So once upon a time, I decided I really, really wanted chickens. I spent countless hours perusing pinterest to find out everything I needed to know about chickens. Then I spent countless more hours convincing my husband that chickens were an amazing idea and we could weekend warrior a coop–no problem.
Finally, I had him convinced, and the weekend warriors became embattled, broken down, over-worked, embittered serfs, subject to the chicken empire we had established. And on a dark night, just when my husband had lost the will to live, the coop was finally finished!
How peaceful it was to watch them scratch and peck, lay beautiful eggs, and come back to the coop at night to sleep …my agrarian fantasies were all coming true! But one evening, I walked outside to shut the coop, and something wasn’t right. I ran to the coop to do a head count…three chickens missing.
And then I saw the feathers…and I realized that some #%*&@ just ate my chickens! I was sad…and then I was angry, really angry, like I was gonna hunt that thing done and bring it to justice…angry.
Now this comes to the point in the story where you say, “now what does this have to do with raising children?” to which I will reply, “I don’t really know”…I know, I’m disappointing like that.
Okay then, I’ll take a crack at it. What I learned from my chickens is that there are predators out there wanting to devour and destroy, and your job is to keep the predators away.
That coop is what protects your chicks and to lock that door at night is to keep bad things out, not to restrict the freedom of your chicks. When I put locks on my computers and turn off safari on iPods and iPads, it’s not because I don’t trust my kids; it’s because I know that there are people out there looking to harm them, corrupt them, and even rip away their faith. I owe it to them to protect them from these people.
Back to the chickens…one morning I went to let the chickens out; I pulled my phone out of my pocket and it was open to the podcasts app. I hadn’t dowloaded a podcast in over a year, so I thought that was odd…I call it a guardian angel moment.
Only a few days prior to this, my three year had gotten a hold of the iPad and managed to get into the podcasts app and downloaded a podcast with a sesame street character on it. I hate to say it, but I was too busy to stop and take a look at it. Something told me that the character voices seemed odd, but I ignored that little voice and went on with my day.
So now in the cool misty morning air, I decided to listen to it. I was shocked to discover that it was actually an explicit podcast with the most vile language and subject matter, and the people who created the series intentionally made it to harm the innocence of little kids! This was from the pit of hell, people!
I felt like I had been punched right in the gut because I had failed my children; I had failed to protect them from that vile group of individuals who made this disgusting podcast…one of those worst-mother-ever moments…you know the feeling, right?
There was no time to wallow in my misery. I ran off to begin the interrogation of my children to find out who had listened to this garbage! Thanks be to God, two of my older children had heard some rather colorful language coming from the iPad and turned it off before too much damage could be done. But neither of them had thought to tell me about it…um, tell me next time! Okay? Okay?!!
Sometimes we’re just too tired, or too busy, or too stupid to pay attention to the things that are threatening our children. We just are, and we are going to fail them. But, you know what? God has them, He has them in the palm of His Hand. When your strength fails, His is there to catch you and your kids.
So, this begs the question, with all the evil in the world, why let them out at all? Well, because they are meant to go out into that world and share the gospel. They are meant to maybe even start their own little brood, to work in the vineyard. They are meant to eventually leave.
You have known all along that they are yours, but they are also His, and He has a job for them to do, just like He does for you. So pray hard, protect your kids as best you can, and then you gotta put them in God’s hands.
So, you go, you keep trying your lousy best and let God take care of the rest!