• Karen M. Peeler

Battling the Sandman

I am convinced toddlers are birthed into battle against the Sandman. Commissioned, equipped and focused on strategically warring with the sleepy monster seeking to lower eyelids and usher in peaceful sleep. Sticking to the battle plan toddlers position on the front lines with no thoughts of retreat.

It is ironic at best and frustrating as thoughts to remain awake firmly take the field. Last night as my daughter started the bedtime routine I stood in awe of her ability to wrap her son in love and keep her fruit in place.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

As my grandson used every weapon in his arsenal to convince her the Sandman had come to destroy the end of his day, she stood strong.

With resilience he repeated the words hungry, thirsty, play, Ty (his favorite toy), Papa, Tabby, help, outside.

Attempting to pick her spiritual fruit off the vine one shiny piece at a time his combat boots were laced and positioned to advance.

With a sheepish grin his actions shrieked, "Mom you don't need patience, just toss it"! Rambunctious shrills became deafening, and kindness was hanging on by a thread as he pulled and tugged suggesting my daughter's fruit would be better off not connected to the vine. Propelled into the dirt he could smash it and dance in the mush (insert toddler high-pitched wail).

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

She held her own as his tiny monster feet dug into her side like a marathon runner waiting on the signal to go.

At this point I was trying to offer support. My daughter is a single mom and when possible, I lighten her load. However, this particular evening I was probably on the verge of annoying as the Holy Spirit began to speak to me during the depths of defeat, and I grabbed my phone to write.

Amazingly beautiful and as triumphantly as the battle began, it ended in snuggles & giggles ringing out loud and clear. The daughter I once wrestled was now wrestling her own soldier. I quieted down and pondered thoughts of long ago and how I chose to handle similar defeats and victories.

Was I patient or pessimistic?

Did I giggle instead of growl?

How hearty was my spiritual fruit?

Was it firmly clinging to the vine or crashing to the ground in mush?

Were my words soothing or dripping with sabotage?

All in a matter of minutes I remembered how HARD it was to train a child, while keeping my fruit intact!

Training a child in the things of God takes an intentional, carefully determined battle plan.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

My grandson is not the "other side" in the battle. During moments he is positioned for "toddler war", wisdom whispers, we are on the same team.

Motherhood ushers in multiple opportunities to "choose sides". On Monday fruit shimmers from the oil of prayer but if we are not careful when Friday rolls around it shines with sarcasm and a side of sass.

Motherhood cries out "I can't take this" and throws blame and accusations or leans inward and sighs "God you got this" while His peace reigns!

It is a choice.

"No matter the battle, ordinary moments are opportunity to model Christ's character at home."

Let me grab your hand, hug your neck, and reassure you today, I understand, motherhood is HARD!

I've worn the muck boots of "Mommy" through many seasons of life overflowing with tears, tantrums, tattle tales, and two a.m. feedings. Buckets packed with sick days, money woes, broken hearts and judgmental comments.

I rocked in and out of flesh trying to survive "toddlerville" and beyond!

But you know what?

Through God's provision, I survived.

And just like my daughter won the "battle" you can too.

Be encouraged today. The one who offered the gift of family will sustain, provide, and prepare you and me to reflect His glory at home.

For we do not wage war like the world. Our armor is faithful and seasoned with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

"Those tiny tantrums do not hold a candle to the wisdom of God."

The next time your toddler puts on an unwavering suit of armor, running full speed ahead, step back, smile and ponder the precious provision found in the Holy Spirit and designed by a loving heavenly Father.

Training a child in the things of God takes an intentional carefully determined battle plan.

"In the midst of the battle set your eyes on the calm in the storm, settle in and abide."

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