Popsicles and Bickering

If you like to imagine us as a perfect family where our kids are nicely behaved and Justin and I always parent the way we should, stop reading this post. For those of you who want the truth, keep reading! Haha.

While Justin and I feel very strongly that God has called us to this ministry, fighting for the next generation of the Church, he didn’t do it because we are a perfect family (except on Instagram). This week, is a case in point as sickness, tiredness, and bickering dominated the family.

I don’t know where the teasing and bickering came from, but it sure was alive and well over here. To top it off, our three boys spent the last few days with a nasty virus and high fevers. Feeling left out from cartoons and popsicles her brothers were "enjoying", our oldest daughter decided to snag the virus for herself. The sick kids wouldn’t be the worst thing except for the fact that this morning we were supposed to be heading to northern Wisconsin for a relaxing vacation with Justin's family. Needless to say, we are staying home.

Are you catching the feeling of our house right now?

Short tempers. Sick kids. Bored and ignored healthy kids. And tired parents needing that vacation.  

It’s weeks like this that make you feel like a parenting failure. How did things get so messy? How do I fix it? How will I ever have patience to get through another day? How will we ever have energy to work on Chosen Gen once the kids are asleep?

Yet, let me tell you, on days and weeks when your home feels like a war zone, it’s because it is one.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12

The war is raging, but it’s not what you see. It’s a spiritual war being waged against our families by the enemy, Satan. He’s fighting against your marriage, your kids, your time in God’s Word. He wants you exhausted, angry, fighting against each other, and feeling like failures that are not qualified to serve in God’s kingdom.

Sometimes the war can seem distant and swept under the rug because Satan likes to keep us unaware and distracted. Sometimes the battles come on strong like this week has been for our family. Either way, it's not the time to get knocked down. We must remember that what Satan intends for evil, God can use for good.

Today, on the way home from the grocery store, I told my son that having a difficult, teasing sibling can either drive him to anger and breed ugly pride in his heart, or he can choose to cling to God’s promises and let Satan’s scheme push him to become a man who continually offers more grace to that sibling. Forgiving more. Humbling himself more. Training him to serve and be a powerhouse of God’s love to the world.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

The same is true for our families. Satan will not leave your family alone to comfortably grow in your faith without any trials or struggles.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9

However, you can take his schemes intended to harm you and overcome them with the truth of God’s Word. You can let his frustrating irritations help to train you in righteousness. You can take every opportunity God has allowed in your life, even the challenging ones, to push you deeper into the Bible; to keep you humbly relying on him in prayer; to keep your serving, loving and sacrificing for those God has placed around you.

You can look at a tough week and see all the challenges and discouragements, or you can see the countless opportunities for grace and love to be multiplied and God’s name to be glorified.

When my kids are teasing each other (did I mention that’s a thing over here right now?), the one who always seems to win the game is the one who continues to smugly smile as if none of the teasing even bothers them. It drives everyone else crazy.

I like this idea with Satan, but picture choosing joy in tough times. Satan is at it, waiting for me to crack and run away angry and crying. And me? I just stand there smiling, asking God to help me keep choosing joy, knowing I have the sword of God’s Word in my hand, his Spirit in me, and a prayer on my lips. I cannot only win this battle, but my ememy's attack will have only served to make our family stronger.

So, it’s been a great week over here. We even got a podcast recorded and posted. (Smiling.) Take that!

Keep running!