"Battle weary." "Parenting in the trenches." "Remember, your fight isn't you against your child, but you and your child against their pain." They're common phrases for foster and adoptive parents, meant to encourage and offer solidarity. But there's something more: adoption and foster care are spiritual warfare.
The good news is, we know Who has won the victory! We know that Jesus has overcome death, the grave, and hell itself. The Word of God tells us that, as children of God, we share in that victory. But Jesus also told His closest friends that this world would hold trouble.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV
For those parenting through trauma, this is not a revelation. You come face to face with the trouble of your child's past regularly. But have you ever considered that the primary reason it feels like such a battle some days is because it is? Not against your child. Not even against your child's past or their struggles. But an all out spiritual warfare.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
So what is our response to Ephesians 6:10-13? I would challenge us not to merely observe this as holy scripture, while disregarding it's pertinence to our parenting. John 10:10 makes it clear: Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give life in abundance.
Because of Jesus' work on the cross, His resurrection, ascension, and position at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us, we don't fight FOR victory, but from it. Simultaneously, the enemy of our souls prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). He doesn't get the final say - but he will do whatever he can to convince us otherwise.
So, we battle. Not against flesh and blood, but against our very real enemy who cannot destroy us, but seeks to distract us. He cannot steal us from the hand of God, but he'll stop at nothing to convince us we've slipped from it. We don't just engage on our own behalf - but for our children. Before we engage, we must be armed properly - knowing our adversary, his tactics, and the purpose of our fight.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
In this passage, we find six elements to our armor. Many of us learned about the armor of God in Sunday school as children. Our kids even have an armor of God dress up set! But, let's consider the following questions in regard to our parenting.
If the concept of spiritual warfare seems foreign or odd to you, consider this: Adoption and foster care are at the very heart of God. And as such, we can be sure they are in direct opposition to the enemy's plan. Our children, who have experienced tremendous grief and loss, are just like us - in need of the healing, redemptive work of Jesus and the gift of grace that flows out of His matchless love. We have the tremendous responsibility and honor of loving our children, advocating for them, and fighting on their behalf until - and even when - they can fight on their own.
Loving our children well involves not only engaging in spiritual warfare on their behalf, but teaching them how to do the same. We cannot save or redeem the souls of our children - only Jesus can do that. But we can lead by example, remain focused on the Word of God, and engage in spiritual warfare with the knowledge of Whose we are, who we are fighting, and the weapons with which God has equipped us!
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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