The Battle is the Lord’s

adoptionThere is one day in the year that we have named “Consecutive Day” in our family. It is the day when our children’s ages run in order, seven in a row. When we first became a family of seven children we had a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 year old child for a day. Then, we start doubling up again. There were a few years when all seven of our treasures were teenagers–all at once! I tell you this because I think it will then not surprise you to hear with seven children so close in age that we have faced some significantly challenging times, some battles to fight, some circumstances that have stood in direct conflict to the very words God has given us about our children as individuals and us as a family.

I’d like to share with you some encouragement that we have learned to rely on in the midst of these times of pain, discouragement, anxiety, and fear. Certainly some of you are reading this in a good season of your family’s life, full of the warmth and beauty of adoption. But, I know that some of you are in the thickness of a battle, overwhelmed and in need of supernatural strength.

God has not set you up to fail

As an adoptive or foster parent, you are probably aware of a sense of purpose in your life relating to the call to open your heart and your home to a child in need. I want to encourage you today that God has not set you up to fail. He has not called you to this radical life and exposed your heart without preparing you for this very moment you are standing in right now. You and I have the backing of heaven as we choose each day, each moment, to be faithful to our purpose. How do we access these heavenly resources for ourselves as parents, and in turn for our children? One of the stories I have gone to over the years for help is the one from 2 Chronicles 20, the story of Jehoshaphat. We haven’t had a vast army literally attack us, but maybe you are like us and have had times as a parent where you feel as if you, your child, your family, is under attack.

Fear and Friends

When Jehoshaphat gets the report, “a great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea,” his response is familiar to me. “And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord…” I like this for two reasons. One, he is afraid. When I see the issues of our children’s past rise up to try to steal away their inheritance and come against my peace and hope, I confess that my first response is also fear. But, like Jehoshaphat, I have learned that fear and anxiety are my cue to seek the Lord and to call for prayer. Finding people that we can trust to stand with us in prayer for our children has been a key for Stephen and me–my second reason. Our friends, the van Zyls like to say that “parenting is a team sport.” And I’ll tell you, we have found that we have great need to call on others to pray with us, to help us face the enemy that comes against us. I encourage you to find at least one other believing friend who will do as the people of Judah, seek God’s help on your behalf.

Telling it Like it Is

What happens next is really great– I love it! Jehoshaphat proceeds to remind God of who He is. In other words, he takes his focus off the vast army marching against him and begins to proclaim aloud, in the hearing of others, the awesome character of God. “Are you not God in heaven and do you not rule over the kingdom of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might so that no one is able to withstand You?” And then he proceeds to remind God of things He has done for them in the past. He tops it off with reminders of promises God has made to them as a people. Only after all of that does Jehoshaphat bring this devastating situation before God. “For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” The deep, seemingly endless pit of need created by rejection, neglect and abuse, has made it easy for Stephen and me to recognize that our parenting, and even our love, is not enough to bring wholeness and freedom to our children. We realize, like Jehoshaphat, that we have no power in ourselves to take this enemy down.

The Battle is Not Yours

God’s response to the prayers of the people is clear and freeing, full of HOPE, “Be not afraid or dismayed of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” I have taken this word from God to Jehoshaphat personally, and I encourage you to do the same. Do you struggle with fear and anxiety as a parent? Looking at the great multitude of issues and behaviors, not to mention the sometimes crushing weight of the past, it is so good to hear these words. God repeats Himself again, saying, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourelves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

What do I DO?

It is helpful to see that God does not mean that we have no role or part in the battle when He tells us that the battle is His. The scripture takes the time to say exactly where Jehoshaphat leads his men, “You will find them at the end of the brook before the wilderness of Jeruel.” We have found God to be amazingly specific in how we are to deal with each of our children, in each season, in each specific issue. Listen to His voice telling you what to do with your son who has outbursts of rage way out of proportion to the situation at hand, or your daughter who lies regularly and without remorse, or your teen who has become rebellious and distant almost overnight, or your precious grade schooler who clearly is not able to make healthy friendships. Wonderful Holy Spirit will whisper to you practical answers to real problems.

Belief and Praise

Let’s listen, believing God for practical solutions to the real life issues we face as parents and those who love adopted and foster children. Believe, this is what Jehoshaphat says to his people. “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” May we, each one, be established and prosper as we face the great multitudes of problems that come against us, our children, and our families. Through faith we will access the answers, the healing, and the peace that is our inheritance in Christ. As you read the end of the story, you see that Jehoshaphat assigned people to praise God, before the battle was won. He believed God was who He said He was and would do what He said He would do–always worthy of praise. As they stood where God told them to stand, Judah saw that the enemy was indeed destroyed (they had killed each other off!). All that was left to do was to gather the spoils, a 3-day effort because there was so much–love it! I believe that we parents will one day be in this position of gathering the spoils of this battle–not gold, jewelry and weapons as with Jehoshaphat, but wholeness, healing, healthy relationships, love of God, God-given identity, good success. And our families will be called Families of Blessing, just as that battle field became known by all as The Valley of Blessing.

________________________________________

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband, Stephen, for 25 years. They have seven children, ages 16 to 22. Several years after giving birth to three girls, God called their family into the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Stephen and Beth serve as leaders in their local church. Beth leads a ministry called Hope at Home, dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord go to the Hope at Home blog.

10 Responses to The Battle is the Lord’s

  • Jerusha says:

    Beth, I’m pretty sure you wrote this specifically for me. Thank you.

  • Adrienne says:

    This is very timely, thank you!

  • Lynda says:

    Beth,
    Thank you this was timely. It’s very easy to feel isolated and abandoned by God when the child you know He’s called you to bring into your family brings chaos with all the transitional issues. Having been through this to the extreme with my oldest daughter (from Russia) and seeing how He was able to transform and heal her, you think I’d be better prepared as I deal with our newest additions challenges.
    But, the constant passive agressive behaviors, the tantrums, breaking everything she gets her hands on and the latest peeing in places besides the toilet have me saying “God am I really up for this?”.
    Your post served to remind He led me before and He can do it now. I can lean on Him for strength on the days I don’t have any left. It’s a challenge when everyone wants the “happy ever after” story that can come in time, but you’re dealing with the current reality that is far from this ideal.
    I’ve seen first hand what prayer and consistency can do to totally transform a hurt child’s spirit. I need to really revisit those alters of His faithfulness and remind myself if He’s come through so much in the past He can do it again. Thanks for your post.

    • Lynda my heart is full reading your response. Your description is so familiar to me. I am so thankful for the reminders to remember! He has always been faithful and good, but when the new difficult situation arises I need help to place it in the context of who God is, who He has been to us in the past, and who He has promised to be. May you be filled with strength, understanding and wisdom directly from God’s heart for you and for your child this week Lynda. I rejoice with you for what God will do in your family! Maybe this most recent post from our blog will continue to help, http://hopeathomeblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/power-of-parents-thankfulness.html

  • Lisa Mikitarian says:

    Very timely message! And now I have the refrain from a song stuck in my head–about the battle being the Lord’s . . . and that’s a good thing. Thank you.

    • I think I need to hear that song Lisa! Sometimes a song really hits the spot for me and I’ll play it over and over in our house– to encourage myself as well as affect the atmosphere at home. It really does make a difference. Thank God for anointed musicians! I am so glad that the post was timely for you. I’m quite sure it is because God wants you to know that He knows– He is mindful of you Lisa!

  • Julie says:

    I am overwhelmed having read part of this post. I will finish it later, and send it to everyone I know who is in the same adoption boat as we are. Thank you for reminding me and my husband that we were called to this moment, this purpose, and we are called to continue to advocate for our children, “in their distress” (James 1:27). I often feel the weight of the attack that we are under…and this week is particularly challenging for both of us. Thank you again. A great message today for our family.

  • Oh Julie, I know about those particularly challenging weeks. And I am so thankful to God for His care for you that He would give you this encouragement from His heart to you just when it is most needed! May you know His strength at work on your behalf and on behalf of your children in the midst of it all. And may you hear the specific words of direction that will lead you to the wonderful victory that is your inheritance! I am so glad that the battle is His– be encouraged in this truth today Julie. Bless you.

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