It is easier to understand a battle, when you can see the frontline ahead and the faces of the enemy loom before your eyes. You can reach for your sword and locate that weak spot to stab beneath the ribs.
You can see your enemy fall on the ground, soft and wet from blood and muddy stampeding feet.
And then there is the other battle.
It hovers like a mist or fog which clouds your way and its wispy tentacles subtly invade your thoughts and wraps tightly around your soul and body.
That is a battle that must be fought standing on God’s ground.
Strong, stable ground hardened with faith and truth and trust that the Lord has the victory in the gathering darkness.
Not many of us have faced the first battle of flesh and blood.
But as believers, we are all soldiers in the second battle.
A battle for life. His life in us undimmed, as we stand the ground.
Where is your battle?
The enemy knows your weak areas. Which hill to cunningly sneak over, to locate an undefended flank.
My weak areas are my children.
I imagine that would be the same for many parents. When the enemy wants to cripple me, or distract me from moving forward, that is where the attack will come.
And it has. Time and time again.
I was a relatively new Christian, a new recruit when I mothered my young children.
I had lots of enthusiasm for my faith in Jesus, but I did not comprehend the war that had suddenly let loose around me.
My husband didn’t know the Lord and in many ways, it was all on me to hold the land for our children.
“I wish I knew then, what I know now”
Have you heard that jingle for an insurance company, recently playing all the time in the media?
And it is so true. I do wish I knew then, what I know now, about this battle over my children.
Over our children.
How to make small stands of His authority every day, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Instead, I viewed my children’s faith through the lens of my own recent salvation.
God had amazingly sent down a rescue mission and plucked me from the enemy’s grasp!
And I assumed this is how it would work with my own children.
But, as in any battle, or rescue mission, it can be lost or won over the small things.
Won by faithful steps of the hardworking infantry, or the untiring, watchful eyes of the sentry on the wall.
Or by the brave stealth of the resistance, sending word back to the allied troops.
I talked to my children about Jesus and His love for them. I prayed for them and with them. I took them to church, when I was able.
I did my bit for the war effort.
But I did not grasp the true spiritual battle over their very lives.
I was unaware of the spiritual power & value of faithful small beginnings.
The other day, when a group of mums had come together for a morning of sharing the Word and prayer, the little children played around us as we talked. When we began to pray, one of the toddlers decided to strip off all her clothes for a nappy change and then redress herself in a completely different outfit.
As you do.
A couple of us knew what was happening in our midst, but smiling, we continued to pray. And so, did the mum of the toddler.
Another toddler resting on her mother’s lap, was becoming hot to touch.
We prayed for this young child as well.
It was a precious time. A moment of seemingly small things.
It was a battle taking place in our very midst.
I can see this now.
And how it is won.
Intentionally & faithfully, placing our children in an atmosphere full to the brim of heavenly hosts in the courts of God, praying and lifting His name up high.
Intentionally & faithfully, placing our children in corporate worship with other believers, lifting God up in song and preaching the Word of Truth.
Intentionally and faithfully sharing the gospel to our children as they rise and go about each day.
Intentionally and faithfully living out a life of testimony, so they can see and know God is real and what He says is truth.
Intentionally and faithfully, praying over them quietly each night. Brushing the hair from their faces and gently unloosing their fingers entwined in ours.
Intentionally and faithfully, stepping back and watching them as they struggle and grow in God, leaving them in His trusted hands.
Every stand, building a foundation in our children that cannot be shaken, despite their wanderings.
Today, I watch my daughter now a young mum of five and I watch her with joy.
She is raising her children amidst constant physical and spiritual battles and they each have a growing faith in Christ. She understands the enemy’s tactics that she faces every day. She knows that she stands on God’s ground for her children. Life is not easy. But she is intentional with how she teaches and guides her little ones.
And yes, despite my lack, God did send down a daring rescue mission for her.
He reached down His hands and pulled her out of the miry clay where she lay in the battlefield for her soul.
He is faithful when we are not.
Thank God, that He is bigger than our failings. That He watched over my babies and kept them safe under His wings, despite my blindness.
So, I encourage you dear mother or father in the trenches of parenthood, to recognise your enemy and on whose ground, you now stand.
Stay alert and pray. God is able, to give all you need to see, despite the darkened mist around you.
You have His belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation to keep you.
Take small intentional stands each day as you hold the land of the Gospel, that Christ has given you.
Finally, lift up high the shield of faith, and take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and bravely thrust it into that weak spot under the enemy’s ribs.
You are standing on the Lord’s ground. His authority.
And the victory is always His.
“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older they will not leave it.”