I recently read this supercool post by Jen Hatmaker, on raising brave kids, and the message spoke loudly to me; probably because it is so the opposite of my instinctive mothering style. Lee, as we all know, has got the bravery department so well covered that I've always taken it upon myself to be a "safe and sound" momma. But at the end of her post, Jen (can I call her Jen? Sister Jen? Mrs. Hatmaker? Anyhoo...) quoted this story by Erwin McManus, and reading these two's thoughts changed my perspective in a quick second...
One summer Aaron went to a youth camp. He was just a little guy, and I was kind of glad because it was a church camp. I figured he wasn't going to hear all those ghost stories, because ghost stories can really cause a kid to have nightmares. But unfortunately, since it was a Christian camp and they didn't tell ghost stories, because we don't believe in ghosts, they told demon and satan stories instead. And so when Aaron got home, he was terrified.
"Dad, don't turn off the light!" he said before going to bed. "No, Daddy, could you stay here with me? Daddy, I'm afraid. They told all these stories about demons."
And I wanted to say, "They're not real."
He goes, "Daddy, Daddy, would you pray for me that I would be safe?"
I could feel it. I could feel the warm-blanket Christianity beginning to wrap around him, a life of safety, safety, safety.
I said, "Aaron, I will not pray for you to be safe. I will pray that God will make you dangerous, so dangerous that demons will flee when you enter the room."
And he goes, "All right. But pray that I would be really, really dangerous, Daddy."
I love it. I want my kids to be brave. Wise, but brave. Secure and confident. Bold and unafraid.
We've been obsessed around here with our friend Ramey Whalen's song Praises Rise*. The boys won't let me shut the truck off until it completely finishes. They headbang and pound their fists and yell the lyrics...
My voice is the sound of a thousand bells
Hear me nations, hear Israel
My song is the water of the purest well
Hear me Heaven, fear me hell
My dance carries thunder from the throne of Yah
Look at me and know He is GOD!
My hands hold the cure for every disease
They're covered in blood and oil and leaves
My laughter and tears create things unseen
Atmosphere changes, God released
My worship is armed with spirit and truth
Sacred, accepted, pleasing to You
Oh my. So up my alley. It's led us on an exploration of the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. I read it to them this morning and Donovan kept stopping me to repeat the names of the armies and the places mentioned in the story, absorbing every detail. "Ambushes?!", they'd exclaim. I felt bravery surging inside me as I told them the truth; that the battle isn't ours, but the Lord's. That He goes before us when we praise the splendor of His holiness. That He gives us rest on every side.
Let our praises rise like a weapon in Your hand
I told them that they really can be safe and brave all at the same time. Hidden in Christ; in the shadow of the Almighty. That they are never alone and were created to be brave. Dangerous, even.
I'm so grateful that these truths aren't just for them, but for me, too.
Isn't He splendid?
*This link will take you to a video from The Call in Nashville, 07/07/07. We had the privilege to be there in person and it was amazing. And the guy in the black shirt playing the keyboard behind Ramey is my brother, Luke. One of the bravest, for sure.