Why does it often seem like the times when we want to do things right are when everything begins to go wrong. After spending the past couple days planning and preparing for Jedi Training Camp VBS, it started off horribly. My non-compliant kid decided he didn’t want to participate, which then turned into an intervention with lots of crying and hugs. He ended up enjoying the training camp, but it’s always been a struggle with him. Then my Jesus poster that was taped to the fence in the backyard kept falling down during the Bible lesson, so the kids were distracted the whole time pointing out that “Jesus fell down again”…which meant switching things around so that we could do that activity instead of the one originally planned before Jesus fell down. Then another kid tripped and fell causing her “sin” bucket to crack and all of her sins (aka water) fell out and got her soaking wet, which prompted another kid to dump all his “sins” on his other sister so we had to stop so everyone could change clothes. I felt defeated.
Ever had a day like that? A day where everything just seemed to go wrong and you felt like a failure.
I was going to share about all the cool things we did. How we made the coolest droids and used empty ribbon containers for wheels (9-year-olds idea) and made Wookiee cookies and blue milk for our Star Wars themed snack. But none of that seems to matter now.
As parents, does all the preparation and work that we put into training up our kids matter if we are more concerned with how perfectly things go rather than asking ourselves if we are being a true reflection of Christ to our kids? Is what I’m trying to instill in my kids pushing them towards God or pulling them away from Him? Surely, I can’t be telling my kids about God’s love as I’m simultaneously yelling at them to knock off doing whatever annoying new thing they’ve discovered.
Parenting is truly refining work. It sure does bring to the surface all of the impurities in my life. So often I’m focused on training my kids that I fail to recognize that God is doing a work within me as well. I’m also reminded that raising our kids right is a spiritual battle. Just like in Star Wars where there are forces between light and darkness, good and evil, there is a war raging for the souls of our kids. In my flesh, I get angry, frustrated and grow weary. Yet the Bible says that our “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
While it’s easy for me to feel defeated or like a failure, I have to remind myself that perhaps this is exactly what Satan wants. His lies tell me to quit, that the situation is hopeless, that none of this matters. But it does. Weary co-laborer, don’t give up. Raising kids is exhausting work, but I believe the struggle will be worth it. Nothing of value is ever easy. So when nothing seems to be going right, hang in there. Keep doing the work that God has called you to. Ask the Lord to provide you with His strength. I’m certain that in the end it will produce something far greater than we could have ever hoped or imagined.
Oh, and here are some pictures of our first Day of Jedi Training Camp VBS. Thanks to Juice Box Press for the inspiration and free curriculum download.