Pull Yourself Together and Wield the Sword!

Whew!  So, it’s been a while!  Heaven knows that a million things have been rolling around in this head of mine, but I simply have not taken the time to sit down at my keyboard to set them free!  Today, however, I am feeling inspired and decided to share what God did this very day here at the Mulligan Homestead.

As you know, if you have read any of my other posts, I am continuously working to “walk my walk” well in front of my Kiddos.  I feel I am constantly taking “baby steps” in the right direction, but must confess – AGAIN – that I am never as happy with my progress as I think I will be, for instance, when I have a morning like the one I wrote about in “The First Day of a New and Better Way” .  When I have mornings like that I always think, “This is it!  I have mastered self-control and a Christ-like attitude!  Every day from here on out will be victoriously lived.  My children shall rise to call me blessed!”  Of course, I don’t consciously think that, but somewhere in the back of my mind, that must be what’s going on because when I LOSE my mind yet again – typically only hours and sometimes just minutes later! – I am always shocked and perplexed that I have obviously taken one step forward followed by two steps back.  Anyway… that’s how it’s been these last several days: one step forward and two steps back.  We are on the tail end of the summer, with no routine, bedtime, screen-time limitations or structure and both Kiddos have been sick.  So, in retrospect, I should have seen the “set-up” and been more alert to it, but until today I wasn’t.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an ad for Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued.  I don’t even know how I got there, but I am certainly glad I did.  I read a sample chapter, thought to myself, “She seriously lives in our house!  Where is she hiding?!” and signed up to take the “Unglued Challenge”.  I honestly felt kind of silly doing so since I figured I already knew what she was going to say and had probably said it to myself a million times before, but sometimes we just need to hear things again with a slightly different twist.  In the spirit of the Olympics, I give Lysa a “10” on her twist! 

I don’t know exactly what the book is going to end up saying, but this morning as I was closing my “Unglued Challenge – Day 2” email, I heard stomping and screaming upstairs followed by a distinct door slam.  Hmmm… 

Day One was awesome.  Day Two threw Isaiah 55:10-11 at me and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Remember, Joeli?  My Word accomplishes what I desire and achieves the purpose for which I sent it… you should use it.”  Lysa shared that one of her strategies for remaining “glued” is to stop whenever she feels out of control and pray the promises of scripture in present tense.  She offered up 1 Peter 5:6-8 as a good starting point: “Humble yourselves therefore, under God;s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 

So… back to the door slam.  I could feel my Mommy Pulse beginning to race, but before I could fully process all the same standard thoughts I normally think: Kevin’s son (Did you catch that?) has GOT to learn to control himself, what am I going to DO with that boy, what parenting strategies are applicable here… and how loud will my OWN footsteps be as I stomp up the stairs to address HIS obvious need to practice some self-control, Mister!!  Hmmm… the Holy Spirit grabbed my thoughts again, “Psst.  Joeli… now might be a good time to give Lysa’s suggestion the old college try.  And how about you teach this particular strategy to Caleb too?  Just a thought…”

Deep breath.  Stayed “glued”, Joeli… pull yourself together.

Dear God, I hear you loud and clear and I am humbling myself under your mighty hand.  I know that you have every answer and that your way is best.  Lift me up in your time and help me to be the person you want me to be.  God, I am anxious about so many things: am I going to mess them up with my own faults?  How can I teach them things I feel like I am still learning myself?  I am obviously not doing such a great job here if doors are slamming upstairs!  What if?  What if?  What if?  But God, I am casting all of that anxiety on you because I know you care for me.  Oh God, help me to be self-controlled and alert.  My enemy is indeed the devil – not Kevin, not Caleb, not Keppley, not my To-Do list or my extended family or the lady who cut me off in traffic or any of the things that kept me up last night – but the devil himself.  And I know that he is prowling around trying to get me to fall into his traps.  But I won’t do it.  In your strength, I will to resist him and stand firm in the faith.  Help me do this your way, Lord.

Sigh.  God is so good and so on time.  I said “amen”, closed my Bible and tip-toed, ninja-like up the stairs and down the hallway to Caleb’s room.  We took deep breaths together.  We pulled ourselves together… together.  I “shared” with him – as if he wasn’t already aware of it – that I have some problems with self-control too.  And then we commenced training.  We read the Word just as it is. 

Me: And what is the Word?

Caleb: The sword of the Spirit.  (He’s so smart!)

Then we practiced wielding that sword.  I prayed my own prayer and he spent some time praying his. 

And within minutes I had the “opportunity” to share the same lesson with Keppley.  Ugh.  We Mulligans… we were not gifted with innate self-control and we get feisty pretty quickly.  But you know what, we feel stronger already!  Exercising our faith, wielding His sword, defeating the enemy and loving each other along the way makes walking the walk so much sweeter.  I know tomorrow might be another challenging day, but we are taking baby steps together.  And one day soon we will look at each other and see three lean, mean (figuratively speaking, of course!) sword-wielding machines!  WooHoo!  Go God!  Go Us!

Check out Lysa’s upcoming book for yourself here: http://www.ungluedbook.com/