I’ve noticed a change in my son’s morning routine. He used to start every day by asking if he should wear short or long sleeves. Now he wears long sleeves without asking. Every day. And sometimes a sweatshirt or jacket. I didn’t think much of it since it has, after all, been “winter” in SoCal.
Then a few days ago he came in with a couple pieces of wood and asked if he could somehow tie them with rope around his head so they covered his face, “and maybe drill some holes here for my eyes so I can see”.
Come to find out, there’s drama in the neighborhood. One of the boys Nathan plays with got a BB gun. Now Nathan thinks about the reality of getting shot with a BB every day from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed. He frets about it, plans for it, and dresses accordingly.
A BB gun. And he’s crafting his own armor.
“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
Maybe we should take a lesson from Nathan. When was the last time you woke up planning on being attacked by the enemy, so you buckled some truth around your waist or covered your weaknesses with righteousness before you even left the house?
We are in a battle. Our enemy is far more menacing than the neighborhood kid with an AirSoft. And we must – we MUST – be ready!
Last night when I put the girls to bed, Molly started to cry and said she was sad. I listened and talked to her for a few minutes, and then suggested she get her journal and write down to God what she was sad about. Later, when she was asleep I went in and peeked at her journal. (I know, I know. And I’ll quit when she is older. But for now, she’s 6 and I was curious.) I had to choke back the tears when I read it.
In case you can’t read it, here is what it says (leaving the spelling errors as only a 6 year old can make them)…
“Dear God help me not be sad evrey neit.
Dear God help me not just in the neit.”
Help me, not just in the night. How many times I have needed to pray that prayer. When I feel inadequate. When I know I’ve blown it and have to go apologize. When I’m scared at what the future holds. When life just keeps piling on.
“But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice….Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:16, 17 & 22
I’m so glad Molly knows she can ask God for help “not just in the neit”. And I’m even more glad we have a God who wants to hear from His children. So what’s on your heart that you need to tell God about, even if you’re reading this in the middle of the day?
A couple days ago I was with the kids at the pool. While trying to teach Nathan and Anne how to dive, I looked over and watched Molly very intentionally step up to the edge of the pool. She had a focused, determined posture and look. I could tell she was thinking hard about what she was doing, and she was a little bit scared. After a second or two of collecting her wits and balance, she slowly raised both arms and cocked one knee up high and I immediately recognized she was about to do “The Crane”. (Yes, my 6 year old daughter has seen The Karate Kid … several times.) So there she is, arms and knee raised as high as she can get them, studying her landing for several seconds. After what would have been a very choreographed dramatic pause in a movie – but in real life just Molly gathering her courage – she leapt. And I must say, executed a very nice “Crane Kick” right into the water. As a dad I almost cried.
Molly is so pure. She had a thought – “I wonder if I can jump in the pool like the Karate Kid?” You could see the concern and fear on her face, but you could also see the courage and determination welling from deep within.
I wish I could describe the pride on her face when her little head bobbed back up above the surface. But I suspect my little face was pretty proud, too, the way a father’s should be when his children take risks. And possibly, just possibly, the way our Heavenly Father beams with pride at us, His beloved children.