I had an interesting thing happen this morning. My boys were having a hard time with a couple things. Partly because they are human and partly because they have an enemy. It was surrounding communication. One says that he said one thing and the other said, no you didn’t, you said something else. This is a classic issue. I, myself have said things and those around me say, no you didn’t and what they say I said was not what I just said, or so I thought. But really in those situations who is right and how do you come to reconcile it?
There are times when it is just a brain fart. I have taken tests and know that I marked the correct answer but when I get my test back I really marked something else, even though I knew the answer inside and out. Stuff just happens. Being 99.9% human that is just the way it is. But there are times to consider the part of the bible that talks about our enemy. You know the one who tricks and tries to destroy us in the beginning in the garden starting with Adam and Eve. Throughout the whole bible tries to deceive, distract and destroy who we really are to God. Then there is always that end where He literally takes on the shape of a dragon out to kill an innocent child, a the mother giving birth and the whole earth. You can not seem to get away from the fact that we have an enemy.
The signs of enemy attack are not because you are getting it wrong either. Look at the garden with Adam and Eve, or the story of Job. Look at the story of Jesus! He was tempted face to face with the enemy. For crying out loud the enemy manipulated the church to kill Jesus. Look at all the lengths the church went to make sure that it happened too. Talk about distracting us from who we are really called to be. Talk about being the master of deception. None of those stories were about anyone doing anything wrong either. The enemy is simply out to destroy.
So for us to not even consider that there is an enemy is really quite foolish.
There were a lot of things in my childhood that felt unfair as I was growing up. It is important to me to be as fair and unbiased of a parent as I can. I battle through it all the time and ask God for clarity so I do not miss something….well at least something crucial. But the reality is that no matter how hard I try I will and I am supposed to let them down. If I come through for them everytime in the way they think they need me to, then they will never really need to turn to God. This does not give me license to give up, in fact it makes my reliance on God even more important. I figure if I am needing God as much as I do for parenting and am requiring them to need God as well, then I must be doing something right. Even if in the moment my kids do not think so.
I find that a lot of times they are asking me for intervention. This is a good thing sometimes. Other times it isn’t. It has taken lots of prayer and discernment to figure out at times whether or not I should get involved. They are old enough now to begin to notice warfare and be wise to it. They are old enough to be able to make the choice whether to fight for what is really true about the person they have an issue with, or not.
One of the things we do is sit everyone down in the same room. We begin to discuss. What are you saying happened. Then to the other, what are you saying happened. If there is a 3rd person then their side as well. Regardless of who is “RIGHT” or not there is a different vantage point from each person. This example is huge for us in the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all there. They all talked to the same guy. They all witnessed his story. But what took place meant different things to each one of them. That doesn’t mean that they got it all wrong. That just means that God wanted us to get so much out of this part of the story that He had four guys give their account through their eyes and hearts, so that it could speak to more people when and where they at in their own stories.
I found myself this morning trying to make sure that everything was fair. I was trying to make everything right and line up so there could be reconciliation. The truth was that there were two sides….two vantage points of what took place. What really was happening was the first one felt disrespected by the other. At least that was what was really at the root. I have 3 sons living at home. Respect is a huge issue for guys. But part of the problem was that he didn’t see that was really the issue or couldn’t put his finger on it enough to articulate it. So he is just mad about how his brother went about doing something regarding him this morning. Then they end up arguing about what one person said and the other is saying I promise I did not say that. I said this. This now distracted far from the real issue.
By now I am trying to pull back a little and ask God for insight. I absolutely hate fighting the fog. Fighting against the symptoms instead of fighting against the real issues. I am also a massage therapist. People come to me with a headache. Many times, depending on what I feel in their muscles I will stretch out their hips and relieve the pain. Sometimes it comes from the neck muscles. But never have I felt led to massage someone’s head for a headache. I will follow the symptoms to the root of the problem. This is what I try to do with parenting among other things.
So basically we have figured out there are two different versions of the same story. But they are conflicting so there is conflict. Well to follow the symptoms to get to the root issue I brought up my own situation and how I believe that if there is division, misunderstanding, or chaos that it is usually warfare. The enemy is the author of those things. As I began to speak the one who was disrespected, got angry. He really just wanted me to come in and make it right. But in order to make it right I had to peel back all the layers.
I began to talk about the enemy and how he skews things. How he, or the filters we have can distort what we hear or interpret other people to say. It was clear that he was not interested in considering that the enemy was at work. If he did then he would have to choose to believe that his brothers heart really is good. To do that you have to choose to fight for the one who is offending you. Fight for the truer thing about them other than what you are experiencing. That can really suck in the moment, especially for siblings (or married couples). He rolled his eyes and tried to listen but he was just not willing to look at that. He did not care about it. He excused himself and left mad.
As I tried to talk to my other son, I was reminding him to pay attention to the way the enemy comes against him in relationships. We have had talks about this. Again, he was not interested in looking at the enemy because then he would have to take some responsibility in it. Not quite as respectful, he literally got up from the table while I was talking to him and began to walk away. This is not the normal character of my boys. I hate writing about it because I do not want them to believe that I think this is normally who they choose to be. Regardless, it was happening that way this morning.
I kind of snapped. Everything inside me rebelled all at once. I got angry. I told them that what they were asking me to do is to make everything fair and to fix all the injustice in the world. I am just a mom. If they will not consider that there is an enemy in the works to cause division, misunderstanding and chaos then I could not help them. It is not my responsibility to create a world that is fair and comfortable for them. It is my job to help them know how to live in it and through it. I told them to not ask me for my help anymore unless they really want to know what the real problem is.
Well, I am not sure what was right in that moment but there were many things taking place for me. I have a spiritual gift. I can see past many of the symptoms, at least most of the time, and I see the root of those issues. That is one of the reasons I am good at massage therapy. I was so angry and upset though I removed myself from the picture. I went outside and asked God to show me my own stuff there. He began to show me this gift of seeing the way I do going all the way back to my childhood. I remember being able to see the communication gaps between people. In my head as a kid, thinking “but that is not what he said”, or “she didn’t mean it that way”. So as a kid being able to see what the adults around me couldn’t I began to feel responsible. I took on the responsibility of trying to be peacemaker. I felt responsible for my parents, my brothers and my grandparents getting along all in their separate relationships. The more I walk in the identity of who Jesus says that I am, it becomes impossible for me to function under those false identities. It almost feels as though I was rebelling today against the feeling of being responsible for others getting along, finding peace, or choosing to take God’s view of the situation. That part has nothing to do with my kids. I still did not feel responsible for anything with them other than to share with them that my emotional reaction to what was going on was not about them really. There was a righteous anger that had to take place as I drew the line in my responsibility to them. I have to share with them my experience. Then they can see how it can look for someone else to process and even decipher what God is trying to say to them.
I don’t have any tidy way to wrap this up. I do not even know who all will identify but I am going to be real about my writing. This is where I am at today. This is what took place. I didn’t even want to write about it but I am in LOVE with God and I got the nudge to write. I am sure someone out there can identify with at least part of my morning. I am still just Jennifer in the afternoon trying hard to walk in the fullness of who I am to God first then I can be more of who I am supposed to be to those around me.