Monday, July 22, 2013

"I Want Jesus!"

Parenting is such a strange adventure. On any given day I can experience joy/tiredness when she wakes me up to snuggle – she prefers our cheeks to be touching while we snuggle – then delight in her cuteness while she plays with her animals, then annoyance when she baby talks to her animals (her animals fuss a lot), then noble, self-sacrificial maternal care when she asks for a snack, then frustration when she won’t stop asking for a snack (Mom just needs two minutes!), then love when she goes down for her nap all snuggly, then devastation when she wakes up from that nap just 5 minutes after I finally had a chance to lay down, then happiness while we play before dinner, then “mom-eyes” when she won’t eat her dinner, then exhaustion during the 30 step bedtime process (“Mom, I have to get back out of bed cause we forgot to brush my teeth!” How do you argue with that?), then back to love when I go kiss her before I go to bed (Oh my gosh, she stirred! Please don’t wake up please don’t wake up…)

I love all that the Lord has taught me through being her mom, and even through the things she says.

Lately we have been going through the “bad-dream” phase that a lot of kids go through. It has been so comforting to talk with other parents who say that their kids went through it too and they grow out of it etc…but it is still so hard to watch. 

There are practical reasons for it (ie growing awareness, being exposed to more info as you get older, trying to process that info etc), but I really believe that it is also a very early form of spiritual attack. Of course the enemy wants to make children feel scared, unsafe, alone, and confused. That’s what he wants to do to all of us.

I have battled with terrible dreams my whole life. I will wake up crying, or feeling nauseous for most of the morning. Often I can’t even remember the dream; I just know it was awful and dark. But that’s me. And it’s one thing if the enemy tries to attack me. It’s a whole other ball game if you come after my kid.

So when Rebecca started having nightmares that she would wake up crying from, or worse, the night terrors when she never even fully wakes up, just cries and refuses to be consoled, we just started praying over her while we held her at 3 in the morning (this is an attack on parents too, who aren’t the most lucid at 3am), and praying more specifically against that before she went to bed. 

Rebecca would also ask questions about the dreams and how to make them stop. So we would go over with her that Jesus is stronger than those bad thoughts and bad dreams. And He never goes to sleep, and never leaves her side, so she can call for Mommy and Daddy, and she can call on Jesus too.

One morning a few weeks later, I asked Rebecca how she slept.

“Oh not good” she said “Bad guys AND Jesus were in my room all night! And the bad guys were saying mean things to me.”

She went on to tell me that the bad guys told her to get out of her bed and that Jesus wasn’t there (vicious!). As my righteous-don’t-bug-my-kid-mom-anger burned inside me, I asked her as calmly as I could what she did about it?

“I said to them ‘NO! I want Jesus! You go away! My mommy and daddy love me!’”

Suddenly I stared at her. This tiny little person, just barely three, was doing battle.

“Wow, Rebecca” I said, “that is exactly right. You did the very right thing. Those thoughts cannot stand against Jesus. You are very brave.”

I was shaking with anger and excitement and a new wave of mom-unpreparedness. I was suddenly aware that while I am raising a little girl, who is naughty and silly and often at the same time, and won’t eat her spinach unless it is folded (!?), and blames her baby-talking on her animals, and bursts into manipulative tears when possible, and thinks she can read cause she has books memorized, and fights with her friends but also wants to sleep over at their houses, and will only be consoled by me after the most infinitesimal scrape on her leg – I am also the guardian of a tiny little spiritual being, who is already learning that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against rulers, powers, and forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). And this little child has the simple faith that I forget to have. The simple faith that Jesus challenged us to have!

The faith that just says: “No! I want Jesus!”

That little statement has such power in it. And I was acutely reminded that I am in over my head.

Lord, I ask you a lot to help me raise my child. But Lord! Help me raise YOUR child! You have plans for her, and you are making her a tiny little faith filled warrior. Show me how to mold her!

I get proud of my kid ‘cause she can write a few letters. She can recognize her name when written and she is ace-ing the little phonics games we play. I get proud cause the little “what doesn’t belong in this picture” SAT prep portion of her Pre-K workbook was so easy for her that she looked at me with the funniest “duh” expression ever. Call the Montessori schools people! I am 100% confident that I have a genius here! (Full disclosure: I just misspelled genius. yikes. Apparently Daddy will be teaching the spelling portion of the pre-k workbook…)
But I get really excited when my little girl believes, and acts on the fact that Jesus loves her, and is available to her. Because above ALL the hopes and dreams I have for that little future ballerina/Broadway superstar/athlete/Mommy/world renown artist, my biggest wish is that she knows the Lord, and that she gets to walk with Him, and hear from Him, and touch others along the way.

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