adversary, that I'm not called to fight him, but to fight for him. And that the battle is not merely for his behavior but for his soul. The enemy of our souls is at work to turn the hearts of the children away from their parents and ours away from theirs. Jesus calls us to shepherd our children and to gently lead them and train them up in righteousness. But we are in the midst of a battle. It's easy to forget that it's spiritual, that it's not me against Peregrine but that it's being fought in the spiritual realm. The very moment I cried out to Jesus for help He calmed my child. How I need to remember that He is right here and He is fighting for Peregrine! And if He is for us , who can be against us!
In his book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" Tedd Tripp writes "Ephesians 6:4 commands you to bring up your children in the.... training and instruction of the Lord; to function on God's behalf. Understanding this simple principle enables you to think clearly about your task. If you are God's agent in this task of providing essential training and instruction in the Lord, then you, too, are a person under authority. You and your child are in the same boat. You are both under God's authority. You have differing roles, but the same Master." This has really helped me to remember that it is not me against Peregrine, but that his God-given task is to obey Erik and me, and ours is to bring him up in the way he should go, training him in the way of righteousness. We have different jobs, but they are both given by our Creator.
He is sleeping now, sweetly, his long camel eyelashes closed. When I see him that way, it's easy forget about the battle that is raging for the soul of this little one, for his life. I pray for him, pray that he will learn to surrender to his Mama and Daddy, so that we may gently lead him in the paths of righteousness. And so that as he grows He will not resist the loving arms of the One who is calling him by name.