Father Knows Best
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2015 Feb 07
“Mom,” my daughter began, “I can’t wait until I’m 18 so I don’t have to deal with this situation any more.”
My heart broke for her, until my younger son called me to his room.
“Mom,” he began, “this situation makes me so mad! I try really hard not to explode. Instead, I end up taking my anger out on Blake and Cassie. I don’t mean to, but I just can’t handle it any more.”
I gave him some hugs and words of encouragement, only to hear my oldest calling me to his room.
“I pray about this situation more than anything else,” he began. “And, nothing ever changes. I’m beginning to think it just isn’t worth it.”
My heart sank as I heard the pain in his voice.
As a mother, few things are more painful than seeing my children hurt. But, it seems to be the reality of our lives these days. As a mom, all I want to do is swoop in and rescue my kids.
But I can’t this time. I am helpless. My hands are tied. All I can do is try to offer words of wisdom, words of comfort.
Last spring, I found myself so upset about the situation my kids are facing. I was in constant turmoil. I did everything I could to rescue them.
I committed to praying a circle around my kids. I literally walked around our home, praying as I walked. Day after day, I would come home from work and begin walking and praying. I asked God to place a hedge of protection around my kids. I asked him to intervene in our situation. I asked him for peace for my kids and for me. I begged him to change our circumstances.
Nothing has changed.
Actually, something has changed. First and foremost, God has given me a tremendous sense of peace. I wish my kids had the same peace I do, but I have an unwavering faith that God is up to something—something I just can’t see yet.
Second, God revealed to me that he is trying to teach my boys to fight. I have come to realize that raising boys is something that I am completely unequipped to do. I am a peace maker. I would rather let someone walk all over me than to stand up for myself. However, God created boys with the heart of a warrior! There are times they need to fight!
When I first found out that my husband had an affair, I remember telling him that I needed to see him fight for me. He looked at me with a confused expression and said, “What do you mean?”
My heart had been ripped to shreds. Every ounce of confidence I once possessed was gone. The one person who was supposed to love me unconditionally was responsible for my pain. If our marriage was going to survive, I needed to know that he would fight to win my heart again; I needed to know that he thought I was worth fighting for.
He never fought for me.
I want my boys to be equipped to fight for those things that are truly important to them. I want them to know how to mount an all-out war to win the heart of a woman. I want them to know how to step up and be a man who values his family so much that nothing will stand in their way, that nothing will ever be able to separate them from the ones they love.
Our boys were created with passion. They were created to be hunters, conquerors. They were created with a need to fight! They were created with the heart of a warrior!
But I don’t have the heart of a warrior. And, I can’t teach my boys to fight because I don’t know how to fight.
Isn’t God good? You see, every day I ask him to do the parenting through me. Every single day I have to remind myself that I’m not a single parent; my kids have the perfect Father. His wisdom far exceeds mine. He sees circumstances from a different perspective—a heavenly and eternal perspective. While I want to jump in and rescue my kids, he wants to equip them for their future.
And I believe he is trying to teach my boys to fight for what is important to them!
I have talked with my boys for nearly a year now about learning to fight. I asked them to read Craig Groeschel’s book Fight. I have encouraged them to pray about how to handle this particular situation. I’ve even had my brother step in and give them some tips on how to physically fight.
I believe with all my heart that God has left this situation for my boys to handle. He wants them to step up to the plate, to grow into men before my eyes. He wants them to quit being passive and to speak their minds. He wants them to balance their anger with honor, to be confident enough to boldly share their hearts. He wants them to fight for what is important to them.
What is the risk? For my kids, there are many risks. They will be risking tremendous emotional pain. They are risking mental anguish. They are even potentially risking physical injury.
What is the potential pay-off? Peace. Confidence. Freedom. Pride. Man-hood. Victory. The end of this turmoil.
I wish I had easy answers. I wish we could tie a neat little bow around this situation and it would be over. I wish I could rescue my kids.
But, as always, I can see where God’s way is best. I can see that doing things his way gives eternal rewards rather than temporary relief.
I don’t know how we will reach resolution. I don’t know when we will reach resolution. I just continue to pray that God will build up such a fierce passion in my boys that they will rise to the occasion. I pray that my boys will step up with honor and passion, that they will be strong and courageous in the face of opposition. And, I pray that God will go before them and prepare the way.
When I was finally able to compose myself, I pulled my oldest aside. I told him that I’d been thinking about his comment, about how God didn’t seem to be answering.
“Sometimes,” I began, “God is waiting for us to take a step of faith before he steps into a situation. I think God is waiting for you.”
It wasn’t really the answer he wanted to hear, but I think he heard it. Now, I pray for faith to walk forward in obedience.