But it doesn’t take experience to know what I’m about.
I am raising a warrior.
I’m not called to raise a cute conversation piece or a well-adjusted kid. I’m not laying down my life so that my son can be popular, cultured, or gifted. I’m about the business of raising a warrior of wisdom who loves Jesus, for “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Through years of teaching other people’s kids, mentoring youth, and counseling teenage girls in crisis, I saw and heard a lot. I don’t need years of parenting to know that the enemy of our souls wants to devour my son. It’s war out there, and I’m called to raise a warrior—to intercede for, train, love, and prepare him “to shine…in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” (Philippians 2:15).
And I’m scared.
I’m scared because I’m called to an unspeakable task—the nurture and care of an eternal soul. I’m just one insignificant woman who has monumental weaknesses.
I’m scared because I don’t get guarantees for how my son will turn out. Just because I train him to be a warrior, doesn’t mean he will be one. He has his own soul and accountability before God.
I’m scared of raising a young man in Southern California where flesh is god and entertainment is king, where souls are suffocated by sexual perversion and materialism and hostility toward Truth.
But God understands my fears and speaks to them. In Nehemiah 4, when the Israelites were working tirelessly to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, their enemies came to taunt them and thwart their efforts. Nehemiah rallied the people to continue their noble work in the midst of hostility and danger:
“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
Fight for your son, Colleen.
Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and don’t be afraid of:
This great endeavor called motherhood is worth fighting the fear that accompanies it. Faith is not the absence of fear; it is the ability to believe God in the midst of great fear. Faith says, “I cannot, but God can.” Because God is great and awesome, and because His Spirit lives in me, I can fight for my son, for his eternal joy in Jesus, no matter what.
FEAR VS. GOD
Fear complicates things and tempts me to find refuge in methods and formulas and reactions. What kind of education and home life and church and social circle will ensure my son’s safety and success?
Fear takes my eyes off of Christ. When I fear, God gets small and my what-if’s get big.
Unlike fear, God doesn’t complicate things. In Deuteronomy 6, He lays out the task of parenting with such simplicity it’s shocking: love God with everything I’ve got; keep His words close to my heart; then teach those words to my child as we go about our day together.
Fear makes the goal feel unattainable, but God says, “Colleen, do the next thing—and while you do it, tell your son about Me.”
When I recall to mind what I am about (raising a warrior to shine in a crooked generation) and Who it is that’s actually accomplishing this impossible feat (Christ Jesus Himself!), I can move past my fears and faithfully plow the fertile soil of my son’s soul.
In other words, I fight by faith. I believe God. I take Him at His word.
And I fight on my knees. I pray. (I need to pray more.) A soul is at stake, and there is only One who can rescue and redeem him. So I talk to my Lord, I plead with Him, weep before Him for my son.
God has begun this good work in my motherhood, and He will be faithful to complete it. I will mess up a thousand times, and brokenness will mark my motherhood, but God will always draw me back to Himself, to the cross and the empty tomb, reminding me that the power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in me.
I have only a handful of fleeting years to “train up my son in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but today is such a gift, and I have been given everything I need to accomplish the task before me.
So today this weak inexperienced mama can, by God’s grace…
Raise that warrior.
This article also appears on the ERLC blog.