"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
The enemy has been lurking and prowling in my neck of the woods this week.
And yesterday, he had me for lunch.
I woke up tired...which is never good.
I had what seemed like a mile long list of to-do's...which piled on top of my already tired self started to feel a bit overwhelming.
Allie is getting some serious teeth so she was very fussy, fevering, and needing my attention pretty much constantly...which slowly began stretching me way too thin.
And then I made a stupid, yet innocent, mistake...which did me in.
I'll try to make a long story short.
Grayden gets dropped off after Kindergarten every day by the school bus right in front of our house (great perk!).
We were home waiting for him to arrive. His usual arrival time came and went, yet no Grayden. I thought it odd the bus was late so I ran upstairs to grab my phone (we were in the basement playing with toys). I saw that I had a message from his school. Concerned, I quickly listened to the message.
"Hi. This is Grayden's school. The bus driver called and said you weren't home to greet Grayden from the bus so he will be dropping Grayden back off at the school in about 15 minutes."
WHAT? I was and am home.
Confused, embarassed, and a little frustrated I frantically got Cole and Allie in the van and drove over to the school. Upon arrival the bus was sitting in the parking lot waiting for me.
I jogged up to the door where I met a not-so-happy driver and a concerned Grayden. What followed was an extremely humbling and embarassing conversation in which the driver informed me that he sat outside my house for about a minute waiting, had even honked the horn, and when I didn't show he assumed I wasn't home. He also reminded me that I had now made him late to his next bus run.
Embarassed and still a bit confused I apologized while insisting that I was home and was unsure as to how I didn't see or hear the bus (especially considering I was sitting close to the window keeping watch right at the time the bus normally arrived). Thoughts ran through my head that possibly the bus arrived early while Allie was crying in my ear and perhaps that's why I didn't hear it or see it. Yet rather than explain all that and delay him even more, I retrieved Grayden from the bus and walked away embarassed and still a bit confused.
Upon entering my van, the enemy began to feast.
He devoured me with insults.
"Stupid mistake Renee. You're an idiot. And now the bus driver knows you are one."
He fed off my mom-insecurities.
"Now you are THAT mom. You let Grayden down, he can't even trust you. You can't wear all these mom hats without eventually failing. Mom-of-the-Year....NOT!"
For the next hour, he bit away at me with thoughts like these.
I kept trying to resist him, reminding myself that it was just a little mistake but "that devil just wouldn't let me forget." And he used this mom mistake to remind me of countless others.
By the end, I honestly felt mangled and torn to pieces.
You may be wondering how I could let such a little incident have such a negative effective on me. Well, earlier this week the enemy had already brutally attacked me regarding my physical appearance (I'll share about tomorrow), so I wasn't exactly armed and ready for him. My tired and overwheming start yesterday piled on top of previous battle wounds from days prior, left me in an extremely vulnerable state. I was basically a deer caught in headlights, and he easily drove right over me.
The crazy thing, is that this was all going down while I went through the motions of preparing and serving my kids lunch. Several times, the boys had to practically yell for my attention because I was so wrapped up in this mind battle with the devil.
Eventually lunch was done, I put Allie to bed, told the boys to please play quietly in the basement, and then dragged my mangled self up to my bedroom and opened my Bible. I turned to the 1 Peter 5 Scripture I had already clung to earlier in the week and read it again.
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
I began to break the Scripture down for myself in regards to this particular situation:
Be self-controlled--My weak flesh needed the strong Spirit of Christ. Self-control only happens when I spend time with Jesus and yesterday morning I didn't connect with Him.
Be alert--Look for, even anticipate the enemy; don't let him sneak up on you. I was thinking about so many things yesterday, my mind's spiritual "force shield" was down.
The devil looks to devour--All my guards and defenses were down, I was perfectly delectable to him.
Resist him--Fight back! Combat his insults with thoughts that are praiseworthy. Initially, I wasn't fighting back hard enough. My mind's focus was on defeat, not on Jesus.
Stand firm in the faith--Trust Jesus. Don't lose faith. In a weird but good way, I began to draw strength in knowing that I was not alone, there were likely other moms in battle too.
Jesus will himself restore--I prayed that He would pick up the pieces and put me back together. I asked Him to make make me strong, firm, and steadfast again.
As I meditated on this verse, my mind began to be restored. The Spirit intersected my insecure thoughts with thoughts of grace, grace, and grace. My minds spiritual "force shield" went back up and I turned my focus to the redeeming and unconditional love of Jesus. And ahhhhh...I let His love wash over me.
Friends, the enemy prowls and lurks around each of our neck of the woods waiting for mistakes or moments of weakness, and then he pounces. And maybe like me, you lose the initial battle. But do not be discouraged! Rather, run back to the trenches of God's Word and beseech Him in prayer. Then, stand firm in the faith believing that He can and will pick up the pieces and restore you yet again!
I imagine this will NOT be my last battle.
And I know for my young children, the battle has just begun.
The devil is even now lurking and prowling in their neck of the woods looking for ways and opportunities to devour them with his lies.
So, let's pray over them.
Until Your Kingdom comes, I must endure these often brutal attacks from the devil. Yet, I cling to the promise in Your Word that I can do all things through Your strength. And I draw hope from knowing that even if I fail to be self-controlled or alert and lose the inital battle that You will tenderly restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast again.
And as much as I wish it weren't the case, I know that the enemy is lurking around my children as well. I am fully aware that he will attempt to devour them with lies and insults; he will point out mistake after mistake. So today I pray that You would teach them self-control through consistent quiet time with You. I pray you would teach them to be faithful in prayer so as to keep their Spirit alert to the enemy's schemes. And I pray that if they do lose initial battles, that You would show them Your unfailing love and power by restoring their minds and hearts. May they rejoice in victory as You make them strong, firm, and steadfast again.