I've been looking at this battle of good and evil a lot lately with myself. But, this time I'm looking at it in reference to my boys. Whether the boys know it or not, they are in the middle of a battlefield. I can see their little minds being pulled in two different directions and there are times they don't know which way to go.
Most days of each month the boys are with me. I'm trying very hard to have a positive influence over them. I take them to church as much as possible. We pray more. We have a bible verse and manner of the week that we try to work on here and there. They are getting better with pleases and thank yous, and a new one they've been working on lately is "yes, and no Ma'am". I've never required them to say this until just the past month and it's slowly starting to sink in. Slowly.
When they are with their Dad they have nothing expected of them. They do not have to speak respectfully, they are not around good, God-fearing people. They are subjected to foul language, selfish attitudes, and adult behaviors that make me cringe just thinking about it.
The two worlds they go back and forth between are on two totally separate ends of the spectrum.
I'm to the point where I've had them in church so many times I feel there are certain things they should be doing. Mostly holding their song books, starting to sing some, not laying down, etc. And they do these thing pretty well sometimes, and then sometimes it's like they are rebelling. Like they don't want anything to do with church at all. They fight me tooth and nail about it.
Perseverance - That is my mantra lately. I know I just have to keep at it, and do the best I can without pushing too hard.
The things that make it all worth it are the glimmers of hope that I see every once in a while. Like when I hear one of them humming or singing a church song. Or like the other night, both of my boys were having a 'scary' night where they were over-tired and everything was frightening them. My oldest asked me if I would pray with him for safety from the things that were scaring him. I kept my cool, but inside I was jumping for joy. What an encouragement to keep pressing on with everything I've been doing.
I look at the other kids in the church that are their ages and I watch the way they act. I try very hard not to compare my boys to them, or to get upset when mine won't act as well as they do. I just really have to keep things in perspective and compare them to how they were acting last year at this time.
My boys are exposed to things the other kids in the church don't have to deal with. I don't want to use this as an excuse to let them get away with acting ugly, but rather as a reminder for me to be patient with them, and to persevere in my guiding of them.
Lord, please continue to help me in this difficult process.