IMPORTANT NOTE: Brooke McGlothlin is putting together a FREE 3-part video teaching series called Fighting for Those Hard-to-Handle Boys that will release in January 2015. To make sure you're among the first to get them, enter your email address here!
He looks at me with that "dig his heels in" kind of glare, and I swear that if I were to say, "the sky is blue on a bright, sunny day" he would try to prove me wrong. Melanie Young says boys morph into big, green, monsters when they turn nine, but I'm pretty sure I see a tinge of green around our eight-year-old's edges right now.
Sometimes, I don't feel like we're on the same team anymore, he and I, and it breaks my heart.
He's my firstborn, and he holds that special, "mama's first baby" place in my heart. On days like today, when he's arguing with everything I say, refusing to obey me, and trying his eight-year-old best to do things his way, I feel like I'm fighting against him...like there's a war going on in my house between me and this child who literally came from my body. There's a distance between us that I hate, and I find myself wanting to do whatever it takes to bridge it.
The Small Things
I know from my education that this process of differentiation is pretty normal. Boys ache for independence from mama, and feel ready to "boldly go where no man has gone before" before we think they're ready. I know they want to be strong, assert their opinions, and explore their own ideas, but we live in the in-between, where ideas abound, but trust is still proven in the small things.
And so we butt heads.
Sometimes, I'm tempted to allow my emotions to lie to me...to tell me he's the problem, he's the enemy, he's the one I'm fighting. But what I can see isn't always the truth, I know that, so I look to scripture to open the eyes of my understanding, and find this:
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Fighting FOR, not AGAINST
I'd been looking for a way to stop fighting against my son, when the truth is that I'm wrestling something else entirely. He may be my flesh and blood, but my battle isn't with him...it's against a deeper, darker, evil that would try to consume him, and fill his head with lies.
When the days of mothering grow long, and make a girl weary...and when what you really want to do is lock your son up in his room and throw away the key, it's good to remember this:
He's not your enemy.
But there is an enemy, a very real one, who's only mission is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). We're in a battle all right, but we have to make sure we're giving our energy to the right one.
Many of you know my prayer story—how I didn't really seek to be a prayer girl, but found the praying life when I realized I couldn't control or change the hearts of my sons. I didn't start praying because I had it all together and knew what to do, I started praying because I didn't know what else to do.
Here's what I've learned since I first started praying:
- I don't have it all together (not even close!).
- I want to quit this mom thing some days.
- I firmly believe we can change the world if we pray for our sons.
So I'm inviting you to join me for a new journey into praying for the hearts of our sons. I'm convinced it's the part of the battle we overlook most often, the one that reaches the real enemy we're fighting against.
Praying for Boys
A little over a year ago, the amazing people at Bethany House Publishers contacted me and asked me what my writing dreams were. I told them about my little ebook called Warrior Prayers, and how I had always intended to write so much more than what it currently contained. They saw its potential, and offered to publish it. I accepted (I'm sharing a little about the story today on my personal blog).
Praying for Boys has the same heart as Warrior Prayers, with a ton of brand new content, and it will help you:
- Discover delight in the chaos of raising boys and have more peace in your heart and home.
- Recognize your true value and power as a praying mom.
- Overcome feelings of failure, and walk in confidence as a mom.
Here's what one mom said about Praying for Boys:
"What a gift Brooke has given us in this wonderfully practical and urgently needed book. We all want the very best for our sons. We invest so much in growing our boys up right but we must remember only our prayer partnership with God can mold their hearts. Brooke teaches us mamas how to fill the most sacred spaces of parenting with powerfully effective prayers."
So fight, mama, and remember who your real enemy is.
Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder and President of Raising Boys Ministries. She’s a mother of two boys who believes God has chosen her to fight for the hearts of her sons. She can be found most often on her knees in prayer, not because she’s so holy, but because God is. Not because she knows how to raise godly men, but because God knows the plans He has for them.