Well, today's post is going to be a little heavier than I originally planned. I had wanted to do a post on some thoughts I've been having on being a good steward of the homes that we have. And, I will come back to that. But, today, some other things have pushed to the front of my mind and since writing always helps me sort through my thoughts and often brings me some peace, I'll post on these things today.
There are times that we come under attack. Sometimes we don't realize it and other times it is obvious. Today, I've been feeling like I'm under attack...like my family is under attack. I'm talking about a spiritual attack. I feel like the enemy is doing his best to wear us down.
There have been several things that just keep adding up until it all seems so overwhelming. We haven't suffered any devastating tragedies or life-threatening illnesses (those are the obvious attacks). Instead, bit by bit I feel like he's been trying to chip away at our peace and well-being.
-We've had a difficult winter with colds, flus, and viruses. We are worn down. We are ready for health and strength.
- We're still struggling with some tenant issues. We're ready for resolution.
- My husband's job has demanded a lot of his time and energy over the last few months. He is feeling stressed, frustrated, and discouraged. We're ready for rest.
- Raising boys is hard work. I still struggle to find what is the most effective discipline when discipline is necessary (which some days seems to be often). We're ready for peace.
Then this morning began as many mornings begin...with a bang. As soon as my husband leaves for work (which is early) it seems to be a signal for the boys to wake up and get started. I went from being sound asleep to hearing the 3 oldest boys stomping downstairs like a herd of elephants.
The baby was still asleep and I try every morning to remind the older boys that they have to keep the noise level down so the baby doesn't wake up. "Quiet" isn't a word in boy vocabulary apparently.
There's also the fact that I need time to wake up. It's hard for me to go from being sound asleep to being on full alert. (I've wanted to try to wake before the boys and get my day started before they are up, but it's hard to do when I'm still up at least 3-4 times during the night with the baby or the 3 year old.) When I have to deal with noise first thing in the morning, I get cranky!
Long story short - I reminded the boys multiple times to be quiet. They didn't listen to me. The noise level actually escalated. I got frustrated. They still didn't listen to me. I snapped. It wasn't pretty.
Eventually I got the big two sent off to school. The little two were fed, dressed, and a certain amount of quiet had been achieved and that's when the enemy started in on me...
"Wow Karen. You really blew it again. Your boys don't listen to you at all. You want them to give you respect but how can they respect someone who throws a temper tantrum just like you just did?"
"You know, there are women who balance work and homelife and volunteering and lots of other things and somehow they hold it together. You can't even seem to get a grip on mothering."
"By the way, have you looked around your house lately? Filthy, filthy, filthy. It's no wonder your kids are sick all the time. If you would clean a little better maybe there wouldn't be so many germs floating around."
"And boy, oh boy. What kind of mom are you if you feel a sense of relief when your children leave for school? You should be able to be with them 24/7 and enjoy every moment. They are going to grow up before you know it, and then what?"
"You know you really should be able to do more. Most women do more. When's the last time you volunteered at church or in a ministry? You're really not pulling your weight."
"Speaking of weight. Yours is still pretty out of control. Gluttony is a sin you know and self-control is a virtue. Other women still have fabulous figures after having a lot more kids than you....so that's no excuse. Just another area where you are failing."
"You and John are both exhausted and stressed and what do you have to show for it? You've always said staying home with your kids is the best choice, but then John has to work himself to the bone and what do you have? Look at those people around you with nice homes and nice stuff, and they seem to have much more downtime than you? Are you really living the simple life when you struggle so much?"
"And what would you do if something truly devastating ever did happen? If you can't cope with life now, how would you ever cope then? Can't you see how blessed you are? You should really be more grateful."
And on and on and on.
Little thoughts that keep coming into my mind stealing my joy and stealing my peace.
James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Submit to God.
Resist the devil.
He will flee.
We have the advantage. He is the one who has to flee. We are not running from him. I picture this puny, annoying, little pest darting around, poking and jabbing but without any real power. He'll try to get in as many jabs as he can. But if we resist, he has to flee.
Because the Power that we have in us is greater. Our power comes because we are children of the Most High God. Through Him we are strong.
And, today, I was reminded of how great His power is. Psalm 29 says, (emphasis mine)
"The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;......
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;.....
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, 'Glory!'
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace."
When I take the time to pray. When I take the time to read His word, I am tapping into that same power described in these verses. That's something the enemy would like me to forget. And, unfortunately, I often do.
But for today, I am claiming this promise for myself,
" I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand -
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "