I couldn’t help but smile at JJ as we walked out of our son’s bedroom one evening over a month ago. We had just prayed one of the most absurd prayers we probably had ever prayed per Liam’s request, yet we meant it with all our hearts.
What Liam had asked us to pray about had everything to do with school that evening. It is his first year to be in a classroom setting, and he has been having a hard time following the rules and adjusting in general, so his teacher bought him a set of fake mustaches to reward to him for each day that he behaved, as she soon discovered how much he loves mustaches.
As a result, Liam asked us to pray that he could earn one the next day, and we did. I wholeheartedly asked God to make possible such an amusing request.
Not much later that evening, Liam called to me from his bedroom, so I went to check on him and found him fully awake and trying to hatch up a plan as to how he could obtain a fake mustache. All sorts of ideas went through his head as to how he could get one, so I reminded him of the one true and simple way of earning one, and he started to cry. In his young mind, he already believed that he was not capable of following the rules like he needed to in order to earn his prize.
Seeing him in such a hopeless state left me wanting to cry myself. How could someone so young feel this way?
It quickly became evident to me just how much the enemy was at work in this situation, so I explained to Liam that night that he had an enemy who was lying to him and that he must not listen to him.
“Who?” Liam interrupted me out of genuine curiosity.
“It’s Satan, and he’s a liar, and he wants you to be sad,” I explained in little-kid language as best as I could. I then reiterated to Liam to not listen to those lies that went through his head, and I explained that God loved him and wanted to help him, furthermore adding that he could do all things through Jesus who could strengthen him.
If felt a bit odd to tell Liam that last part since he has not yet put his faith in Jesus and is far from the apostle Paul’s mindset when he penned those words, but I truly believe that God can enable Liam to obey and earn that mustache, and I want him to recognize that he can ask God to help him in the moments when he feels like he is least capable of following the rules.
On the way to school the next day, I reminded Liam of what we had talked about the night before, repeating to him that He could do all things through Jesus who was able to strengthen him and reminding him to ask God to help him when he felt least capable of behaving. And several evenings later, Liam and I had the same conversation that we had had only a few nights earlier as he began to doubt again that he could ever obtain his prize.
This season of life has been exhausting to me in so many ways, and I have felt broken over and over again as I am told of my son’s classroom struggles and feel helpless to fix them from afar. I have desperately prayed for him in this season of life, cried over his battles, and continually sought the prayers and encouragement of godly women whom I trust. It has been an extremely challenging season that I have just wished to have come to an end. But then I think of these moments where I am able to have conversations with my four-year-old about spiritual warfare—conversations that I never would have had with him at such a young age if it had not been for these current hardships. And I like to think that these little talks are the seeds that God is planting into my young son’s heart for a future harvest that will be bountiful. I also choose to believe that these moments are somehow changing the trajectory of my son’s life for the better—that God is preparing a deeply rooted faith in Him for the future because he is learning these vital elements of what it looks like to be engaged in spiritual warfare now.
Fortunately for us, we seem to slowly be entering into a better season now. I pray that is the case, at least. There are still concerns his teacher has, and he still has some work to do to be where he needs to be, but I don’t want to discard the blessings in disguise as we navigate through these current hardships or the struggles of any season. I want to have the spiritual eyes to see the greater things that God is doing in my son, through my family, in me, and all around us in general.
I have to keep believing what we know to be true as believers:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”Romans 8:28
For those of you who have been praying for my family and me throughout this time, thank you for your continual prayers and for being a part of the good that God is working together in our life. I appreciate you so much.