Sunday, September 13, 2015

Preparing For Battle

Last night we arrived home from a perfectly amazing vacation in Georgia, but we ended the evening in tears. The place where Ruby Mae’s cage stood for six years was empty.

And it hurt.

I prepared for bed, still hearing sniffles in the room down the hall, and I started thinking about all that my daughters have endured this past year. They felt the heartbreak of saying ‘good-bye’ to our foster daughter, only to have their world rocked just weeks later when I took a pregnancy test. Soon after, they were present when we were notified of our unborn baby’s diagnosis, and lived through the appointments following which documented her many health issues. They witnessed their mama completely shatter and were helpless to fix me in my brokenness and despair. In December, they dealt with the death of a friend, and in February, their world was turned upside down with the addition of a newborn into our home. Shortly following Emmy’s birth, they grieved the loss of their beloved Paw Paw, and this summer they discovered that people can turn and be unkind and mean. Then last week, they buried their favorite, priceless pet.

And it hurts.

We all want to protect our children from the heartache that living this life brings. It’s our job, it’s our entire life’s goal. We want to help them take cover during a divorce, and be picked first for the team. We want them to be popular and loved, first in their class, and always healthy. We want pets and loved ones to live forever, skinned knees to never be. We want our children to be forever content, forever happy. But at some point, we’re faced with the reality that it’s an impossible feat.

And it hurts.

But then I started thinking about who I want my girls to be when they’re grown. Do I want them to be striving for popularity or helping the orphaned and the needy? Do I want them to be yearning to be the best or do I want them to give their best to another? Do I want them to always expect something from others, or do I want them to show others grace because of their love for Christ? Do I want them to shy away from caring out of fear of loss, or do I want them to love without condition. Just like Jesus.

As I held my little girls last night in their tears, I realized that I’m not raising my children to be just another adult in the human race. I’m raising warriors. Strong, fierce, mighty, beautiful warriors. They have seen God’s wisdom when our foster daughter went to her forever family, they saw God’s faithfulness when we found out we were pregnant. They saw God’s miraculous healing power when all of Emmy’s health issues disappeared before our eyes, and they felt God’s comfort when they read of their friend’s love for Jesus and knew they’d meet again. They felt God’s joy when they held their baby sister for the first time, and they felt God’s peace when they said their good-byes to their Paw Paw. They knew of God’s confidence when working through issues with other children, and now they are feeling His arms surround them in their pain of losing Ruby.

Yes, it still hurts. But war usually does. The fact is that in order to raise warriors for Jesus, they will have to face the battlefield. The same battlefield we’ve worked their entire lives to avoid.

I’ll always cry when they cry, I’ll always hurt when they’re in pain, but now I’ll choose to see them dressed in the armor of God, positioned to take up their cross. I will see them continuously readying for the fight.

And I will know that with their God before them, behind them, and beside them, they will be unbeatable.

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