Life Amidst A Spiritual Battle
Originally written: September 15, 2020
Tweaked: October 12, 2020
It’s already mid-September during one of the longest years in my personal history. Not only am I struggling to survive a world-wide pandemic along side the rest of the world, I am overwhelmed by having to parent two teenage daughters from a divorced home, one of whom is in college while also finishing her senior year of high school. (She’ll be eighteen in November.)
On Sunday, blessings flowed into my life as friends prayed over me and my family during a Zoom meeting, asking God to provide wisdom and guidance for a difficult situation plaguing my mama bear heart and possibly jeopardizing the well being of my daughter. God permeated that moment—that prayer.
Fast forward to this morning. It’s now Tuesday. While doing my morning chores, I mulled over the thought of how the devil taunts those of us who are trying to live for Christ. Reminded of this spiritual battle and the conversation our group had during our Sunday meeting, I also remembered the book “From Darkness to Light” by Aeron Potter sitting on my living room bookshelf. It begged for my attention, but I couldn’t remember its name; so I walked over to the shelves, and the section designated for religious instruction, and located the manuscript. Flipping the book open to a book marker inside the book, I realized I had only made it to the third chapter: “How Satan and Demons Scheme: Old Testament. Part 1: Job.” My thought: maybe I shouldn’t recommend a book I haven’t read all the way through. I laughed. But, while standing there, I also thought, “Maybe I should find a book to take on my three-hour flight to Texas on Wednesday.” This is where the story gets good.
My gaze skimmed the myriad of titles in front of me, my pointer finger brushing each book’s spine, trying to focus on the titles. But, nope. I’d read every story or self-help masterpiece in front of me…EXCEPT ONE. One caught my eye. I can’t tell you when I purchased the “best selling” author’s “must have” treasure, or how many months or years it’d been sitting there on the shelf; but I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me. Lifting it from it’s home, I thumbed through 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney. I peeled back the cover, unveiling page one of the introduction. The words seemed to lift off the page:
“…I wrote this book during her entire senior year. …during her first-ever dating relationship. …while planning a dinner for her eighteenth birthday. And now, here I sit in my favorite writing chair writing this introduction, while she is upstairs taking an inventory of the contents in her bedroom and putting things aside in a ‘take to college’ pile. Can someone hand me a tissue, please?”
Yes, please. Me, too. I sniffled, wiping away my own tears. Yep. God’s presence spoke, and I would be tucking this book into the front pocket of my carry-on suitcase come Wednesday.
Continuing on the next page, I read, “You don’t stop talking when she starts pulling away or rolling her eyes. In fact, you step them up. And you pray, pray, pray, and lean on God for strength, wisdom, and discernment. You can’t do this in your own strength—You need the Lord’s help. …He’s looking for imperfect mothers who are raising imperfect daughters in an imperfect world…and desperately dependant on a perfect God for the results.”
As I set down the book, my cell phone rang. My daughter’s name appeared on the screen—the almost eighteen year old. Let me tell you: she’s had her driver’s license for two months now and has been driving on her own. It’s not like her to call in the middle of the day, so you can see where I’m going with this. I hear her voice. “Don’t freak out, Mom. I know it’s way past when I normally text to let you know I’m home from college, but we’re OK. You know how Dad’s car’s been having radiator problems? Well, it overheated in the parking lot. I’m still at school.” Whew! First answered prayer: please keep her safe—the most important thing. Second answered prayer: she’s not stranded on the side of the road somewhere not knowing what to do or unable to contact an adult for help. She never even made it out of the parking lot. Third answered prayer: she still has cell phone coverage and a working phone battery, and she’s being responsible, staying at the college where she knows we can find her. Thank you, Jesus! Maybe this feeling like a horrible mom thing isn’t real after all. May I did do SOMETHING right in raising her, even if I haven’t been able to be there in person as much as I’d like.
At the moment, one thing seemed blatantly clear: the devil will do just about anything to steal our joy. He’s a master at disruption, weaving worry into our lives, getting us so hyped up and entangled in our humanness and frustration that we blame God for all that’s wrong in this world. After all, God could put a stop to it if He wanted to, right? Oh, believe me, Satan. He will. You’re already a done deal!
Well, before my day came to a close, my daughter texted me again—an image of a beautiful double rainbow—one which had decorated the skies high above the church where she attended seminary this morning, a glorious sign HOURS before her car troubles. To her, those streaks of color may have just been a pretty reflection of sun in the rain. To me, God displayed a promise—His way of saying, “I heard your prayers on Sunday. I’m still here. You matter to me.” This is why I will continue to fight the battle on my knees.