My children love to ask questions like If you were an animal, what would you be? Recently one of my children asked the others “What animal would Mom be?” Without hesitation my oldest child answered that Mom would be a bear. “What? A Bear?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said, “you know, like Mama Bear who doesn’t let anyone mess with her cubs.” I had never thought of myself as a bear, but a Mama Bear? Ok, yes, I’m ok with that. That describes how I feel about my children and my life, and I’m glad they know I will take care of them. But you know what?
Mama Bears get tired.
Some seasons are more tiring than others. Defending my cubs this year has been exhausting.
I hear Satan knocking at our door all the time. When we don’t open the door, He tries to sneak in through various means – media, friends, school. Sometimes we unintentionally bring him in ourselves.
I knew this year would be tough. My children are in three different schools and the oldest started middle school, but I didn’t realize just how challenging that would be. I am emotionally drained from trying to keep my children performing to their potential academically while still keeping them healthy physically and spiritually.
My oldest child went from receiving the top honor at her school in 6th grade to absolutely hating school in 7th grade. The words “I hate school” were uttered for the first time at my house – often by Mama Bear along with her weakened cub.
I have questioned whether this lifestyle is what God intended for us. It has been a struggle.
A Daily Fight
We lost our morning Bible time together due to the pull of getting three children to three different schools on time. This Mama Bear has fought all year for spiritual time with her cubs. Between working nights and various activities, it has been hard. I have tried several ideas which have failed. It is still a daily struggle.
I have began most days by praying that God would help me to see if this is the life He intends for us.
I’m still not sure.
My children have some amazing gifts. I struggle with how to help them best use those gifts.
My daughter took the ACT and scored only one point less than I did when I went to college. She’s twelve years old.
I don’t even know what to do with that.
I look at all the material and options that come her way, and I want to make sure she has chances to grow. The pride of life is a struggle (1 John 2:16). I fight Satan in my own self when I seek the safety of my daughter’s future in her academic abilities. That’s what Satan wants me to do. He wants me to focus on what this world can give her instead of making sure that she knows the One who created her and gave her those abilities. That’s how he sneaks in.
The school year is almost over, and I’m so thankful for a break. I want to reel my cubs in and spend some time nurturing and loving them in the safety of our home. We’ve had a lot of good in our year as well, but right now I’m just so tired of fighting off Satan.
I know it’s not over. Satan never takes a break – not even in summer. Another school year will loom ahead of us before we know it. What I will do with it, I don’t know yet. I have lots of praying to do.
Don’t Give Up
But Mama Bears don’t give up. We don’t lie down and let the predator have our cubs. We do what we have to do to protect our children. We make changes and adjustments as the needs of each season dictate. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians,
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
I am tired, but I’m not giving up. And I’m not alone. My husband is with me, of course, but we both rely on the larger power of God to get us through.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:7-10
I trust in God and His promises. He loves my children and wants them to know and love Him, too. He has done so much for us, and I know that He cares.
I have turned to God so many times during this year. I have humbled myself and shed many, many tears. Mostly I just pray “Please help me.” He promises to lift me up. He will help this Mama Bear defend her cubs. I know that He wants them safe as much as I do. Keeping my children out of Satan’s influence is an exhausting job, but it’s mine and my husband’s to do. I wouldn’t trust it to anyone else. And I would never, ever attempt it without God behind us.
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Psalm 127:1