Just last night and this morning, I had an incident with one of my children. My teenage daughter was disobedient. It seems silly, but she refused to tell me something that I asked her. In fact, she went to bed without telling me the answer to what I asked. It happened to be an evening when I was extremely tired, and my left leg was throbbing so badly, that I wanted to cry. I have nerve damage from when I was a child and suffered from Rye Syndrome (fluid on the brain, resulting from having been given aspirin when I had flu-like symptoms: fever/nausea at the age of 7). As an adult, my legs throb. It feels like shin-splints, in that it’s a sharp pain that is deep within my bone. It’s hard to explain, but my legs hurt me quite often.
I had been shopping at the mall with my teenage daughter for 4 hours, getting her ready for the beginning of her 10th grade year in the fall. After cooking dinner, I sat on the couch pressing into my left shin so that it would stop throbbing. A discussion evolved. It was a silly discussion; the content was not important; however, what resulted was monumental. She willfully disobeyed me and did not tell me what I asked. She went into another room, and I knew that I should get up and go talk with her, but I was exhausted and tired; in a matter of minutes, I feel asleep (in my clothes) on the couch reading The Prayer of Jabez. Ironic that I was reading about expanded territory and blessings and protection from evil, but I fell prone to evil while sitting on my couch - before I even left the boundaries of my home (for the sake of God and blessings, and a promising future).
I remember having an image in my mind of me crawling up the stairs to speak to my child in order to teach the importance of obeying parents (Ephesians 6), but I fell asleep.
As a result, the anger that I still had within me gave the devil a foothold. “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27) The next mornings, as I drove to church with my child, I began to attempt to discuss this topic, but it erupted into an angry scene. To the tune of me stating that I would stay parked at the stop sign until my child obeyed and told me the answer to what I asked the night prior. My child thought I was mad about the content of our conversation and what I had asked. I was trying to explain that it wasn’t the conversation/content as much as it was the fact that my child willfully disobeyed me.
She thought I had completely lost my mind, but she finally told me the answer to what I had asked, and then I drove on toward church! We parked at church, continued to have our disagreement standing by the car, and we were still having the conversation as we walked up to the sidewalk. A passing family noticed us and I know they were thinking, “Glad that’s not me; and at church too.” Well, I can’t say they were thinking that, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t.
After church, and after much prayer (and asking God for forgiveness on my part), I sat down with my child and had a nice discussion. I had my child look up the word “obedience” in the dictionary, which led to looking up the word “submission” as well. Then, we looked up obedience in the Bible (Ephesians 6) and discussed why it’s important to obey your parents. I then, told my child what I did was wrong in regard to going to bed angry and that had I been obedient to do what God wanted me to do last night, this entire thing would not have been such a mess. In fact, God revealed to me that the reason my child didn’t want to expand (and tell me) what she said is that she decided it wasn’t a good choice to comment on what she had commented on (she were embarrassed by her choice of words), but rather than tell me that, she just refused to tell me anything at all.
I was so angry that I wasn’t sensitive to what the Holy Spirit had revealed to me. At the end of the ordeal, my child understood that I wasn’t merely angry about the content of the conversation which led to not telling me what I asked; rather, it was about a willful act of disobedience. We also had a discussion about being able to admit to each other when we say or do something that we aren’t real proud of, and that we can do so without condemnation. Well, we will be able to do so in the future now that we’ve had this hands-on lesson. I admitted my impatience, and asked for forgiveness too. Peace resided, and we both felt better. The foothold was released because of obedient repentance for what we both did wrong: (her disobedience to me, and my disobedience to God: going to bed angry, as well as my lack of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit).
God gave me a bonus lesson while I was at church processing all this. While I stood during worship music, I was imagining how angry and/or sad God must be when He nudges me to do something like “call a particular person, help the elderly person at the store, go the extra mile in service for someone even when it’s inconvenient for me, and on and on….” And I wondered if God feels as angry and sad as I did during last night and this morning when I ignore His request like my child ignored mine. My eyes filled with tears thinking about the countless times I know I have grieved my Father’s heart as a disobedient child. As a mother, my emotions were rather raw at this moment anyway, so my heart was very open to hear what God had to teach me. I realized that there have been times when He tells me to do something, and I take it as a mere suggestion, rather than an order of His Will in my life. I asked God to help me be the most obedient soldier in His Army so that I may receive His approval and blessing wherever I go, in whatever I do. I do not want to grieve His heart as much as mine was grieved this morning.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.
Originally published Tuesday, 26 September 2023.