Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be a hamster on a hamster wheel? Constantly running and getting nowhere? I’ve personally thought about this analogy many times in my life especially when my husband reminds me that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again while expecting different results. Yep! I’ve done that so many times. I think for me, the area of my life that I’ve felt that over and over again is in parenting. Especially when we went from 2 to 3 kids! I think that I fell into so many different ruts. A lot of that was my desire to keep things consistent and that setting a pattern in everything was just easier for me to handle. At that time in our lives Aaron was working 50-60 hours a week and I was struggling with trying to be mom and dad. Praise Jesus that after the move to attend The Rock School of Ministry (formerly Impact 195) we both re-defined our roles as parents and began the journey of truly parenting together.
But often I still find myself in ruts. And the common rut that comes up is helping my children learn to reconcile. It has been such a beautiful journey we’ve been on to re-define so much in our lives over the past 7 years. Knowing how to truly reconcile has been one of the most freeing truths we will hold on to. As we’ve learned at the Rock School of Ministry (RSOM) about the pursuit to reconcile our relationship with God and others, we’ve been so excited to continue to equip our children how to walk in that now. What we’ve experienced at the school over and over again is that almost every single adult that comes in faces brokenness in their relationships and severe pain in their heart. Many of them have never had freedom from the bondage of bitterness, which has resulted in depression, anger, loneliness and physical health problems. So when I grabbed onto this truth I realized that a lot of our issues as adults stem way back into our youth. Into places we didn’t realize were still not healed. And the Lord really spoke to my heart about teaching the most precious disciples we have, our children, how to learn to reconcile their hearts and be free.
One day recently my boys were in the midst of what seemed like world war 3! For a few weeks, things were getting worse and worse, especially between Isaiah and Malachi. To the point where one day while serving at RSOM, Isaiah and Malachi got into a fight and Isaiah punched Malachi several times. This was a new level of anger we had never experienced in Isaiah before. To everyone around it seemed like Isaiah was the only one to blame…and truthfully I thought the same for a long time. But as we’ve learned, when we dig into the whole story we often find that Malachi provokes verbally and Isaiah retaliates physically. The anger of our sweet boy seemed so devastating.
So a few days after this fight I was sitting here…in my homeschooling desk…and Isaiah came up talking to me about some issue he had with Malachi. I knew in my heart that I needed to do something new. Something I’d not established as a habit with Isaiah. I needed to step off that hamster wheel. I was a bit nervous…but I’ve seen God do amazing things over and over before in regards to this topic.
So I asked Isaiah to come with me privately into a separate room. We sat down and I asked him if we could just pray. He said, “sure”. So we asked the Holy Spirit to begin to poor out peace over both of us. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would begin to reveal to Isaiah areas in his past where he was hurt. Places where he didn’t realize he had not forgiven someone. And it didn’t take long…Isaiah began to share “I remember when we were in Haiti. When I went to the Haitian school and everyone laughed at me and treated me bad for being white. And I see myself when I was really little and Malachi wouldn’t play with me and that hurt me.”
It was so simple. That’s all it needed to be. There clearly was an open door to bitterness and the Holy Spirit brought it up.
“Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.” – Hebrews 12:15 (TPT)
So I walked Isaiah through forgiving the children at the Haitian school and then as he was saying “I forgive Malachi…I forgive Malachi for hurting me…” He began weeping. I could feel how powerful that moment was. I could feel the freedom my son was receiving. And it overwhelmed me. We both were crying as I laid hands on him and prayed that each spot of his soul would heal and that he would be free from every root of bitterness. We prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill him and he instantly just relaxed and held on to me. So much joy filled that room. So much freedom.
About an hour later Isaiah came to me and just as Isaiah does, and said
“Wow…I didn’t know I had that hate in me.”
It’s not a formula. It’ Jesus! Learning the way Jesus lived. Learning the way He walked and healed and led people into freedom has completely changed our family. Isaiah has not struggled in weeks with outburst towards Malachi at all. He has even had moments when he rubs Malachi’s shoulders and says “I love you so much, Malachi. I just feel like we’re going to have so much fun together today.” This is an incredible testimony and at the same time, I understand freedom is more of a journey than a destination. This is discipleship and we are going to constantly need to guide our children and seek the Lord in what to do as they continue to grow into who they are called to be.
Malachi has reconciled a few moments with Isaiah, but we’re still praying for them to have one of the most wonderful bonds brothers can have. It’s so sweet to see how the Lord gave us relationships. I believe that the sweetest ones we often dismiss because they are so much harder are the ones within our family. One of the reasons they are so much harder is because there is such power when we walk through the fire with our siblings and our parents and become refined and united for the Kingdom of God together. So the enemy comes after that and sadly, we often agree that it’s too hard, and friends outside the family are better because…well…it’s not as hard.
Maybe I’ll write more about what God is teaching me in that area another day, but I’m so grateful for the freedom Jesus paid for. It was absolutely the love of Jesus that moved through the Holy Spirit in Isaiah’s obedience to forgive.
I hope this story has encouraged you to pursue greater freedom in your life and in the lives of those around you and to know that God can redeem even the most challenging relationships.