Pulling Down Strongholds

After morning prayer, I laid my back against the pillow and closed my eyes to rest awhile. I thought, “I don’t think I can resume today my Bible Study with the kids in the early evenings. I still don’t have enough strength to discuss and stress the lessons.” An inner voice answered me, “It’s important that you resume and that’s beginning today. Just open the Bible and the strength will be supplied.” I still didn’t know. And I didn’t have any clue what lay ahead of the rest of the day.

At sundown, I heard scuffling and screaming from upstairs. I knew the kids were in disagreement and were fighting again. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t run, couldn’t climb up the stairs, although in these instances, I always want so much to be able to do all those things. I sent  a maid to tell them to come down. There would be explanations, and in the end, always a showing of humility from both sides (with my urging and insistence), apologies, and reconciliation. The little one came without hesitation, face sullen.

I had to ask a maid twice to fetch the older. I was beginning to feel irked and frustrated. The older, she’s developing an independent disposition that is not always honoring as she’s entering puberty. Sadly, there had been many instances of her showing a rebellious heart which had caused me grief and drove me to more gruelling prayers. There are not so many things that puzzle me about life, but motherhood remains to be one of them. And I’m feeling it’s getting harder as my daughter and I are entering into her adolescence.

She came and I tackled first the problem at hand: Why couldn’t she come down at once? Why always the resistance? The exchange became more difficult and frustrating when I learned that the things she needed to do and had been daily reminded of for days remained unaccomplished. But that same afternoon, before the uproar, when she came to me for something she needed at the bookstore, I listened at once and did what she requested, as always.

There is no willing obedience without having learned honor first. As a mother, I do my best to model humility and honor. I sincerely ask for forgiveness from my children when I am wrong and have hurt their feelings. I tell them that I listen to their needs and act on them because I honor and care for them. We teach them to honor us, their parents, and one another, and in so doing, they are honoring God in their lives.

At dinnertime, when the daddy arrived from mid-week service, I hoped to unite the family around the table and, yes, resume our evening devotion reading the Bible. No, she wouldn’t come and didn’t want to eat. How much longer and more painful this “rebellion” would be! Rebellion dishonors the rest of the family and, ultimately, God. Rebellion must be rooted out. 

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

More furor. How can you turn ugly into beauty? I wept, I begged, I expressed my love. This love of a mother, I realized, is as durable as a diamond though the heart is many times broken. More efforts, yes. Parenting is like Jacob wrestling with God until you have obtained victory. My ailing and weak body was begging for rest, but when all had quieted and settled down, we found ourselves around our table, the daddy opening our NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible to chapter 2 which is Genesis 3, after his opening prayer. We listened to him reading how Adam and Eve challenged God by rebelling and disobeying Him. And how they lacked humility by not acknowledging and repenting of their sin, but instead, blamed another.

What Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden could still be occurring in our homes over and over:

Rebellion

Disobedience

Lack of humility (repentance)

Dishonor

With hearts pried open by aches, love, and the words of the Lord, these lessons were talked about, instilled, and hopefully digested to the inmost being. I saw bowed heads, faint nods. I saw a cold heart thawing. We prayed in closing. Around our dinner table, I saw the beauty of the Lord once again shining.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Cor. 10:4-6)

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Comments

  1. Beth says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been by but this reminds me I need to come more often. I remember those days of rebellion in our home and they were days when we were not following Christ. Oh they were hard. Your message is a beautiful one and I pray it touches many. I pray God’s Word continue to move in your home and in the homes of others. “Around our dinner table, I saw the beauty of the Lord once again shining.” Beautiful!
    I’d love for you to link up for Three Word Wednesday too!
    Many blessings,
    Beth

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for your prayers, Beth. Parenting, this is one thing we can’t turn our backs to. Blessings to you, too!

  2. Deanne says:

    Oh Rina! I sure hear you. Same in our home too! Those teen years are full of ups and downs! We just need to steer them towards the Lord and He will do the rest. I too find it exhausting and heart wrenching by times. I will keep us all in prayer <3

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for sharing with us here, Deanne. It sure is refreshing to learn from other Christian moms :). Thanks for your incessant prayers. Blessings!

  3. Anganie says:

    Dearest Rina, once again I can relate, being the mother of 3 teenagers, one boy at 18 and 2 girls at 16 and 15, yes it can get frustrating and we do want them to live at peace with each other and to learn to love one another and forgive one another. But and again do not take this the wrong way, I have learned that sometimes we as parents sort of find ourselves becoming the judge in between and not allowing our children to be just that, children. Over the course of time I have noticed my two girls fight and argue and I let them, because in the space of five minutes after they are giggling and sharing once again so I have learned that this sibling rivalry is normal, I let them be BUT I do intervene if I hear disrespectful words coming out of their mouths, if they are pulling down one another, if they are name calling, I intervene, otherwise I allow them the space to be. Children must be allowed to be children but we as parents must guide at opportune times. From reading your blog you are really really concerned for your children’s welfare and you are doing a great job at parenting them, but please hear me and please do not misunderstand me, sometimes we will wear ourselves out if for every instance that is annoying to us we are picking up on it, it is good to sometimes just let somethings go and you don’t have to feel guilty one iota about that. I hope I have brought across clearly what I am trying to say and that you understand the angle at which I am coming from. Keep on my sister, you are awesome.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Dear Anganie, I so appreciate your sincere concern for me and other mothers who might be reading your message. Thank you for taking the time to share your heart and motherhood experiences here – they’re precious! Yes, I do understand you and what you’re trying to get across. My children almost always hurt each other physically when they fight. My almost-six-year old boy can easily be talked to, that he needs to apologize to his big sister and to show his respect and love for her. He easily yields to my teachings and would then sincerely show that he loves his sister actually. But the tween daughter is different. I always try to pry open her heart regarding her love, for her little brother and for us her parents. She has a heart (or love) problem with regards to her brother. She is not naturally sweet to him or loving or kind to him although the little one is just waiting to receive all these. That’s why, there is often a need for me to have a heart-to-heart talk with them esp. with my daughter.

      Thank you for your advice on not to take it too seriously at all times. Blessings to you!

      • Anganie says:

        Oh Rina, I am so sorry to hear that the fighting is physical, that’s not good, when I mentioned my girls fight, I should have specified that it is not a physical fight (as in hitting, or pushing) but a wordy fight, so for sure as a mother we must intervene when it is physical because if allowed it would only get worse. (Maybe, just speculating it might help if you had a NO HITTING AT ALL RULE) and maybe it might help if you institute severe retribution if that rule is broken (what has been effective for me was when I took away cellphones, I gave no school allowance and sometimes I did use the ruler but first and foremost pray, pray, pray). Jesus must do the work in a heart otherwise all our talking would just be in vain, the heart must be prepared to receive the correction in love, or else rebellion comes.
        Just some friendly advice, your daughter is entering her teens so be prepared for total changes, because of her entering a new stage of life, one that comes with hormonal changes, peer pressure, the need to be accepted, even feeling being misunderstood by you, believe you me, I have had a fair share of all of these and as confusing as it would become, it passes, and sometimes it is not really that the child do not care or love, but because changes scares them and when they have a hard time verbalizing what they feel they shut down and we perceive this as not caring but really if our children feel as if we are not their friends and only their corrector, they would have a hard time relating to us. God bless you Rina and I hope my few words here can maybe bring a little better understanding.
        PS I read your blog frequently and keep on doing the wonderful work you are doing with your powerful words, don’t underestimate your writings they are great, I have read many other blogs but yours falls in the category of “Anointed Words”, you are blessed, your family is blessed.

      • RinaPeru says:

        Incessant prayers, heart-to-heart talks (heart-based parenting), family devotion – these are all what I do to help me and my husband nurture our children. I am also reading the Christian Parenting Handbook for additional tool, and thank God, it’s helping, too. Seeing the children hurting each other physically breaks my heart and it’s an urgent case; it must be stopped at once. Hitting is a no-no for me and my husband, that’s why we’re always on the lookout. Thank your for you wise counsel, Anganie. You encourage me big, esp. about my writing. Thank you and the Lord shower you with His blessings!

  4. Grace says:

    My children are much younger (4 & 1) but it is never to early to start teaching them Gods way right? I admire your persistence in daily bible studies with the kids, it has inspired me to try again. I want to provide them both with that solid foundation but they are so young and I don’t want overwhelm them either. My daughter (4) is ready though for some sort of instruction and teaching time and Sunday school is not enough in my opinion. Do you have any advice as to how to approach such a time with young ones or any materials you would recommend? I want to be responsible with the time and influence God has gifted me in their lives.
    Much love in Christ,
    Grace

    • RinaPeru says:

      Grace, I think your kids are much too young for Bible Study :)? But I do recommend listening to praise music for kids. They can easily memorize the lyrics and sing for the Lord. Also, a Bible for kids with illustrations that you can read to them (esp. the 4-year old) and explain to them at bedtime before prayers. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue its work in you and guide you as you nurture your kids in the way and admonition of the Lord.

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