My husband and I actually toasted last night to the fact that this is just the beginning. We are out of the diaper/toddler/food-throwing stage, and all three of our children are adjusted well in school. Well, at least they are seemingly well-adjusted. My 13-year-old and 10-year-old daughters are in some real transitional ages. The younger is obsessed with a British boy band, the older with flat-irons, and they both are comfortably submerged in the technological age.
So Matt and I felt the need for yet another discussion on media—what they are and are not allowed to use it for, the potential dangers, and especially the attention that they are giving these little devices. This is, of course, fairly new waters in parenting because the availability and therefore endless avenues of technology are like never before. But the heart issues are the same.
When I was a teenager I was overly concerned about what boys thought about me, what girls thought about me, and I spent endless hours chatting on the phone and watching MTV. One of the things that I’m thankful for as a parent now is that instead of pouring their hearts out on the phone where I can’t hear it, friends these days send text messages that are available for me to investigate…and that I do!
But it is so hard! Sure, Matt and I are raising our kids in the church, we do studies together as a family, we talk about our hopes and concerns for them, the implications of the gospel, we eat happy (yet chaotic) dinners together every night, we have boundaries to protect and guide them. One day they totally get it and are thankful we are there for them, and the next we look like overbearing, out of touch lunatics in their eyes. “Everyone has a Facebook account, mom, even the home school kids!”…
Just when Matt and I begin to think we’ve hit a good parenting groove…sabotage!
My own sanctification seems a lot like that sometimes.
Matt and I have even been somewhat open with the kids about how we also wrestle with wisdom and discernment in some of the very same areas that they are now beginning to. Some days we feel like failures as God’s children and failures as our kid’s parents. The parenting thing was so much easier when we could strap them in and tell them to eat all their vegetables. We are now entering a new kind of exhaustion.
As we toasted to this only being the beginning, I thought about how sabotage is real. We give lip service to Paul’s exhortation to put on the whole armor of God in Ephesians, and we acknowledge that we are in a spiritual warfare. But, I seem to forget the context of this verse. It follows his admonition to parents and children. After calling us to unity and love, he warns us of real sabotage.
Thankfully, when my wits are properly outfitted, I remember that my God uses my perceived sabotage for his own glory and the good of his people. That is no less than being conformed to the image of his Son, the whole armor of God.
It is this morning, as I am nervously thinking of upcoming high school and middle school-aged daughters, that I need to hear “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10). These clothes just won’t do; I’m going to need some warrior gear.