It was one of those days. Have you been there? Cooperation was not on his internal spelling list, nor was it on his vocabulary list. It was the dreaded math hour.
“I HATE MATH!” was his daily mantra.
“IT’S TOO HARD!”
This was not a battle I was excited to enter. Though I had girded up my loins that morning with the “whole armor” of Ephesians 6:11-18, somehow I was failing miserably.
My son was completely losing it. He was adamant that he did not understand the lesson. I calmly insisted that I was right here to help him, that we had gone over this concept many times before, and that it is not as hard as he imagined. However, he was not convinced. Combined with the fact that lunchtime was approaching, math was his sure enemy. “Can I just drop out of math?” He vehemently questioned.
School that day seemed to be crumbling all around me. I sat on the couch feeling totally defeated, and we had only just begun. The tears wanted to fall, but a tinge of pride kept them at bay. I knew that I needed to pray even harder. “Lord, I do not know how to help ‘Your son.’ He’s so upset. Help me not to react. Help me to keep calm and let him see You in me.”
His younger sister was taking in the whole scene. She calculated my every move. It was as though she was storing away my anxiety level, my facial expression, my tone of voice, and of course my responses, so that she could decide her fate for future math duels. I was on display, the very place I loathe to be. Right then and there I had a decision to make, for I knew I was “not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12. I knew that my Lord would give me the victory in this face-off, but I would need to surrender my natural inclinations and accept His will, that still small voice, and do whatever it bid.
The enemy was feeding my spirit at the same time God was. He began to tell me to get angry, to raise my voice and my authority and not to be sympathetic; on the other hand, God was gently whispering encouragement. He cautioned me to stay calm, to speak sweetly, and to empathize with my son. As I did this, my son’s frustration begin to dissipate.
I proceeding to calmly and prayerfully help him with each problem. Though I knew this process was unnecessary, I sensed that it was more about the attention my son sought rather than truly needing my help; acting out was only a symptom. Thank the Lord for helping me to realize this simple truth. “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me,” Psalm 54:4 NIV. The morning could have been gone in a totally different direction had I given way to my feelings and emotions, allowed the enemy to take over, or insisted that he finish the assignment (that I knew he was very capable of completing) on his own.
How easy it is for my feelings to rule my heart. Feelings have a mind of their own. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. I must never allow my feelings to usurp the Word of God. I have a decision to make every time the temptation arises for me to choose feelings over faith.
My son later apologized and asked forgiveness for his stubbornness and rebellion, and I gladly granted his pardon. “Confess your faults one to another…” James 5:15 KJV.
The Bible cautions us, “and let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I am encouraged by this promise of Galatians, aren’t you? A friend of mine used to always say, “You may get tired on the journey, but do not get tired of the journey.”
Parenting indeed can be one of the toughest jobs on earth, and I would venture to say, the toughest job on earth, but oh, what rewards await those parents who faithfully take on this sacred duty.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from Ministry of Healing that encourages me when it’s been one of those days:
“The mother’s work often seems to her an unimportant service. It is a work that is rarely appreciated. Others know little of her many cares and burdens. Her days are occupied with a round of little duties, all calling for patient effort, for self-control, for tact, wisdom, and self-sacrificing love; yet she cannot boast of what she has done as any great achievement. She has only kept things in the home running smoothly; often weary and perplexed, she has tried to speak kindly to the children, to keep them busy and happy, and to guide the little feet in the right path. She feels that she has accomplished nothing. But it is not so. Heavenly angels watch the care-worn mother, noting the burdens she carries day by day. Her name may not have been heard in the world, but it is written in the Lamb’s book of life. There is a God above, and the light and glory from His throne rests upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil. No other work can equal hers in importance. She has not, like the artist, to paint a form of beauty upon canvas, nor, like the sculptor, to chisel it from marble. She has not, like the author, to embody a noble thought in words of power, nor, like the musician, to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul the likeness of the divine. The mother who appreciates this will regard her opportunities as priceless. Earnestly will she seek, in her own character and by her methods of training, to present before her children the highest ideal. Earnestly, patiently, courageously, she will endeavor to improve her own abilities, that she may use aright the highest powers of the mind in the training of her children. Earnestly will she inquire at every step, ‘What hath God spoken?’ Diligently she will study His word. She will keep her eyes fixed upon Christ, that her own daily experience, in the lowly round of care and duty, may be a true reflection of the one true Life,” MH p. 376-378.