The other night I got to go out to the grocery store without my boys. It’s always amazing to me what a difference it makes when I can actually focus on what I am buying instead of getting home and wondering why I bought 14 boxes of cereal and absolutely nothing for dinner! But my solo shopping trip euphoria was cut short the second I walked in the door and past the magazine racks.
Because right there, dead center, eye-level, was a magazine featuring a completely nude woman on the cover.
I cannot even begin to express how shocked I was. I mean, our little grocery store has a clientele that is mostly 70 years and up. The employees know my boys and me by name. They host Easter egg hunts and generously cut our meat however we request.
This was no seedy novelty store in a shady part of town.
Picking up the magazines, I turned them all around. Then I grabbed the items I needed for dinner and hurried out of the store. I climbed into my car feeling awful, vacillating between feelings of hopelessness at the downward spiral of humanity, despair about all the innocent ways my children can be exposed to such a terrible stronghold, and a righteous anger for the purity of my children.
My four-year-old, Jet, loves the story about David and Goliath. We regularly read it in our Bible App Storybook Bible. Our favorite part is when young David bursts on the scene and in the face of thousands of hopeless, fretting Israelites, stands bold and brave and confidently declares, “How dare he defy God’s army? I will fight him!” I felt a similar feeling rise up within me as I considered my 2 young, impressionable boys and what I saw in a place we go all the time. It wasn’t right. Not for me, for my boys, my husband, or anyone else.
The Lord was nudging me to not stay silent about this, but my heart was beating so fast. This mama prefers to stay as far away from conflict as I possibly can. I would rather go outside on a super humid day and let my carefully flat-ironed hair go all Chia Pet instead of confront someone.
Not to mention this part of motherhood SCARES ME TO DEATH. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing most days (ok, ALL days) raising these precious boys. Fight for their purity? How about just drive home, get my milk in the fridge, and finish watching those recorded episodes of Fixer Upper??
But I am learning that when the Holy Spirit tells you to do something, it’s good to listen.
So I asked the Lord for strength, took a deep breath, and headed back in to the store to find a manager. While it is tempting to go in guns blazing in righteous anger, especially when our children are our main concern, the stones we fight with must be those of grace and kindness. We are called to remember that this battle is “not against flesh and blood but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
Thankfully, the manager was full of grace and kindness in return and she promised to take care of the problem right away. In fact, she began removing the magazines from the shelf while we were talking.
Thank you, Jesus!
I am not naïve enough to think fighting for my boys’ purity will always go smoothly as this particular story did. But that is not why I am writing this post. I am also not writing this post to fan the flames of someone’s self-righteous indignation towards inappropriate material. I do not want to inspire a frenzy of heated complaints in the comment section below about how awful our world is. I don’t even want you to go banging down the door of Victoria’s Secret because you think that it is now your responsibility to fix everything that is wrong.
My heart is simply a call to the mama who may be wondering if she can make a difference in a world of so many giants.
The key is in seeking Him and committing our boys’ purity to the Lord. Then as we go about our days we will be open to the Spirit’s nudges…like maybe it’s time to take that step to put blocks on your Internet, limits on its use, avoid certain parts of the mall, monitor media, have the hard conversations, pray over our boys while they sleep, or graciously and quietly request the removal of a magazine. We don’t do this out of religious duty – our inspiration must come from humble hearts fully surrendered to the One who is holy and makes us holy through the blood of Christ.
This battle is not hopeless like the Israelites thought so long ago. We have opportunities every day to be obedient like David and ask for eyes of faith to believe that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Ultimately, we cannot protect our boys at all times, but praise God we know the One who can!
The battle is the Lord’s!