When your child wakes up screaming in the middle of the night for some ungodly reason, more than likely- it is for some UN Godly reason! If there is anything I have learned in this season of motherhood, it’s that the problems are deeper than the surface. (I mean, teething is clearly from the devil, right?) In all seriousness, when we started approaching these random and seemingly unGodly wake up calls, there was truth waiting to be discovered.
As I write this, I am settling back down after one such call. P has yet to prove she is a good sleeper, and while we’ve tried everything from letting her cry out, to co-sleeping, to sleep training, to you name it – things didn’t begin to truly settle in this area until we looked at the issue from a spiritual perspective. Now, don’t get me wrong – I do not believe our children are little hell-ians. In fact, quite the opposite, I believe all children are more easily and readily connected in to the Holy Spirit than we have typically allowed ourselves to be. Thus, making them quite sensitive. It seems the more we began to realize this, the more clearly we were able to identify when something was off.
Let me explain, for years I have wrestled with that deep gut wrenching four letter word, FEAR. It wasn’t until after P was born that I had some major breakthrough with that stronghold, and that was only after walking through what I believed to be all of my biggest fears coming to life. In that sweet brokenness is where God revealed to me the depth these roots had planted themselves in my life, and pulled me from their grasp. Earlier this year, Fear showed up and well, he informed me he was coming after my daughter. This isn’t a story I’ve shared with too many people – mainly because of, you guessed it-fear. Fear of rejection, fear of lunacy, fear of judgement. You name it, they’ve all had a seat in my head. I awoke one night in a full on anxiety stricken fear attack. I could barely breath, I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t speak – but my mind was there, and a conversation was turning:
Me: What is going on?
Fear: You are crazy.
Me: Wait, what?
Fear: You are so messed up. This isn’t normal.
Me: God, help me.
Fear: No, no, no. This isn’t a God problem, this is you.
Me: Father, help me.
Fear: You can pray me away all you want, but I’ll go after her!
Boom, there was that nasty fear again and this time he wanted to take up residency in my daughter. Within seconds of this realization, P woke up screaming bloody murder. As my husband rushed to her side, all I could squeak out was “Pray for her” and he did. We’ve never looked at her wake up calls the same.
You see, demons, because that’s what we’re talking about here, and that’s what I’ve spent the majority of this year identifying and going to war against, they can sound a whole lot like us. Recently, a good friend taught me that the tense those voices use is important – take note of the above conversation. The accuser is often ripe to call us ‘You.’
We’ve had several more stories like this – mostly rooted in fear, mostly surrounding our daughter. Sometimes our immediate response is frustration – no one truly wants to wake up at 2:45 in the morning to a shrill scream, but we are getting better at discerning a belly ache from a spiritual attack. As I’ve said before rest is warfare. Naturally, the enemy is going to do all he can to speak into those moments his voice of deception. I don’t know what you’re story is, or where you are in your journey, but I can’t urge you enough to ask our Father for help to see the spiritual warfare that is rampant around us and to learn to keep your spirit on guard.
The wake up calls are fewer and further between these days, but oh so potent none the less. The only difference now, is that we come prepared for war:
- We pray. Before entering her room, before arguing with each other, before trying to “solve” the problem. We seek the Holy Spirit and ask for discernment, for His presence to come, and for our ears to be opened. (Matthew 10:8)
- Attempt to comfort. Most kids love being comforted by their parents when they are upset, but when these attacks have been at their worst – this is a feat in itself. If possible, we try to pick her up and hold her on our laps. This is also a huge indicator for us of what we’re dealing with.
- Name Yourself. We call out in the name of Jesus for the demon to identify itself. For us, fear is a frequent visitor, though I’m happy to say he doesn’t come around as much anymore. However, distraction, rejection, deceit, and lust have all come for visits. We do this because this is how Jesus dealt with demons. (Mark 5:1-13)
- We continue to pray, we ask for vacancy, and replenishment. Nothing crazy, no voodoo magic, just simply “(demon identified), in the name of Jesus, leave. Holy Spirit, fill her/us with _____” We usually ask for whatever the God like characteristic is that opposes said demon. For example, when dealing with fear, we ask for more faith and also peace. For lust, we ask for love.
- And pray…did I mention that sometimes this goes on for hours? We believe our job as parents is to raise up the next generation of kingdom seekers, so yeah – the enemy hates us. I’m sure he hates you too, but hold fast. (Colossians 4:2)
- We praise. When the demon has left the building, we praise. Sometimes in song, sometimes in more prayer, but usually we sing to our Father and thank him for the restoration, provision, and strength His word has given us to withstand such tangible attacks. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Also worth noting, we turn on worship music, even while this is going on. Worship music is like fighting in the spirit when we don’t mentally have the words.
Sure, this may not be typical parenting (see there’s that fear talking again) and no, it’s definitely not easy, but the fruit is good.
This morning’s wake up, has proven the sweetest. Once our baby girl had calmed down, we took her back into our room and laid her in bed with us. I turned on Bethel Worship and we just sang quietly. The sweetness you ask? She started singing “Undeniable” by TobyMac, then Jesus Loves Me, and then Bethel’s “No Longer Slaves” which had yet to start playing…also worth nothing, we’ve never listened to this particular Bethel album before so she had no idea it was about to start playing, and the lyrics..well you should read them here.
The enemy is going to do everything he can to keep us from training our children. My heart this year has been for my kids to see what spiritual warfare is like, for them to be trained in discernment and warfare. For us a family in ministry, it feels like its the most powerful tool we can give them.
For more on spiritual warfare, this book is a worthwhile read and was suggested to me by a friend when we were in the thick of these things happening. Also not to anyone’s surprise, don’t forget to talking about what is going on. Talking about the attacks and the truths that were revealed to us afterwards with other people – there was freedom there that I can’t even begin to explain. Don’t let darkness steal the victory that’s already been promised.