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 6:12)
I blinked in the silence of my children's stares. I had a blazing letter "H" on my chest. I could see it reflected in their eyes. Hypocrite. All of my efforts to teach them self-control seemed wasted now. My youngest son, once again, "forgot" the rules, chose not to obey, chose to do whatever he wanted. And this time, I threw off my own self-control like a pair of flip-flops, and jumped in with him. I lost my temper. I raised my voice, and said whatever I wanted. I got good and mad. We wallowed in the mud of sinful self-indulgence, he and I. And when it was all over, regret made the stains that much more stubborn.
Why is this so hard? Must every day be a bloody battle against one I love so dearly? No other person in my life has tried my patience as relentlessly as this little son of mine.
This would never happen to my friend, "Faith." She has an angelic brood of girls at her house, and I bet she never raises her voice to them. She is a faithful woman of God and an inspiration to all who know her. No, she would never.
She would never. This is the thought I punished myself with as I fell asleep, defeated and discouraged. I dreamt of Faith that night. I waited at her house until she came. She walked in and headed for the shower, looking tired and down after a long, hard day. After a minute, I heard angry shouting. I gasped. That sounded like Faith! One of her daughters must have irritated her after her hard day. She's not perfect after all! I headed toward the sound and put my ear against the bathroom door. "I will not let you get me down!" she yelled. "I will not be discouraged! The Bible says..."
I had heard enough to know Faith wasn't yelling at one of her children. She was yelling at the devil.
The morning sun broke through my dream, and I opened my eyes to the reality of another day. Fresh. New. Mercy upon mercy. I slipped to my knees and thanked my Father for the reminder. I am in a daily battle, but it isn't against my son, my flesh and blood. It's against the one who currently rules the world. Satan is after the hearts and minds of my children. He's after my heart and mind, too. He wants me to believe that there is a perfect mother out there somewhere to compare myself to, because as long as I am busy doing that, I won't be focused on my perfect Heavenly Father.
Son, whether you know it or not, I am on your side. You and I are on the same team. We are in a battle, Buddy. But we have the Champ on our side! We have the Super Hero of all super heroes with us to save the day. Every day. He has shiny, dart-quenching armour for us to wear and swords for us more powerful than all of your light sabers. So, let's do this thing together. We can do it. I love you, flesh and blood and heart and soul, until it hurts.