“I hate you!”, “You’re the worst Mom ever!” have you heard those words fly at you from your child’s mouth? For me, one of the hardest things about being a single-mom, is becoming a dart board. Do you know what I mean when I say that? It is like all the hurt that is bottled up inside your kids, all the things that they want to say to their Dad but won’t or can’t, all the pain they feel over what has happened in their lives is shot at you, taken out on you. You end up being the target for the darts of your kids hurt and sometimes, that dart goes straight to your heart.
This week just so happened to be a worse than normal week for that kind of thing in our house. Sometimes, I know exactly where it comes from. Sometimes it is legitimate hurt that my kids are trying to deal with and sometimes, it is just them using their circumstances as an excuse to get their own way and when that doesn’t happen, backlash occurs. Regardless of which it is, having hurtful words hurled at you is heartbreaking. And when you are the only disciplinarian in the house, it only gets worse. There is no break, no saying to your spouse…”you handle this one” No one to back you up or support you in what you are trying to do, and always the constant fear that you are doing it wrong and everything is going to blow up in your face.
I don’t know about you, but these types of weeks really wear me out. I feel overwhelmed and when that happens, I often allow self-pity to begin to creep in. As I know I have said before self-pity can be a very slippery slope, one that I don’t particularly like to get near the edge of. By the time Friday morning rolled around, I felt pretty down. Since I was pretty much all set at work and only had a few quick things to do, I made plans to go snowboarding. Snowboarding is something I love, something that gives me much needed time to myself and much need time alone with God. As I left work and headed out to the ski area, I took some time to just pray and really praise God. Even though at first I didn’t really feel like doing that. I wanted to complain and whine but instead, I just sang my own worship song and thanked God for who He was and for all he was doing in my life. The more I did this, the further away from that slippery self-pity slope I moved. By the time I as sitting on the chair lift ready to take my first run, I felt like a different person. As the day went on and I headed home, I felt God remind me of few important things in dealing with this whole “dart board” scenario.
Most all the answers come from Ephesians 6. Specifically in the passage on the Armor of God.
The Armor of God
” 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
First I need to remember that I am not in a battle against my kids. vs. 12 clearly tells us that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, that means not against my own flesh and blood either! Second, God has given us all we need to combat those darts. vs 16 tells us, take up the shield of faith. This shield can extinguish ALL the fiery darts of the enemy. And no I am not saying that our children are our enemy, as we already established in vs 12, we know who our enemy is! The enemy would like nothing more than to get me on that slippery slope of self-pity and he will use whatever means he can to accomplish it. Last, PRAY! pray in the spirit on all occasions. Prayer is one of our most powerful weapons and when combined with Praise as I talked about above…it sends the enemy running for cover!
So start each day with the armor of God. Commit those verses from Ephesians 6 to memory. Remind yourself of who the real enemy is. Pray continuously. Praise him always. I love to recite Psalm 34 to myself. It starts with “I will extol the Lord at ALL times, His praise will ALWAYS be on my lips.”(Psalm 34:1 ,emphasis mine) Don’t allow the hurtful darts being thrown at you to undo you, rather use them to fuel you to a closer and deeper relationship with God.